Types of Custom Fields
When creating custom fields for any record type, it is important to select the type of field that makes the most sense for the particular data field you are creating. This will impact how data is entered and stored in your CRM. The options for field types are as follows:
- Text Area
- Multi-select Picklist
Remember that you will create custom fields by going to settings > custom field settings. You will then see all of these types available when creating a new custom field, as shown below.
Let's walk through each of these different field types and when to use each.
Text and Text Area
These fields are your simple text input fields. They allow the user to type in any characters, including letters, numbers, and special characters.
The Text (AKA String) option will allow for a single line of text, whereas the text area option will allow the user to type in a paragraph format, including line breaks.
In the example below, the first four fields are text fields, and the last one is a text area field.
These fields are perfect for collecting data to open-ended questions. Don't use text fields for yes/no questions or other questions with a set list of answers. Remember that you cannot set conditional logic from text fields, since they are open-ended and not constrained to certain data sets.
In the image above, the green toggle underneath the question "Do you love Lawmatics?" is an example of a true/false field. Use these fields for your "yes or no" questions.
You have several options for how to display your true/false fields. You'll see these options when creating or editing a true/false field:
First, you can choose to display as a toggle, which is shown in the image above. It is important to note that the toggle option will default to false, in other words: the toggle shown above will default to "off" (will appear as a gray color). The user then has the option to click the toggle to turn it to "on" (green color).
The Checkbox option will display the field as a small empty box that can be checked. This is useful for fields that are "required" to check yes, set the field as required and then it will only count as answered if the box is checked.
Last but not least, you also have the Picklist option, which will display the field as Yes and No options.
Whichever option you choose for displaying a true/false field, they are very useful for setting conditional logic in a form or document. They can also be handy for triggering automations when a certain field is set to "true".
Number and Money
Both of these fields do not allow any letters to be typed in, only numbers will be allowed.
In the example below, you will see a number field on the left and a money/currency field on the right.
The number field does not limit the number of digits that can be entered. The money field will automatically format the number entered to include a dollar sign and decimal for any cents included.
It is beneficial to use these field types when applicable as opposed to text fields, because they allow you to use additional reporting functionality such as summing or averaging either the number or dollar amount. You will see this demonstrated in the sample report shown below.
Date, Time, and Date/Time
These fields are somewhat self-explanatory. The Date field will allow you to select a date from the calendar, and will automatically format the field as mm/dd/yyyy. The Time field allow you to select a time in the format of hh:mm AM/PM. Lastly, the Date/time field allows you to select both a date and time in one field.
In the example below you will see each of these field types demonstrated. Note, the example below contains redundant information for the purpose of demonstrating each field type. When using these field types, you would generally select either date and time as two separate fields or one date/time field.
Date fields can be extremely useful for reporting and automation purposes. Our reporting allows you to filter your report using any custom date or date/time field in the CRM.
You can also use date fields to create an automated appointment on your calendar for the date populated. This can be very useful for webinars or other mass events.
Picklist and Multi-select Picklist
Both of these fields are essentially a dropdown list, containing a list of options that you have entered. When creating a picklist or multi-select picklist field, you will be prompted to enter the various options for the list.
Note that you can use the Add Another button, shown above, to add as many list options as are needed.
When using a Picklist field, only one option from the list can be selected. For Multi-select Picklist fields, the user can select as many options as apply.
These fields are extremely useful for normalizing data, setting yourself up for more insightful reporting down the road. You are encouraged to use picklist fields whenever possible, since they help avoid a situation where you have data being spelled wrong, typed differently by each user, etc.
When used in a form, these fields will appear as shown below.
Lastly, Lookup fields are used to pull a dropdown list of data from your CRM. When creating a lookup field, you will be prompted to select the Lookup type. This determines what data will be pulled into the field.
When contact is selected, the field will be a dropdown list of all contacts in your CRM, when matter is selected it will show all matters. You can easily search by the person's name, email, or the case title for matter lookups.
When user is selected, the field will pull a dropdown list of all of your firm's Lawmatics users.
A few things to keep in mind when using lookup fields. First, they cannot be used on external custom forms, they can only be used on internal forms. This is to protect confidential client information that you would not want to make visible to someone outside of your firm who may be filling out the form.
Also note that lookup fields can be used as a selection in the Send To and Send From options when sharing an email, etc. via automation. This is very useful for CC'ing a related contact, or even having an email come from a certain user at your firm.
In the image above, Salesperson, Assigned Staff, and Lead Attorney are all User Lookup fields, and then the Co-Defendant is a contact lookup.
Can I change the type of a field after it has been created?
No, you cannot change the type of a field. You would need to delete the existing field (keep in mind that any data populated into the field will also be deleted), and then recreate a new field of the appropriate type.
How do I add/remove/rearrange options on my picklist fields?
When you go to the Custom Field Settings page, you will be able to click the edit pencil on the right for any of your existing fields. When editing a picklist of multi-select field, you will have the option to add or remove options. You cannot, however, rearrange your options. If options need to be rearranged, feel free to reach out to our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can be of assistance.
Can I change the date or currency fields to show an international format?
Not at this time.