What You'll Learn
- What you can do in the Field Management tab
- How to create custom fields
- When to create "new" fields within forms and applications
This article assumes you have an understanding of Data Sources. Catch up on what Data Sources are all about here.
To see and manage all of your fields, visit Field Management in the Data module.
As you can see from the screenshot, there are three different tabs within Field Management. We will go over what each tab includes.
- Fields - Fields are standard items that automatically exist in Element451, such as First Name, Citizenship Status, and Gender. Schools cannot edit these fields, and it is best practice to link them to System Data Sources when possible.
- Groupings - Field Groupings are similar to the fields mentioned above in that they automatically exist in Element451 and cannot be edited. However, each Field Grouping is comprised of multiple fields, each of which can be made visible or invisible when creating an application or form. Home Address, for example, is a Field Grouping that includes many fields such as Address, City, and Country.
- Custom Fields - Custom Fields are where you can create fields for any information not existing in Element451 that your institution collects. Check Fields and Field Groupings thoroughly before making a Custom Field, to be sure that what you would like to create does not already exist. Examples of Custom Fields include whether a student is a professional surfer or if they participated in a particular (surfing) summer program.
How to Create Custom Fields
First, check to be sure that the information you want does not already exist in Fields or Field Groupings. If it does not, proceed with creating a Custom Field by going to the tab in Field Management.
Click on the blue "plus" icon to add a Custom Field. A window will pop up showing you what field types are available. Field Types are described later on on this page.
Once you have selected a type, you will be taken to a window where you can label the field.
Best practice for creating Custom Fields is as follows:
- Choose a short, concise label for your field. This is the header that will show up in your data exports. Also, having a label that is too long can cause your forms and applications to malfunction later on. You can update the label to be a question and include help text when you are building your forms and applications.
- Create a Slug ID that is unique to your school. Slugs are unique identifiers throughout all of Element451, so we strongly recommend adding a school-specific three- or four-letter acronym after "custom" on the Slugs of all your custom fields. For ABC University, that Slug might be user-custom-abc-surfing.
Once you have your label and Slug, you can make decisions about validations and Data Sources. You can make adjustments to validations later on when setting up the form or application (read more here), but it can be useful to go ahead and link to Data Sources. Only certain field types link to Data Sources: Checkbox, Dropdown, and Radio. You will need to toggle to "Yes" for "Use Data Sources" in the Data Sources tab to add these to your Custom Field. Once you add the Data Source, you have two more decisions to make:
- Name Field - This is the field from the data source that will be shown on the form. You can go to the data source (Data > Data Sources) to see what these options correspond to as they will be different depending on the data source.
- Value Field - This is the value that will be saved in the system when the form is submitted.
Once you're done setting the field up, click Save. Field Types, which determine whether you will need to link your field to Data Sources or not, are defined below.
These are the types of fields you can choose from when creating a new field. They're also the type of fields pre-made and grouped fields consist of.
- Checkbox - A list of items displayed all at once. Use this if you want people to be able to select multiple items.
- Date - A date widget that allows people to select a date from a calendar.
- Dropdown - A list of items that appears when the field is clicked/pressed on. Only one item can be selected.
- Radio Button - A list of items displayed all at once. People can choose only one item.
- Text - A field where people can enter a short amount of text.
- Text Area - A larger area for people to enter text. Useful when you expect the information to span more than a sentence.
- Markdown - Rather than a field for gathering information, this is a field for displaying text within a form. You can format the text with markdown tags.
- Upload - Use this when you want people to upload a file.
Creating a Field within a Form or Application
It is also possible to create a field while building an application or event form. You can see the New tab on the far right:
The first choice you must make is what type of field to add. The most common "New" field on an application is the Text Markdown option. This field type can be used to add help text in your application, for example.
We recommend thinking carefully before creating these "New" fields within the application. The information collected using these fields cannot be reported on - these fields will not be available when you are creating segments, exports, or imports. However, it will appear when you generate application downloads for your applicants. If you want to use the data for any of these reporting features, however, you must create a Custom Field first and use that in your applications and forms.
Once you are all set on your fields, building applications and forms is easy!