What is a “custom field”?

Custom fields are used to pull unusual data from a form and display it somewhere on the CRM. Usually these are employed if you need to gather unique data that's not already covered by one of the more general fields. For example, on a Clearing Enquiry form you may want a field that tells you if the student has already received their exam results.

What Custom fields are there?

You can have the following types of custom fields:

  • Custom_Varchar
  • Custom_Int
  • Custom_Date
  • Custom_Text

What’s the difference?

Custom_Varchar

This is a string field, ie a field that can take every kind of alphanumeric and special character. The only thing it can’t take is emoji characters. Currently, you can have up to 255 characters of data in EVM, and up to 500 characters in MEC, PRQ and RAP. This is the most often used field as it’s the most versatile.

Custom_Int

This is a number field. It can take any numeric value, where there is no leading 0, from -2 Billion to +2 Billion. This is most often used when you need to have checkboxes, but it could also be used for other numeric data, such as “How many GCSEs do you have above C grade?”.

Custom_Date

This is a date field. All dates are stored in the database as yyyy-mm-dd, but are shown on the CRM as dd/mm/yyyy. This could be used for asking availability, or when exam results are expected.

Custom_Text

This is a string field and can take up to 65535 characters of data. It still can't take emoji characters, but it can take all others.

Where are they available?

You can use these fields in Event Manager, Mobile Event Capture, Rapid Response and Prospectus Request. However, the apps have different availabilities of the types of custom fields. The table below outlines this: 

Please note: Even Manager forms are not yet available in Web Form Builder. However, these Custom Fields are still available to be switched on by CS support. Please get in touch if you would like more detail.

How do I figure out when to use them?

The first step is to figure out what that data the you're trying to collect. If the data can be collected by a standard field, such as "Persona" for "What's motivating your study?", then you should use that first. 

A general rule of thumb is:
If the data you want to collect will have letters, numbers and/ or special characters - Use Custom_Varchar.
If the data is to be collected using checkboxes or radio buttons - Use Custom_Int.
If the data will just be number-based (and not a date or time) - Use Custom_Int.
If the data will be in a date or time format - Use Custom_Date.
If the data will be letters or special characters - Use Custom_Text.

If you aren't sure, please ask the CS team for guidance!

Some examples of use:

Custom_Varchar

Field Title: travel_options
Label: How are you planning to travel to the open day?
Field type: Drop-down
Values: Car; Bus; Train; Bike; Other-please comment below
Note: If your checkbox values contain commas, you must use a "-". For example, "Other, please comment below" becomes "Other-please comment below".

Custom_Int

Field Title: results_received
Label: Have you received your GCSE results yet?
Field type: Radio Buttons
Values: Yes; No; Yes-but not opened the letter;
Note: If your checkbox values contain commas, you must use a "-"

Custom_Date

Custom_Text

Field Title: Parent_or_Higher_education_professional
Label: Are you a Parent Or Higher Education Professional?
Field type: Text

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