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Author: Joel Kristenson
Last Updated: 2016-05-13
This article walks through the steps to change the names of the user field labels for your database, search by them, report (format) on them, and utilize them as merge fields in the letter/email templates you create.
Tip: Customers use custom user fields for all kinds of different things, some examples would include:
- Graduation Year
- Ask Amount
- Last Contact Date
- Next Contact Date
- School Attended
- Church Affiliation
#1 Rename Custom User Fields
#2 Query (Search) by Custom User Fields
#3 Add User Fields into the Grid as Columns & Make them Updateable in the Grid View
#4 Utilize User Fields as Merge Fields in your Letter & E-Mail Templates
#5 Related Resources
#1 – Rename Custom User Fields
Navigate to the Contacts (Donors/Voters) list, and the General > User, Text tab.
The different places you can rename user fields are from the search panel (as shown below), within a contact’s record card, or by using the customize labels list. In my example I chose to do it from the search panel.
Right-click on the user field label and select ‘Rename Label…’
Give the new label a name, and click [OK]. In my example I called my User Field 1 label ‘Graduation Year’.
The changes will affect all db users. My finished example is below.
Repeat these steps until the user fields you need to modify (text, date, and decimal) are changed accordingly. As of the time this article was written there were 12 user text fields (6 of which offer drop-down menus), 3 user date, and 3 user decimal fields available. My finished example is below where I renamed 10 out of 12 user text fields.
If you open a contact’s record card you can begin to record the new custom data in your user fields under the General > User tabs.
As new values are added to your user fields, you’ll periodically want to update the unique search value (drop-downs) within your system by following Application Menu > System Manager > Settings > Update Unique Search Value (Drop Downs)…
#2 – Query (Search) by Custom User Fields
You can now run your search queries by the user fields as you begin to populate data into those fields. My example is below where I queried for everyone in my database who graduated high school in 1970 which produced 180 results.
Tip: You can utilize sql wildcard search queries to find records where they ‘have a user field present’ or are ‘missing a user field’. For instance, to find everyone in my database that has a high school graduation date I entered /n for ‘not blank’ in that field which provided 9,246 records:
#3 – Format User Fields into the Grid & Make them Updateable in the Grid View
You can add in the user field data as columns into your grid via formatting for reporting purposes. The columns will be renamed to whatever you’ve named them as in your database, for example in my database I renamed User001 to High School Graduation Date.
You’ll begin this process by navigating to the list you want to build the report in (in my example it was the Contacts list), click on the Format drop-down button, and select Columns.
Select the user fields you want to add into your format by selecting them from the list of columns (they’ll be renamed to whatever you named them to in section No1) and click [OK]. In my example I selected a single user field which was the High School Graduation Year.
The column(s) will populate on the far right of the grid.
Repeat these steps until the user fields that you want to add are added, and the columns you don’t need in your report have been removed. My finished example is below which includes all of the user fields I’ve renamed in my database in a single report.
You can save these formats for future use and also assign it as a default if you want.
Another useful thing you can do is make these fields ‘Updatable in the Grid View’ by going into the Format tab of the Column Selection screen and checking the corresponding boxes. Shown in the screenshots below.
Img 1 of 3 – Open Up the Formatting Screen
Img 2 of 3 – Navigate to the Format Tab and Check the Boxes for Updateable
Img 3 of 3 – Click the [Edit] Button and Modify the Data in the Grid View
#4 – Utilize User Fields as Merge Fields in your Letter & E-Mail Templates
User fields are available as merge fields in both the email system and the mail-merge system. In the email composer the *TEXT* user fields are the only ones available, in a physical letter *ALL* merge fields will be available.
To utilize them in an email, create either a template or a mass email campaign, and the user fields will display in the merge field drop-down list. My example campaign is below.
Here’s what the user text merge fields will look like as they’re added into your email message:
When you create physical letter templates for your snail-mail efforts you’ll be able to utilize *ALL* of the user fields (text, decimal, and date fields), the image below provides an example of where you’ll insert them from:
Here’s my example print preview using all of the user field merge-fields in the system (prior to the print preview):
And here’s what my example looks like after the print preview is generated:
Take a look at the related resources below for links to a variety of similar articles and videos.
Article: Mass Update – Changing or Clearing Fields
Article: Log Notes vs User Fields vs Attributes
Article: Add Attributes, Attribute Dates, and Attribute Notes to the Grid by Formatting them in as Columns
Article: (Mail-Merge) – How to Write a Letter, and Save it as a Template
Article: Articles on Importing
Article: Mail Merge – Write a Letter
Article: Creating and Saving Default Formats for Reporting with the Grid
Video: Eblasts Create and Send Eblasts – Includes Image Management
Video: Donation Auto Responders with Merge Fields
Video: Write Letter – Edit Letter after Mail Merge
Video: Videos on Importing
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