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FAQs for custom fields, user fields, and categories

This FAQ contains questions and answers about when to store data in custom fields, user fields, and categories.

When should I use custom fields?

A custom field is a user-defined field that stores information not otherwise provided in a contact's profile. Custom field data becomes available for filtering, searching, and reporting as soon as it is added to the system.

Use custom fields to store data in fields that only accept specific types of values such as text, numbers, currency, convertible currency, date, and relationship custom fields. Custom fields can be used for storing contact-level information such as a contact's interests, or to track relationships. For example, if you want to record the accountant's name for your contacts, you can create a custom field called Accountant.

Examples of other custom fields are:

  • Beneficiary
  • Guarantor
  • Lawyer
  • Spouse
  • Hobbies

For more information on best practices for using custom fields, see Custom fields .

When should I create user fields?

User fields provide you with a means to store unstructured data for an entity.

For example, it might be helpful to capture expense code information for your entities. You can create an "Expense Code" user field containing both alphabetical and numerical characters for this purpose.

Other examples of user fields are:

  • Favorite coffee shop - for situations when you might want to send a gift certificate.
  • Favorite sports team - for opportunities to provide event tickets or team clothing.

For more information on best practices for user fields, see Managing user fields.

When should I use categories?

A category is a label for entities. Use categories to search and group entities. Categories are helpful for storing simple classifying information about a contact that you will filter and report on. For example, to group entities interested in investing in green energy, you can create a Green Energy category.

Other examples of categories are:

  • High Net Worth
  • Avid Golfer
  • Humanitarian Causes

For more information on best practices for using categories, see Categories.

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