Fields - Adding New Fields to a Site

Administrators can add new fields to LegalServer if there is information an agency needs to collect that is not covered by an existing system field.

Custom Fields

Add and manage custom fields on the Admin > Custom Field Management.

To add a new custom field, click on the Create a New Custom Field link in the Actions tab or menu.

Module: The default module is Case. This will create a custom field you can use on prescreens, intakes, and cases. Select Outreach, Timekeeping, etc. depending on where the field will be used.

Class Name: Class Name will be automatically set based on the module.

Type: There are several types of fields. The most commonly used are:

  • bool: boolean, a yes/no field

  • duration: a text field (use 'text' or 'textarea' below)

  • lookup: a lookup field that will based on a system lookup (from Admin > Lookups)

  • lookup_custom: a lookup field that will based on a custom lookup list an administrator has already created (see below). If you get to this point and realize you need to create a custom lookup list first, just click on the Admin tab in the navigation bar to 'cancel' creating the new field. Create the custom lookup list and start this process over.

  • money: displays a $ in front of the data entry box

  • number and percent: Also displays a "Precision" setting, which is the numbers allowed after a decimal point that the data will round to (leave blank or choose zero for whole numbers). NB: If you enter a Precision, the decimal point and the number of precision digits count towards the max length.

  • text: a small text box (the Short Name field on the add form is a text field)

  • textarea: a larger text box (the Help field on the add form is a textarea field)

  • time: displays an hour box, a minute box, and an AM/PM selector on a form. Data is stored as a "time" value hh:mm:ss in 24hr clock format.

  • timestamp: displays a date box, the text "at", and an hour box, minute box, and an AM/PM selector on a form. Data is stored as plain text, meaning report filters will treat it as a text value, not a date and time value.

If you select lookup a list of the available system lookup lists will appear. Select the one that the new field should be linked to.

If you select lookup_custom, a list of the available custom lookup lists will appear (see below for creating a new custom lookup list). In addition, a "Multiple Selections Allowed" checkbox will appear; the default, unchecked, will create a single-select lookup field, meaning only one value can be selected per record, and is usually the desired option. If you create a multi-select lookup field, values chosen will appear in reports as a comma separated list inside one 'cell' of the data table. You will not be able to get counts of each individual value without filtering on each one in turn.

You cannot change the value of Multiple Selections Allowed after creating a field using lookup_custom. If you create a field as single-select, then later decide you want a multi-select, you must create a new field. But you can use the same lookup list; no need to create a new one.

However, if you select Multiple Selections Allowed = Y, when you add this custom lookup field to a form, you can 'force single selection' to turn that field into a single-select on the form itself.

A common need is a Yes / No field that has a third option like "N/A", "Not Applicable", "Refused", "Unknown", etc.

Sometimes called troolean fields, there is no specific field type for this. Create these as lookup fields with a corresponding custom lookup list. Note: if you have several fields like this, they can all use the same custom lookup list; you do not need to create a separate list for each field.

NB: A field's module, class, and type cannot be changed after the field is created. The Short Name, Description, and Help Text can be edited.

Short Name: This is the label that appear on forms and profiles.

Description: This text only appears in the list of custom fields, not on forms and profiles. It is a good practice to include something like the purpose of the field, when it was added, etc.

Help Text: If text is entered, a question mark ("?") icon will appear next to the field label on forms and profiles, and the text in this box will appear in a mouseover.

Categories: This is usually blank. If you want to add Categories, check the Actions menu on the main page that lists all fields.

Custom Lookup Lists

Adding a custom lookup field and custom list (lookup_custom) requires two steps. First, adding the custom lookup list, and second, adding the custom lookup field as explained above.

Custom lookups are maintained on the Admin > Custom Lookup Management page. There are fields beneath the list of existing lookups for adding a new lookup. Enter the name of the lookup and a description that will appear in the list.

Clicking the continue button will save the new lookup to the list. The custom lookup will now be available as an option in the dropdown list that appears when lookup_custom is selected as a custom field type.

To add values to the lookup, click on the edit link for the lookup. Type the new value into the field at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the continue button will save the new value to the list.

Unlike system lookups, there is no Merge feature or Batch Edit feature for custom lookups.

Reporting on Custom Fields

Custom fields are on a subtable called Custom in reports. For example, a custom field for the case module would appear in the Advanced Add Columns window the "Case Data > Custom" subtable.

Adding to Forms and Profiles

Custom fields are added to forms and profiles like any other field.

See the Process Management - Editing Forms and Links page for more information.

Including in Etransfers

Custom fields can be included in the information sent in an etransfer. See the Custom Fields section under Information Transferred on the Etransfer admin page.

New Note Type Instead of a Field on Cases

Not strictly adding fields, adding new note types is mentioned here as a related topic.

A typical LegalServer setup includes several note types like "Intake Notes" and "Financial Notes" that appear on intake and auxiliary forms. In addition to displaying free form text boxes on a data entry form, information entered also appears in case notes.

Administrators can create additional note types (Admin > Lookups > Note Types) and display them using the Notes Generic block. If the information should not appear in case notes, a text or text_area field is likely more appropriate.