Field types reference

Updated 5 months ago

Creating new fields in your Beacon database? Below is a list of all of the different types of fields, and the limits associated with them.

link Short text

A short text string. Good for arbitrary short pieces of text, like job titles or the name of an event.

Maximum 255 characters. If you need any longer than this, please use the long text field type.

link Long text

A longer piece of text. Great for notes and descriptions.

It's not possible to create filters based on long text fields, but you can search across them using the search feature.

There's no limit on the size of the text in this field.

link URL

A web address link. Must be a full and valid URL.

link Email address

An email address. It's possible to allow multiple email addresses. If you choose to allow this, you'll be able to set a primary email.

link Phone number

A phone number. Like the email field, it's possible to allow phone numbers. If you choose to allow this, you'll be able to set a primary number.

link File upload

One or more uploaded files, of any type. It's possible to allow just one file to be uploaded to this field, or multiple.

The maximum file upload size is 50MB.

link Text (encrypted)

All data in Beacon is already encrypted and firewalled, but sometimes you'll want to add an extra layer of security for some text data (e.g. patient notes).

Note that it's not possible to search or filter based on content stored in encrypted fields.

If you're looking to categorise and filter your records, drop-down lists can be very useful.

You can optionally allow multiple items from the drop-down to be selected, which is useful when a record fits into multiple categories.

link Number

A numeric value, either positive or negative.

You can specify the maximum number of allowed decimal places, if you need more precision.

You can also turn number fields into auto-number fields to create unique number values for every record.

link Currency

A currency value, e.g. "£10". If you're storing monetary values, you should use this field type as opposed to the more basic number type.

It's possible to save currency values in any currency. Contact us if you need this feature.

link Percent

A percentage value, e.g. 5%. Like number fields, it's possible to set a maximum number of decimal places for percent fields. In Beacon, the percentage is stored as a whole number: "45 = 45%

link Checkbox

A checkbox. In other systems, this may be referred to as a "boolean" field, which can be a little confusing. Just to clarify - the below values are interchangable:

  • Checked = yes, true, 1
  • Unchecked = no, false, 0

link Date

A specific date, and optionally a time value.

link Location

A place in the world, usually used for addresses. For location fields, the following sub-fields can be entered:

  • Address line one
  • Address line two
  • City
  • Region
  • Country
  • Postal code

Additionally, location fields are automatically "geocoded", so you'll be able to see a map view of the address.

It's possible to have 1 or more locations added in a single location field. You can also set a primary location.

Unlike spreadsheets, databases are smart enough to link records between each other. This is very useful for keeping your data clean and up-to-date, and to give you a bigger picture about how things relate to one another.

A perfect example is a Donation made by a Person. When stored in Beacon, this means:

  • 1 person record
  • 1 donation record, which links to a person record - the person who made the donation

It's possible to assign one or more links to records in a given field, it you allow it (e.g. a donation could be made by multiple people).

Sometimes you want to assign an internal team member to a record. For example - you way want to set an "Account Manager" specifically for higher value donors (people) in your database.

Similarly to other fields, it's possible to set multiple users in one field, if you allow it.


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