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Can our program customize the defaults of the drop down pick lists?

Yes! A Neoserra database administrator can customize several aspects of the built-in pick lists from the Configuration screen. Specifically, you can:

Note: This FAQ discusses configurations for built-in pick list fields. If you're looking for the ability to create entirely new custom pick list fields, see the FAQ titled Can I add my own user-defined fields into the database?.

Adding User-Defined Choices to Built-In Pick Lists

Many of Neoserra' built-in pick lists allow you to complement their existing choices with your own custom choices. However, there are some pick lists that cannnot be modified. Whether or not you can add your own configurable choices to a pick list depend upon the purpose of the pick list. If the pick list represents a list of standardized choices, such as states or countries, then you cannot add user-defined choices to it. Also, if the pick list represents data critical to EDMIS or the DLA 1806, then, to ensure reporting integrity, you are typically not able to customize it.

To quickly identify whether or not you're able to add user-defined choices to a particular built-in pick list, go to the "Pick Lists" menu under Administration|Configuration. In the "Type" column, look to see whether the value is "User" or "System," as shown in the next graphic. If it is "User," you are free to add choices to the pick list's drop-down list.

Once you've determined that you can add user-defined choices to the pick list you had in mind, follow the next set of steps to do so:

  1. Enter administrator-mode and select Administration|Configuration.
  2. Click "Pick Lists."
  3. In the "Name" column, click the name of the pick list field for which you would like to add new choices to.
  4. On the following screen, you'll notice two tables. The top table displays all the built-in choices for the pick list. The bottom table displays any user-defined choices that were previously established. To create a new user-defined choice, click the "New" hyperlink located in the far right column of the bottom table's header, as shown in the next graphic.
  5. From the pop-up window that appears, enter a code for the new pick list choice into the Code field, an abbreviated description of the choice in the Abbreviated Description field (this abbreviation will display in columnar reports when there is not enough room for the full description), and, finally, the full description of the pick list choice in the Description field.
  6. Click the Save button.
  7. You'll now see your new user-defined choice listed in the bottom table.
  8. Note: As discussed in a later section of this FAQ, you can make your new user-defined choice the default choice by clicking the "Default" hyperlink located in the far right column of the table.

Editing User-Defined Choices

You can edit user-defined pick list choices from the same interface in which they were originally created. Simply click the "Edit" hyperlink located in the far right column of the table, as shown in the next graphic. You can edit the abbreviation or the full description of the pick list choice, but not the previously-defined code.

Note: You can only edit user-defined pick list choices, never built-in choices. Built-in choices are system-defined and permanently locked down.

Inactivating Pick List Choices

You can inactivate pick list choices for any built-in pick list field, regardless of whether it is a system or user field. In other words, even if you can't add user-defined choices to the pick list, you can still inactivate the built-in choices for that pick list. When you inactivate a pick list choice, rest assured that all records that reference that choice will be preserved with that choice still in place. What changes is your ability to select an inactivated choice when creating new records.

To inactivate a pick list choice, follow the next set of steps:

  1. Enter administrator-mode and select Administration|Configuration.
  2. Click "Pick Lists."
  3. In the "Name" column, click the name of the pick list field for which you would like to add new choices to.
  4. Find the choice in the table of choices and click the "Inactivate" hyperlink located in the far right column, as shown in the next graphic.
  5. Don't see the "Inactivate" hyperlink? Then it's likely that you're either trying to inactivate (1) the default pick list choice, in which case you must first set another pick list choice as the default or (2) the one required built-in picklist choice of "(Undefined)" or something similar that must always remain in place.

  6. The choice you just inactivated will now have a strike-out line running through it.

Note: To reactivate the choice at a later date, simply return here and click the "Activate" hyperlink. In fact, you will need to reactivate a choice if you ever need to filter, report or run a scorecard on the inactivated pick list choice.

Setting a Default Pick List Choice

If there is one particular pick list option that your program uses the majority of the time, whether it is a built-in or a previously-added user-defined pick list choice, you can set it as the default choice for that pick list. Default choices auto-fill upon creation of a new record. For example, if your program worked exclusively with Native Americans, you could set the "Native American or Alaskan Native" choice as the default for the Race field found in contact records. Then, each time a new contact record was created, the Race field would automatically populate with the value of "Native American or Alaskan Native." Default values can be overridden before the record is saved, but if it's the appropriate value the majority of the time, then the ability to set pick list defaults becomes a time-saving feature during data entry. To set a pick list choice as the default, follow the next set of steps:

  1. Enter administrator-mode and select Administration|Configuration.
  2. Click "Pick Lists."
  3. In the "Name" column, click the name of the pick list field for which you would like to set a default.
  4. Find the choice in the table of choices and click the "Default" hyperlink located in the far right column.
  5. Don't see the "Default" hyperlink? Then the choice was either (1) already set as the default (default choices are bolded) or (2) previously made inactive and must first be reactivated before it can be made the default.

  6. The choice you just set as the default will now display as bolded.

Making the Entire Pick List Field Invisible

To remove a pick list field from a record altogether, visit the "Field Requirements" menu item under Administration|Configuration. As long as the field isn't required by Neoserra for proper functioning, you are able to make it invisible.

Making the Pick List Field Mandatory

To make a pick list field mandatory, visit the "Field Requirements" menu item under Administration|Configuration. From here, you can ensure that important fields are not overlooked during data entry. A good strategy for making a pick list field mandatory is to also set "Undefined" or "None" as its default choice. That way, users are forced to consider the field when saving a new record.



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