Use custom fields

Custom fields help tailor Manager to specific needs of your business, accounting workflow, and local laws and customs. They can be added to forms, accounts, definitions, and displays to record and present information not essential to operation of the program.

Custom fields can be added for most functional tabs enabled in the left navigation pane:

  • Bank and cash accounts
  • Receipts and payments
  • Inter account transfers
  • Expense claims
  • Customers and suppliers
  • Sales and purchase quotes
  • Sales and purchase orders
  • Sales and purchase invoices
  • Delivery notes and goods receipts
  • Credit and debit notes
  • Inventory items
  • Inventory transfers
  • Inventory write-offs
  • Production orders
  • Employees
  • Payslips
  • Billable time entries
  • Fixed and intangible assets
  • Capital accounts
  • Journal entries
  • Folders

They can also be added for several categories in the Settings tab:

  • Business details
  • Inventory kits
  • Non-inventory items
  • Payslip earnings, deduction, and contribution items
  • Tax codes
  • Withholding taxes (for tax withheld at source, not payroll withholding, which is set up as a payslip deduction item)

Custom fields for individual line items can also be created for some transaction forms. Those are explained in another Guide.

Early versions of Manager included many non-essential fields on transaction entry forms. This practice took up unnecessary screen space and added needless complexity to the program. Upon update to later versions, any non-essential fields with content are converted automatically to custom fields with the same labels. So no data is lost. Now, entry screens can contain only information you desire or the program requires. And you have the option to purge unnecessary data from old records.

Custom fields are unique to the tab, form, account, or item for which you create them. Fields created for one form are not automatically available on other forms. This separation helps you customize forms without unnecessarily cluttering others. On the other hand, fields created for accounts and items may be available on multiple forms or displays where those accounts or items are used. Regardless of where they are created, though, custom fields are not available in situations where they would be pointless.

Just as custom fields do not automatically appear on other forms, contents entered in a field for one transaction do not automatically appear in a field for a related transaction, even if the fields have the same label. However, if a transaction containing custom fields is copied to another type transaction for which custom fields with identical labels have been created, contents of the custom fields will be transferred.

If default content for the destination form has been set under Form Defaults in the Settings tab, content from the source form will override default content.

Example 1
You create a custom field, Delivery route, for sales invoices to help plan daily delivery schedules. You also create a custom field labelled Delivery route for delivery notes.

You next create a sales invoice and enter Route #1 into the custom field. The content of this field will not carry forward to a delivery note created in the ordinary way in the Delivery Notes tab. But if you use the Copy to button to create a delivery note from the sales invoice, Route #1 will transfer.

Example 2
You add a custom field, Point of contact, for your customers, and set it to show on printed documents. This field will be visible for every form where customers are included, such as sales quotes, sales orders, sales invoices, delivery notes, etc. The field is unique to the customer, not any single form. Note, however, that because the field is not associated with any form, it does not appear on the input screen for a sales-related transaction, only on the completed form when it is viewed.

Example 3
You define a custom field for inventory items, Country of origin. This field can appear in the Inventory Items tab listing, and shows when editing individual inventory items. But it does not appear when inventory items are entered as line items on forms. (If you want country of origin to appear on sales invoices, for example, you must include that information in the Description field or a line-item custom field.)

Creating custom fields

To create a custom field, go to the Settings tab and click Custom Fields:

The screen will show a New Custom Field button for each form, account, or item you have enabled.

Click the relevant New Custom Field button and complete the definition:

  • Name is your assigned label for the custom field. This label will appear where appropriate on forms or displays to designate the field. So it should be something you are willing for customers and suppliers to see.
  • Position controls the order in which custom fields appear. Enter a number, if desired. Otherwise, custom fields will appear in alphabetical order.
  • Type lets you choose Single-line text, Paragraph text, Dropdown list, Image, Date, or Number as the nature of the field. Dropdown list in the Type field brings up a new field, Options for drop-down list, where you can enter fixed choices for the list:

  • Size allows a choice of Small, Medium or Large for either text type. Your selection will alter the size of the field on the entry screen so you know how much text will fit.
  • Description provides a place to explain a custom field’s purpose to users. Information entered here does not appear anywhere on a transaction form.
  • Check Show custom field as a column if you want the field to be included in listings of the relevant tab.
  • Check Show custom field on printed documents to display the field on forms.
  • If the Show custom field on printed documents box is checked, another checkbox appears to indicate whether to Show custom field at the top of printed documents. If the box is not checked, custom fields appear at the bottom.

Click Create to save the custom field. Later, the field can be edited. Be sure to click Update after editing.

Example 4
Roger, the accounting manager at Northwind Traders, wants to closely monitor depreciation and disposition of fixed assets to be certain the company follows prescribed accounting standards. He creates four custom fields for the Fixed Assets tab. All are single-line text and designated to show as columns:

When Roger views the Fixed Assets tab, he sees a more complete picture of the company’s fixed assets:

Example 5
Anastasia sells her glass artwork both to wholesale corporate distributors and directly to residential customers. To remind herself of discount rates and payment terms, and to simplify marketing campaigns, she establishes a custom field, Customer type, in the Customers tab. She sets it to show as a column:

Before mailing a new brochure targeting residential customers, she uses the Search function to filter her customer list:

Example 6
ModTek Design Associates wants its customers to know which partner has reviewed and approved billings. It creates a custom field for the Sales Invoices tab, labelling it Approved by. The field will show at the bottom of the sales invoice:

Entry screens always show custom fields, labelled as such. For example:

But fields show on completed forms and as display columns only when they contain an entry and the field has been defined to show on the relevant form or display.

Field type applies only to the form on which the entry is first made. When forms containing custom fields are copied to other forms with identical labels, the type of field does not matter. So for example, an entry in a single-line text field will be copied to a custom field of the dropdown list type, regardless of the options normally available in the dropdown list.

Lastly, default text that you want to appear in a custom field on all new forms should be entered under Form Defaults for that transaction form.

Making custom fields inactive

Manager will not allow custom fields to be deleted if they have already been used. If a field outlives its usefulness, check the box to make it inactive (the box does not appear when custom fields are first being created):

Inactive custom fields appear in gray at the end of lists. They can be reactivated by clicking Edit and unchecking the box. Always click Update after editing.

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