Custom fields

This article explains what custom fields are, and how to enable, configure and use them.

Updated over a week ago

Custom fields is one of our premium features. It can be enabled and configured separately for each board.

These freely definable fields can be used to collect additional information in the idea input form and this information then gets stored in each individual idea. For example, I could ask a question "What problem does this idea solve?" and the idea creator can then freely type in an answer to that question which then gets saved in the idea on a separate tab. There are many different types of fields, such as one where you can multi-select from a list of options predefined by the admin.

Common examples of use cases for custom fields are:

  • Root cause or problem the idea addresses

  • Subcategories

  • Business units or departments affected by the idea

  • Severity and/or strategic priority

  • Budget, business case estimates

  • Deadlines

  • Checklists

Custom fields can also be used to filter ideas on the board. For example, if the question was "What unit does this idea come from?" and the idea creator must choose a certain unit from the given options. Anyone could then use the advanced search on the board to look for ideas from a certain unit.

Note: To be able to complete the following steps, you’ll need to have board admin permissions for the desired Viima board, and your organization must have an appropriate plan. Please contact your Viima super user for access if you are unable to follow the steps below.

How to get there

If you are already on your board, you can navigate to the correct settings page directly the following URL:

If you did this, proceed directly to Step 3. Otherwise, start from Step 1

Step 1

In your Viima organization's home view, find the board where you'd like to use custom fields and click on the "Settings" icon as illustrated below.

Step 2

Open Settings, and choose the "General" sub-section. Then select "Custom fields".

Step 3

From here, you can configure custom fields for your board. Click "Enable custom fields" to activate this feature.

Creating a custom field

Now, let's create a new custom field! We'll instruct you by creating one for our demo board in this guide.

Step 1: Adding a new custom field

Click the blue "Add new" button to create a new custom field.

P.s. You can see the existing custom fields below. The example board below has 1 field called "Test".

Step 2: Name

Choose the title for your custom field. This should be clear, and concise, but can also be formed as a question.

For our example, we'll choose "Unit of origin".

Step 3: Is the field mandatory?

You can choose to make the field mandatory when adding a new idea. This way, the idea creator must fill in a value before the idea can be added to the board.

P.s. Do note that having multiple mandatory fields may raise the bar for users to add new ideas, so keep that in mind. Mandatory fields tend to work best when they're dropdown or multi-select type, thus users have a list of answers to choose from.

For our example, we'll make this field mandatory as it will be a multi-select menu field.

Step 4: Field type

There are different field types to choose from. Here's how to use them and how they differ from one another:

Free text: An open text field where the idea creator can write a freely worded answer. This is especially useful when you want to ask a simple question from the idea creator, such as "What value does this idea bring?".

Integer and Decimal: A field where the idea creator can only fill in a number. With this field, you can also specify a unit to which the numbers are related. This is especially helpful for numeric approximations, such as "How long would it take to develop this idea?" where the unit could be "month(s)". If you choose integer, users will not be able to add decimal figures. For a decimal field, that is naturally possible.

Yes or No: A field that has those two options to choose from. This field is good when asking simple yes or no questions from the idea creator, such as "Is this idea urgent right now?"

Date: As the name would suggest, this allows you to choose a date. Useful for e.g. tracking deadlines.

Dropdown menu: With this field, you can predefine any amount of different options from which the idea creator can choose a single answer from. It is especially useful when you want the idea creator to choose only a single answer from a certain list, such as "What quarter should idea development begin?" with options "Q1", "Q2", "Q3" and "Q4".

Multiselect menu: This field is very similar to the dropdown menu but here the idea creator can choose multiple options from the list. It is useful when you want the idea creator to choose from a certain list of options but there can be multiple answers at the same time, such as "Which units would most benefit from this idea" with all different units as the options.

Checkbox: Useful for cases where you want to get a simple answer from the user, or mark something as having been completed.

For our example, we'll choose the "Multiselect menu" as technically the same idea can originate from multiple units.

Step 5: Field options

All fields allow you to choose a default option that each idea will default to, unless a user inputs a different value. In addition, certain other types allow you to configure additional details, such as unit for number fields.

For the dropdown menu and multiselect menu field types, you can also need to define your list of options for the field.

For our example, with the multiselect menu field, we defined the options "Sales", "Marketing", "R&D" and "Customer success". This means that on the board when a user adds an idea, they can choose any number of options from this list as their answer to this field.

Step 6: Description

Type in a description for the field. Users of your board will be able to see this to understand how to use the field.

Step 7: User rights - Who can view?

You may also define user rights for each custom field individually. First, we have the "Who can view?" option which determines who can see this custom field on the board. A good default, especially if you want the idea creator to fill in the value, is to use "Everyone" here. However, if you wanted to have a field where only admins are privy to the answers, it is possible to do. In this case, once opening an idea on the board, the custom field and its value would not be visible to anyone but admins of the board.

For our example, we'll make this field visible to everyone as it is not in this case sensitive information.

Step 8: User rights - Who can fill in a value?

The second option is "Who can fill in a value?" which determines who can fill in a value in the first place. Here, it is also a good default to have it as "Idea creator" if the aim is to have the person adding the idea share their thoughts. However, you could make it so that only admins can fill in the value, in which case the field would not even appear in the idea input form. This way, admins could fill in values later on by editing the idea.

For our example, we'll make it so that the idea creator can choose the value.

Step 9: Active in categories

Here, you can choose the categories in which this custom field will appear. This means, that once the person adding an idea chooses a category for the idea, this custom field will either appear or not depending on the active categories defined here. By default, it will be active in all categories if no individual categories are chosen.

Category-specific fields can be very useful if your categories contain very different types of ideas.

For our example, we'll also keep this option as is.

Step 10: Status in which the custom field becomes active

You can also choose to make the custom field only available after a certain status. This is if you do not wish for the custom field value to be filled when the idea is added but rather after it reaches a certain point in the ideation pipeline. For example, this is quite handy if you want to ask more in-depth questions that may be irrelevant or inaccurate if answered in the beginning phases of the process.

Note that if you choose any other status than the default status of the board (typically the first status in your process), the custom field will not appear in the idea input form, not even if the User rights have "Idea creator" as the "Who can fill in a value?".

For our example, we'll have it in the "New ideas" status as that is the first and default status in our pipeline.

Step 11: Rearranging & editing custom fields

Click the green "Save" button in the bottom right corner of the pop-up window and the custom field will be added to the list.

The custom fields will appear in the same order on the idea input form as they are on this list. You can change the order of the custom fields on this list by dragging from the arrows on the left end of the field.

You can also edit (and delete) the existing fields by clicking the edit icon on the right end of the field.

Note that if you delete a custom field, all the data associated with that field (the values connected to that custom field within the ideas) will be deleted permanently.

Step 12: Finishing touches

Finally, you can define the title for the custom fields. This title is not related to any specific custom field but rather is the text which separates these custom fields from the default fields in the idea input form. If left blank, it will simply state "More info" in the idea input form.

Custom fields on the board

Next, let's take a quick look at what the custom fields look like in an idea and the idea input form and also how to filter and sort ideas based on the values in the custom fields.

Idea input form

When clicking the "Add new" button on the board, the custom fields of that specific board can be seen at the bottom of the idea input form in the order you've defined in the admin portal. There may be instances when some custom fields may not be visible here, for example, if you're a contributor and the custom field is only for admins or if the custom field becomes active in a later status (steps 8 & 10 above). Also, it may be that a custom field only becomes visible once the correct category is chosen (see step 9 above).

If some custom fields have been made mandatory (Step 3 above), the idea cannot be added until these fields have been filled in.

Configuring custom fields pic 17.jpg

Custom field information in an idea

Once custom fields are added to the board, a new tab will appear in the right section of ideas called "More info" (PS. you can also rename the section, see Step 12 above). You can find all the custom field-related information for each individual idea here.

Filtering ideas through custom fields (Advanced search)

The information in the custom fields can be used to filter ideas on the board. This is a handy way to use the custom fields as sub-categories especially when there are a lot of ideas on the board. Intuitively, dropdown and multiselect fields work best when subcategorizing since with a free text field you would need to know exactly what to search for. However, also free text fields can be used to filter ideas.

Simply click the "Advanced search" under the search bar in the top left corner, choose (or with a free text field, write in) the values you wish to search by, and click "Search".

After this, you will see the ideas on the board filtered by these criteria in the custom fields. If you wish to remove the filter, simply click the "Clear search" above the search bar.

Sorting ideas on the board through custom fields

You can also sort ideas on the Y-axis (up to down) on the board using the information in the custom fields. Only dropdown or multiselect type custom fields can be used here as they have a pre-set list of options to sort by.

For example, in the image below, we chose the custom field "Strategic priority" which has predefined options from 1 to 5. Now the ideas are sorted on the board based on which value each idea has based on this custom field. The N/A on the bottom is for ideas that have no value in this custom field.

Comparing custom field information in the list view

Another way to sort or compare ideas using the custom field information is by going to the list view from the bottom left corner of the board.

Configuring custom fields pic 22.jpg

After scrolling to the right, you can easily see here the individual custom field values of the ideas and use this information to sort or compare the ideas.

In the image below, we have clicked "Strategic priority" thus arranging the ideas here by the values of this custom field.

Exporting custom field data

If you wish to download the information from the custom fields to your device, there is a simple way to do this from the "Admin portal" of the board. It requires admin access to do this.

Simply go to the "Ideas" section in the admin portal of your board, and go to "Advanced search" to select the criteria by which ideas will be included in the report.

Click "Export ideas".

In the exported Excel file, you can find the custom field values for each individual idea in the first tab.

Configuring custom fields pic 25.jpg
Did this answer your question?