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    Paul Pellegrino
    Best Practices for Changing the Data Type in a Custom Field
    Topic posted February 12, 2018 by Paul PellegrinoRookie 
    68 Views, 3 Comments
    Best Practices for Changing the Data Type in a Custom Field

    Hello, we would like to change the Data Type in two custom fields: "Student_ID" and "Referred By Contact ID". The option is grayed out in the editor. Is it possible to change these from Integer to Text Field? If not, I imagine we will have to delete the custom fields and recreate. In that case, what would be the best way to accomplish that without data loss?

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    • Anuj Behl

      Hi Paul,

      No, you cannot change a data type for a custom field.

      There are 2 options that you can try:

      1. Create new fields first, then delete the old custom fields

      • Create the new custom fields with new data types. You will have to use different column names.
      • Write a script to run through your dataset that will move the value from old custom field to new custom field.
      • Update all configurations and customizations where you used old fields to now refer new custom fields.
      • Once done, delete the old custom fields.

      2. Delete the old fields first, then create new custom fields with updated data type.

      • Export the old custom fields data along with object ID for your complete dataset.
      • Delete the old custom fields.
      • Create new custom fields with new data types but with the same field and column names.
      • Import the data using Data Import wizard mapping the old values to the new custom fields.
      • Update your customizations to use custom fields with new data type.


      I would use the second solution so that I can keep using the same column names.


    • Ammar Aldaffaie


      You cannot change the data type of a custom field.

      Before I suggest a solution, can you please run a report to show how many rows have a value that needs to be moved to the new field?


    • Paul Pellegrino

      Thank you both! I believe we will move forward with Option #2. I'll bump this thread if anything changes.