Tags vs Custom Fields

When you should use tags and/or custom fields on your core records

Ian Remington avatar
Written by Ian Remington
Updated over a week ago

It's an age old question, to tag or to custom field? Well, maybe not quite age old but it's certainly one we hear from our customer base. There are several advantages that we'd like to highlight in this article to help customers make sense of some of the functionality that differs between the two and how that may add value your team.

Tags and custom fields are often very similar. Both are typically used to indicate unique data points on your companies, contacts, and opportunities. Each are also searchable meaning I can query my database via a tag or custom field (or both!). Also, you'll have 10 total tag categories and (5-20 dependent upon your subscription type) Custom Fields that you may use.

When to use a Custom Field

1. I like searching on the absence of data.

  • Great, what does that really mean? If you have a custom field, let's say it's called "Languages" and you want to see how many contacts do not have ANY language logged. Ie. Show me contact records who have a blank Languages field so that I may update those records. This can be accomplished via a custom field but is not an option as a tag.

2. I like seeing data isolated

  • Custom Fields allow you to view data that is unique to that field. Tags on the other hand will group collectively (only in a list view) in one collective category. If your preference is often to be in a list AND to potentially sort that column, a custom field will be preferred.

3. I have a Date or Numeric field.

  • If you have something that you'd ever like to search through via a range (let's say show me contacts who make between $80 and $100k or contacts who started a new position after January of 2020) a custom field will be your best option. Tags serve as a great options for picklists (What is a picklist?) while custom fields will have several 'type' choices that you may select from.

When to use Tags

1. I'm very visual.

  • Tags are without a doubt: bold, visual, and very easily noticeable at the top of a record. They're easy to see and can be color coded to ensure you have a prominent experience for yourself and your team.

2. I want to add 'on the go'

  • Tags are excellent for quickly making a selection AND quickly adding a new item. If you're apt to consistently add to a category, tags will be the item of choice. As an administrator, you may add a brand new tag at any time simply by using the plus sign next to the given tag category.

What's Next?

Now that you're through why you should use each, learn more about the set up process!

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