Custom Fields

This week we are looking at how to create custom fields and put them to work in your project. Custom fields in TIMU are a powerful tool with a wide range of use cases. We have something for you here, whether you're just getting started with TIMU and looking for a quick tutorial, or if you are a seasoned TIMU veteran looking for some more advanced techniques. Read on for Custom Fields!

The Basics

By default, a freshly created task only has a little bit of information attached to it: the task's name, its status, and who the task is assigned to. This is a great start, but often you will want to include more information, like maybe a priority level or due date. With custom fields, you can create containers on your tasks to hold any kind of information you need.

By default, tasks only have a small amount of information attached to them, but in TIMU we can change that very easily.

To start using custom fields, you will need to have owner permissions on your project.

To create a custom field, first access the task module's settings page.

In the "Fields" area of the module settings page, click "Add Field" to create a custom field. From the dropdown menu, select the type of data you want to add to your tasks:

  • Boolean: A simple toggle to keep track of binary data like Yes/No, True/False, or Active/Inactive.
  • Identifier: Create your own numbering for your tasks instead of utilizing TIMU’s default numbering. You can combine letters with numbers, such as “1a” or “QA01.”
  • Integer: A whole number.
  • Date: Add a field for a date selection that uses a calendar dropdown.
  • Dropdown: A dropdown menu containing a list of values. You can use an existing list from your project or network, or create a new list.
  • Money: Keep track of currency amounts.
  • Number: A number with or without a decimal point.
  • Reference: Reference another project or other information in TIMU.
  • File: Attach a file.
  • Text: Free-form text.
  • Tags: One or more text entries to tag your tasks by theme or subject area.
  • Milestone: Associate your tasks with milestones.
  • User: Reference another TIMU user.

Here, we are going to use a dropdown field to allow selection of values from a list.

After you select the type of data your custom field will hold, you need to give the field a name. The name will be displayed as a column heading in grid views, and a line item on cards in board views.

Once your custom field is created, you will need to add it to a view. In the "Edit View" menu, click the "Add Columns" button and check the box for the custom field you just created. Click "Add Columns" to add the custom field to the view, click and drag the fields into the order you like, and click "Save and Apply" to save the changes.

After you add your custom field to the columns list, you can drag and drop the chosen columns to change the order they will display in your view.

Example Use Cases

Now that you know how to create a custom field, let's look at some reasons you might want to use one.

Attaching Deliverables and References

If your team needs a particular file as a reference for a task, or you want to be able to link your tasks with deliverables in TIMU, adding a 'file' type custom field is the way to go. You could combine this with a 'boolean' custom field to flag actionable items for your teammates.
!['file' and 'boolean' custom fields]

Sorting by Clients and Accounts

You can use tags, text, or dropdown-type fields to keep track of information like which account or event a task or file is for. After you add this information, you can create a filter in your view to quickly find all the items with that information specified.

Coloring by Priority

TIMU can automatically apply colors to numeric fields based on their value. This can be really useful for highlighting items with high or low stackranks, priority levels, or dollar amounts. To set up automatic coloration, go to the module settings page and open the custom field's settings. Choose your minimum and maximum values and assign a color to each, and TIMU will automatically color the field according to the entered value.

Built-in Fields

Although you can do a lot of really neat tricks with custom fields, sometimes they just aren't the right tool for the job. For example, if you want to create a 'Task ID' field so each task can have its own ID number, you'd be better off adding TIMU's built-in 'sequence' field to your view- sequence numbers are automatically generated and a custom field would need to be filled manually. Likewise, if you wanted to add a custom field to your task dashboard to keep track of where each task came from, you should use TIMU's built-in 'parent' field. TIMU includes a number of these 'greatest hits' fields as options to add to your views, so before you create a new field, double-check and make sure we haven't already made it for you!

Closing Thoughts

Now that you've seen how to create custom fields along with a few good examples, it's time for you to head off into TIMU and start using them yourself. In case you need a quick refresher:

  • Custom fields let you add more information to a task or file module
  • Anyone can interact with custom fields, but you need to have owner permissions to set them up in your module.
  • Once you've set up your field, you can interact with it in filters and view settings
  • Sometimes, the field you want to create already exists as a built-in in TIMU.

Custom Fields in TIMU give you great flexibility in organizing your data to best fit your workflow. We can't cover every use case, because the possibilities are literally endless- if we skipped over your favorite configuration, or you have a question about what is possible with custom fields, post a comment below!