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When to use dropdowns vs. when to use tags?

  • 14 June 2021
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Hey, I’m a little confused about when I should add a custom dropdown/pick list and when we should be using tags. I’m looking to track things like a contact’s relationship with us, what events we’ve met them at, what mailing lists they’re on, etc.

Do you have any best practices for when to create a dropdown vs when to create a tag?

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Best answer by Evan from Copper 14 June 2021, 22:24

Thanks for the question, @MaryanneL

Tags make it easy to label, filter, and search records. For instance, you can tag all event attendees with “Sales Conference 2021.” The plus side is that they are quick and flexible to create on the fly. But that is also the downside since your team can end up with inconsistent tag names, or multiple tags that mean the same thing.

On the flip side, custom fields give you more control but are not as flexible.

So, when you’re weighing between the two, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this a piece of information that applies to all/most of my records?
  2. Is any of this information required when we create a new record?
  3. Will this data be pulled into a report?
  4. Will the input options be relatively consistent over time?
  5. Will my team need specific prompts to enter this information?

If the answer was yes to any of these, consider using a custom field.

If that piece of information is a one-time or temporary label, consider using tags.

If you do decide to use tags, we recommend you create clear guidelines for your team around naming conventions and when to use tags. This will help reduce the number of very-close-but-not-exactly-the-same tags.

And finally, if might be helpful to look at the tags you’re already using. You can do this by going to Settings > Customize > Manage Tags.

Let me know if that helps!

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Userlevel 3
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Thanks for the question, @MaryanneL

Tags make it easy to label, filter, and search records. For instance, you can tag all event attendees with “Sales Conference 2021.” The plus side is that they are quick and flexible to create on the fly. But that is also the downside since your team can end up with inconsistent tag names, or multiple tags that mean the same thing.

On the flip side, custom fields give you more control but are not as flexible.

So, when you’re weighing between the two, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this a piece of information that applies to all/most of my records?
  2. Is any of this information required when we create a new record?
  3. Will this data be pulled into a report?
  4. Will the input options be relatively consistent over time?
  5. Will my team need specific prompts to enter this information?

If the answer was yes to any of these, consider using a custom field.

If that piece of information is a one-time or temporary label, consider using tags.

If you do decide to use tags, we recommend you create clear guidelines for your team around naming conventions and when to use tags. This will help reduce the number of very-close-but-not-exactly-the-same tags.

And finally, if might be helpful to look at the tags you’re already using. You can do this by going to Settings > Customize > Manage Tags.

Let me know if that helps!