Data fields and form design

Data fields store the values of the key metrics that your organization wants to track in projects and on the dashboard.

Data fields and categories

Engage comes with many predefined data fields and categories. However, you can create your own. Each data field belongs to either a Single-Value Category or a Data Table.

Single-Value Category

A single-value category is a group of single-value data fields. Each single-value data field can store only one user-entered value at a time, for example, a project leader or a due date. Some single-value data fields can have multiple options. For example, the Status data field contains the options Not Started, In Progress, and Completed, but this data field can store only one value at a time, so a user can select only one of the available options. The following image shows examples of single-value data fields on a form.

Data Table

A data table is a group of data fields that can have rows of values. For example, a project usually has several tasks and each task has information about what it is, who it is assigned to, and when it is due. This information is best represented in a data table, where data fields are the columns and user-entered values are the rows. The following image shows an example of a data-entry table on a form.

Connected and unconnected data fields

Usually, users enter data about their projects through form controls, such as text boxes, drop-down lists, or data pickers. Some data is connected and some is unconnected. When data is connected it becomes part of the project. When data is unconnected, it is only part of the form.

For example, Project Name is a connected data field. If a user enters a project name in one form, the project name is updated in all forms that contain the Project Name data field. Additionally, if a user deletes a form that contains Project Name, the project's name is still available in other forms because its value is stored in the project, not in the form. By contrast, Prepared Date is an unconnected data field. In this case, the date a form is prepared is only relevant to the form, not the entire project. Therefore, if a user deletes a form that contains an unconnected data field, such as Prepared Date, the user-entered value is deleted, too.

Connected data

If you connect a form control to a data field, the value a user enters in the connected data field is shared across forms within the project and updated automatically when the value changes.

For more information about how to connect data fields, go to the following topics.

You must connect data to summarize it in the dashboard.

Unconnected data

If you do not connect a form control to a data field, the values a user enters in the form control is only stored on the form—it is not available on other forms or in the dashboard.

Local and global data fields

When you connect a data field to a form control, consider whether you want to share the data across projects and with the dashboard.

To ensure accurate dashboard reports, global data fields are recommended.

Local data fields

Local data fields are specific to the project that they are created in. If you have permission to edit a project, then you can create and edit local data fields, but you cannot share local data fields in other projects or in dashboard reports.

Global data fields

Global data fields are used to collect the key metrics your company wants to summarize in dashboard reports. Global data can be shared across projects. Engage comes with a predefined set of global data fields. Only data architects can create or edit global data fields. If you are data architect, go to Create global data fields.