Need a field for open ended text? You have choices.

When our clients are building new Templates in policyIQ – for pages of content or for electronic forms – there is almost always a  need for some sort of open text field.  Even on the most data-driven content, it’s difficult to anticipate every possible piece of information that might be relevant with number fields, dates, or finite lists of selections.  Sometimes it’s a simple “Notes” or “Comments” field, so that respondents can put context around their answers or explain something that might seem incongruous.

For many years, policyIQ has offered an option between “Short Text” and “Rich Text (HTML)” fields for those more open-ended responses.  “Rich Text (HTML)” fields can capture an unlimited amount of information, with formatting options similar to any popular word processing program for styles and outlines.  “Short Text” was initially designed for short answers (less than 50 characters), displaying only a single open line on pages and forms.

While those two choices could fill the needs, there was gap and a desire for something “in between”.  This was particularly clear on surveys or certifications in electronic forms, where our clients may want to have multiple open text fields to allow for comments on responses – but where a single line of text wasn’t enough, the large rich text editors were bulky and inefficient.

We’ve provided that middle ground!

In version 7.3, we’ve given you that “in between” that you’ve been wishing for.  There is now a third option for open text fields called simply “Multi-Line Text”.  This field provides four lines of visible text, with vertical scroll bars appearing if text is longer than the visible space.  No formatting options are provided, as this is intended to be used for simple responses like comments, notes or explanations – but where font styles and outlines will not need to be applied.

text options

Take advantage of this new field type

If you are creating new Templates, it’s easy to select this choice for new processes.  If you already have a page or form template in use and you’d like to take advantage of this field option, it will require a little bit of adjustment.

For Form Templates, you will need to copy your existing Form Template and make adjustments on the new template.  That new template can then be used moving forward.  If you have complex form bundles or processes already utilizing these form templates, reach out to our support team and we’ll help you to determine all of the steps necessary to create the new template and utilize it in new lists.

For Page Templates, you can add the new field to your pages for use moving forward.  If you have an existing Rich Text field that you’d like to replace with this type of field, we might suggest holding off for just a few more months until the release of version 7.4, when we’ll provide the ability to export your content and reimport to update the content.  This upcoming feature will make it easy to take advantage of a new field type by simply renaming and importing existing text into the new field.  (If you don’t want to wait, however, let us know and we may be able to assist with custom support services!)