Linked fields are special data types that automatically pull the values in the fields from one table, called the source table, into another table, called the target table. Linked fields help avoid duplication and ensure that records dynamically reflect any changes that occurred in other places within the infrastructure. Let's consider an example.
Imagine you have a Companies table that holds records for each company you are engaged with; a People table that holds the employees at your company, and other outside contacts; and a Contract table holding information about your contracts.
Within a Contract record, you typically pull in and display fields from the company record for the contract’s company, the names and email addresses of the main company contacts, and information about your own employees who are responsible for the contract. For example, the Party Main Contact section shows the information for a company contact pulled from the People table.
Within the company record, you might also show a Related Table of all contracts for that company, which links to the Contract table, as well as a Related Table of all company contacts, which links to the People table.
Although a linked field establishes a relationship with another table, it isn't just a window that shows the exact same information. You can rename the field to be more appropriate for the target table, such as changing the Full Name field from the Person table to display as Party Main Contact in the example above. You can also set whether the linked field updates automatically when the source data changes, or whether the initial value should remain static.
There are several types of linked fields, each appropriate to a different situation:
- Link to Single Field from Other Table. Often used to link to multiple records in another table and display them as multiple choices.
- Link to Selected Fields from Other Table. The most common linked field data type, offering lots of flexibility.
- Related Tables. A reflection of an existing linked field, which simply displays existing links between the current record and another table.
- Link to Single Field from Multiple Tables. Allows users to choose values from multiple tables.
- Calculation on Multiple Linked Records. Performs calculations on Links to Selected Fields with multiple values enabled (MVE) or on Related Tables.
- Additional Linked Field Types. Describes less commonly used data types, such as Embedded Search Result.
Beyond data types, these articles under Working with Linked Fields offer tips for using linked fields: