This data type establishes a single link between two tables, but pulls multiple fields from the source table through that link. This is the most commonly used linked field type because it offers a lot of versatility, and it's easy to extend in the future by adding more fields. Even if you're only linking to a single field, you might use a Link to Selected Fields in case you need to use additional fields from the same source table in the future.

For example, when you select an asset for a service request, the rest of the asset information populates automatically because it's all part of the same Link to Selected Fields.

Each field you select as a link is displayed separately in the form, according to your arrangement on the Layout tab. When you enable multiple values for a Link to Selected Fields, all the data is shown as an embedded table instead. You can select an independent table view and action bar for the embedded table, which means you can show information that isn't included in the fields you selected. In this case, the fields you select are chosen for their use in automation, reporting, the main table view, and in performing searches on the embedded table; otherwise, when it comes to what users actually need to see, you can show any source table information by creating a view in the source table to use in your embedded table.

When you do create an embedded table, it is also important to create an action bar for use in the embedded table. Usually, you don't want to offer as many actions in an embedded table as you do in the source table's main table view, such as Print or Email actions that aren't as useful in the target table's context.

Because enabling multiple values on a linked set forces you to display an embedded table, it's sometimes preferable to use a Link to Single Field from Other Table when you need to enable multiple values. This gives you more display options to choose from. If you need information from multiple fields, but you want to use one of the other display options, consider creating a compound field just for this purpose. For example, Full Name is a compound of the user's First Name and Last Name.

If you want to be able to search on the imported fields and run reports that use them, make sure to select the "Yes, fast search" option in the wizard when you create the field.

Creating a Link to Selected Fields

To create a new Link to Selected Fields:

  1. Click Setup [Table Name], or go to Setup > Tables, select the table, and click Edit.
  2. Go to the Fields tab.
  3. Hover over New and select "Link to selected fields from other table." This opens the wizard on the Table tab.

Table Tab

On the Table tab, you configure the data source for the linked field.

  1. Select the source table for your linked field. This is the table that holds the data you want to reference in the table you're working in. For example, if you're editing the Contract table to pull in the name of a salesperson, you would select the People table. You can select tables from the current KB, another  KB, or an external database table.
  2. In the Admin Notes field, enter a brief description of the field and its function, as well as any interaction with other fields or automation that other administrators might need to know.

Mapping Tab

The Mapping tab holds some of the most important options for configuring the linked field.

  1. First, select whether to allow the linked field to hold links to multiple records. Links with this option are referred to as "multiple values enabled," and they work differently from links that connect only one record at a time. After you create the field, you won't be able to change this selection. Choose one of the options:
  2. If you chose No, you can also choose whether to allow entries not in the source table. If you select this checkbox, users can enter values that don't match a record in the source table, but there won't be a link since there isn't a record to link to. We refer to non-source values in a linked field as a "loose link" as opposed to a "strict link." If you do allow entries that aren't in the source table, select the Do not update option in the next step.
  3. Next, select whether to update your linked field when updates are made in the source table. Sometimes you want to keep the linked field in sync, such as keeping a user's contact information up to date. In other cases, you might want to preserve the original value, such as when pulling in the original price paid for an item. Choose one of the options:

Fields Tab

The Fields tab displays all the fields in the source table, and here you select the fields to be included from the source table in the linked set.

  1. If you selected Yes, fast search or Yes, save space to allow linking multiple records, enter a Table Label to display above the embedded table of linked records. If you selected No, you'll be able to relabel each source field you link to.
  2. For each field you want to include in your link:
Selecting a field in the wizard doesn't make it visible for users; to add it to the record form, you'll need to add it to the table layout. Remember that if you need to use a field in automation, even if you don't add it to the layout for users to see, you do need to select it here.

Permissions Tab

The Permissions tab contains options similar to other wizards, but it also has a specific bulk option to copy permissions from the source table for the linked fields. To view these permissions, click View Permissions.

You also have the option to replace these permissions with those copied from a field in the current table. To copy the permissions from a field in the current table, select it and click Copy Permissions.

The Copy Permissions operation sets the permissions for all of the selected fields. If you want to assign different permissions to some of the fields, or if you've already saved the linked field set and the settings are disabled, go to Setup > Access > Manage Groups and edit the group permissions directly for the affected groups.

When a field is linked to a field in another table, users must be given View Others' permissions to the field in the source table to be able to use the field in the target table. This allows them to view the currently selected value or select a new value for the linked field.

Options Tab

Now, determine how your linked field or fields should behave.

  1. First, choose how to set the default value, if at all:
  2. Next, choose whether the default values are reapplied. To illustrate these options, imagine a linked field from the Departments table with the default value set to the department whose ID matches the requester's department ID in the current record. Let's see what each option does:
  3. In the next section, you can make your linked field required, not required, or required only under certain conditions.
  4. If your field allows only a single record to be linked, choose whether to require a unique value in your linked field. For example, you might want to make sure each training schedule is assigned to only one user, and each user is assigned to only one training schedule.
  5. Set Deletable? to Yes or No.
  6. In the next section, you can restrict the source table records that are available for users to link. For example, to choose a vendor location in a contract, you could use a saved search to show only locations in which the Vendor Name matches the Contract Vendor Name.

    If you want to use a matching field search criterion, select the field in the source table from the field drop-down, choose an operator, and choose variable rather than value from the next drop-down, then click Formula Help. Go to the Parent Field tab to find the field in the current table that you want to match against and to insert it into the search.

  7. If desired, add visibility conditions to hide or show the field as needed.
  8. If desired, add conditions to make the field editable or not editable as needed. For example, if you chose the "Always reapply" option in step 2, you might want to make editing conditional.

Display Tab

Now that you've defined the behavior, it's time to determine how the linked field or fields should look. Before getting into the wizard options, take a look at the different outputs you can offer your users.

Display Options Without MVE

This table shows the options for displaying linked fields that only allow single values.

Input Aid

Record Form Appearance

Hyperlinked box with Lookup

Plain text box with Lookup

Source field display with lookup

View only source field display

List of values

Box only

Hyperlinked view only

Plain text view only

AutoShows a List of values until 50 records exist and then switches to Hyperlinked box with lookup.

Display Options with MVE

With MVE, a Link to Selected Fields is always displayed as an embedded table. In this case, the only adjustments you need to make to the display are choosing a view and action bar to use in the embedded table.

Setting Display Options

To configure your field display in the wizard:

  1. If your field doesn't have multiple values enabled, select one of the display options for each field you selected on the Mapping tab. You can click the edit icon next to each display option to adjust the length of the field. By default, linked fields are long enough to accommodate the longest possible value from the source record, which often disrupts existing layouts and takes up more space than necessary. Editing the field length here does not affect the field length in the source table. You can also add an instructional pop-up or input instruction for the field here.

    Display at least one field in the linked set as a hyperlink so that users can navigate directly to the source record to see more information.

  2. Choose whether to show values in alphabetical order or the order they were linked in.
  3. If you are creating a Link to Selected Fields with multiple values enabled:
    1. Select a source table view to use in the embedded table. In most cases, you'll want a dedicated view to use in embedded tables, with fewer columns that are tailored to the information that is relevant to the target table.
    2. Select a source table action bar to use in the embedded table. It's almost always best to create an action bar to use in embedded tables to remove irrelevant options, such as print and email.
    3. If necessary, here you can set the system to check the linked records to see if they're locked for editing, and to display an icon for any records that are currently locked. This is resource-intensive and not usually necessary, so in most cases you should leave this set to No.
  4. If you're creating a Link to Selected Fields without multiple values enabled:
    1. Select a source table view to use in the search lookup window. Make sure the view you choose includes enough information for users to identify the correct record to link.
    2. Define the default search used in the search lookup window. It's helpful to choose String under Default search because a string search finds word fragments as well as whole words, and it's therefore more likely to produce the results that you’re looking for.

Related articles