NetSuite Custom Field Types : All You Need to Know to Enhance Your Data Flexibility

NetSuite really is unique in its level of customization that can be done directly in the UI without scripting or any real development experience. Entire custom records can be created with custom fields full of lists of data, workflows populating them and showing custom error messages and so much more.

There are more than 20 NetSuite custom field types and each of those can be defaulted with static values, some populated from saved searches or even using custom formulas.

Custom fields are grouped by record type. These lists can be viewed at Customization > Lists, Records & Fields.

The navigation path to find the lists of various netsuite custom field types

To create a new custom field, first determine which record type you are creating the field for. Hover over that option and select New.

Transaction Body fields are fields found in the main record body of a transaction such as a Sales Order or Invoice. Transaction Column fields are those found as a column on the sublist of the transaction such as Item or Quantity.

Once you are on the new field form, before doing anything further, you will need to select the field type.

Most Frequently Used NetSuite Custom Field Types

Below are the characteristics of some of the more common NetSuite custom field types.

Checkbox

I think we all know what a checkbox looks like!

This can be a really useful field that doesn’t require much input from the user but you should remember that due to its nature a checkbox cannot be made mandatory.

An alternative to using the checkbox is a dropdown list of YES and NO. This, of course, could be made mandatory but is not as pleasant a user experience.

Date

A date field allows the user to enter a date or select one from a calendar pop out.

Even when the value is stored, the system will always convert date fields to show in the users preferred date format as set in their Preferences.

A custom date field in NetSuite
A useful trick – Press the T key on your keyboard to populate the date field with todays date. Press Y to populate with yesterdays date.

Document

This field type can be used to attach a document to a record.

The field is searchable so a document that already exists in the NetSuite File Cabinet can be searched for and selected in order to display the name in the field. If the user has the correct permissions they can also upload a document directly. Once saved, the document name can be clicked to view or download.

Free-Form Text / Text Area

There are actually at least four text based NetSuite custom field types but these two are the most common.

The main difference between them is the maximum number of characters they allow. A Free-Form Text field has a fixed size and only accepts up to 300 characters. A Text Area can be resized by the user for better visibility and will accept up to 4,000 characters.

Inline HTML

This field is a blank slate that allows you to code what you want it to do.

The options are vast with this field type. Check out this NetFreak article that gives an introduction to some of the things you can use Inline HTML fields for.

List/Record

This is a very common field type that has an endless number of use cases when working with a database.

When creating the field you configure it to source a list of records or values. The user then selects an option from that list.

An example of a list of records is a list of all Employees in NetSuite. A list of values might be Approval Status’ or a YES/NO selection.

List/Record fields allow users to select one value only.

Multiple Select

A Multiple Select field has the same set up as the above List/Record field with the difference being more than one option can be selected.

Complete List of NetSuite Custom Field Types

The above section details some of the more commonly used field types only. The full list of types is as follows –

  • Check box
  • Currency
  • Date
  • Date/Time
  • Decimal Number
  • Document
  • Entity
  • Email Address
  • Free-Form Text
  • Help
  • Hyperlink
  • Image
  • Inline HTML
  • Integer Number
  • List/Record
  • Long Text
  • Multiple Select
  • Password
  • Percent
  • Phone Number
  • Rich Text
  • Text Area
  • Time of Day

You can use the NetSuite Help Centre to learn about each of these NetSuite custom field types in more detail.

Creating a Custom Field in NetSuite

Once you have selected your NetSuite custom field type and given your new field a name you will need to select which records it will be used for.

If you have selected a Transaction Body field, for example, you will see displayed on the Applies To tab all transaction types.

Selecting Sale means that the field can be used on sales transactions. This does not include transactions such as Vendor Bill, Purchase Order or Return Authorization. To allow use on these transactions the Purchase checkbox would need to be ticked also.

Setting the Applies To for NetSuite custom field types

The Display tab will allow you to preset the location on the form down to subtab and its position in reference to another field.

This is also where you can enter the field help. This is highly recommended and far too frequently missed. As a system gets more heavily customized we are more inclined to skip this step, but that is actually when you need it most.

Try to get in to the habit of always entering field help as it will benefit all users of the system including you!

Depending on the field type you may then have some options to choose from on the Validation & Defaulting tab. This is where you can set the field as mandatory or provide a default value.

You can hardcode that default value, or use a formula to calculate it.

Some fields even allow you to source the default value from a saved search.

The validation and defaulting tab on a custom field record in NetSuite

The Sourcing & Filtering tab can be used to narrow down the available values in a List/Record field. You may want to do this for a transaction list to show only transactions for a particular customer. Perhaps on the employee record you will have a list showing only other employees in the same department.

The last tab is the Access tab which simply allows you to predefine access based on a user’s role, department or subsidiary. This is not mandatory and leaving it blank will simply mean access to the field is defined by the user’s general role permissions.

You can now Save your field. You may then want to check it’s position and visibility on all forms for the chosen record types but it is ready to use immediately.


This has been a very high level overview and there is far more that can be done with the various types of custom fields. With this information though you will be ready to get started and in time you will be able to start exploring the more advanced features NetSuite has to offer in this area.

If you have something particular in mind that you would like to achieve with a custom field, try searching for it here on NetFreak. If you do not find the answer then comment below or reach out via the Contact page and we’ll help.

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