Field Properties - Documentation topics on: adding fields to a content type,content type,select list,show in listing,show on menu,standard field types,system indexed,unique,user searchable,.

Field Properties

Each Content Type field](content-type-fields) contains a number of properties which define what information can be stored in the field and how it is displayed.

Property Types

Common Properties

The following properties exist in every Content Type field.

Display TypeDrop Down ListChoose the field type
(Standard, WYSIWYG, Tag and Category, etc.).
LabelTextA label or title for the Field.
This label will be shown to content contributors editing the content in the dotCMS backend.
Variable/IDText (Read-Only)Displays the variable name used to access this field (in both Velocity code, Elasticsearch queries, etc.).
Note: This value will only display after the Field has been saved the first time.

Standard Properties

The following five properties are standard flags (properties with true or false values), each of which is available in many different field types. Each of these flags affect how the field is stored or displayed in dotCMS:

RequiredCheck if the Field is required (e.g. this Field must not be left empty when adding or editing this type of Content).
User SearchableCheck to allow users to search the data in the field.
Fields with this value checked will be individually searchable when searching for content.
If this is checked, the content will automatically be indexed
System IndexedCheck to cause the Field to be indexed.
This improves search performance, but increases the size of the search indexes.
Show in ListingCheck to allow the Field to display in the search results list when searching for content.
UniqueCheck to prevent duplicates in the Field.
This ensures that no two content items have the same value in this Field.

Different flags are available for different Content Type fields; the following table summarizes the standard flags available for each field type:

Field Display TypeRequiredUser
Show in
Date and TimeYesYesYesYesNo
Line DividerNoNoNoNoNo
Multi SelectYesYesYesNoYes
Site or FolderYesYesIndirectlyNoNo
Tab DividerNoNoNoNoNo

Field-Specific Properties

The following field-sepcific properties are available only to certain field types. Which parameters a field has (and which parameters are required) varies depending on the field type.

Data TypeRadio ButtonFormat of the data to be stored in the Field
e.g. Text, Decimal, Whole Number, etc..
Validation RegexTextA regular expression (pre-defined or custom) that limits how data can be entered into the Field.
For more information please see the Validation Expressions documentation.
Code/ValueMultiline TextYou must fill out this parameter for some Field types (Radio, Multi-Select, etc.).
Sample code/instructions are displayed highlighted in yellow to the right of the code field when this is required.
Default ValueTextThe default value used to automatically populate the Field when a new Content item is added.
Note: For fields with listed values (such as Select field), the value of the selection (rather than its label) must be used.
HintTextInstructions to contributors on how to fill out the Field.
The Hint will be displayed to the content contributor on the Content editing screen.

Required Properties

When adding a new field to a Content Type, some of the above properties are required; fields can not be saved unless all required fields are filled in. When editing the field properties, required properties are marked with an asterisk to the left of their labels, as shown in the Example below.

Specific Cases

Some field properties require specific values to handle specific cases.

Creating a Multi-Select Field with No Default Value

By default, the first value in a Multi-Select field is the default value (so when new content items are created, the value of the Multi-Select field will be set to the first value listed unless the user manually changes it).

To force a user to manually select a value from the list (instead of using a default value), do both of the following:

  1. Add only a pipe (“|“) character as the first choice in the select list (do not include a label or value on either side of the pipe character).
    • This configures the Field to have no default value (the user must manually select a value, or no value will be saved).
  2. Check the Required parameter for the Field, so that the default first “null” choice is not valid.
    • This forces the content contributor to click and choose an item from the select list before the content item can be saved.

Multi-select fields do NOT need any special handling. Multi-select fields always force the contributor to choose a value, otherwise the field is left blank.


The images below show examples of some of the different field types.

Example 1: Text Field

Text Field

Example 2: Multi-select Field