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Custom objects overview
Last updated on: December 20, 2022

Custom objects allow you to create your own unique records to store information that’s most relevant to your business. You choose the fields you want to add to your unique records, and you’ll get a new collection to store your records.

When you create a custom object, you can set up “relationships” between different types of records in your account. For example, you could have a “Pets” custom object that stores information about your contacts’ pets. When a relationship between “Pets” and “Contacts” is set up, you can easily connect and manage the two associated records. With custom objects, it’s also no problem to keep information organized when some contacts have more than one pet.

There are two types of custom objects that you can add to your account:

  1. Prebuilt objects — available for Plus level accounts and above.

    Prebuilt objects include the most common types of records you’ll need for your account such as Deals, Companies, Surveys and Virtual Events. These objects are already set up for you, so all you need to do is toggle them on to get started.

  2. Custom objects — available to Pro level accounts and above.

    Custom objects allow you to create unique record types that fit your needs, such as a “Pets” custom object for veterinarians, or a “Projects” custom object for contractors. With this option, you name and create your own unique records for your business.

Check out this Ontraport University overview of custom objects:

Table of contents

Adding prebuilt objects
Understanding custom object relationships
One-to-many relationships
Many-to-many relationships
One-to-one relationships
Create a new custom object
Step 1 of 4 — Name your object
Step 2 of 4 – Set up your fields
Step 3 of 4 — Create your relationships
Step 4 of 4 – Dropdown field and navigation settings
Dropdown Field Settings
Navigation Settings
Adding records to your custom object
Using forms on pages
Using Ontraforms
Using a CSV File
Through the API
Adding relationships between objects and users

Adding prebuilt objects

To enable custom objects in your account, you need to add a dynamic content package to your account first. Here’s how:

  1. Click here to go to your Account Details page.
  2. Click Add plan or Start trial next to “Add Dynamic CMS to your account,” and choose the plan that fits your needs.

Ontraport gives you prebuilt objects for the most common use cases:

  • Deals — to start tracking your qualified prospects.
  • Companies — to manage relationships between contacts and businesses. 
  • Surveys — to collect data from your contacts to optimize their experience.
  • Virtual Events — to manage your online events and track their outcomes.

Here’s how you can enable them:

  1. Click profile icon → Apps.
  2. Toggle on the prebuilt custom object you’d like on.

In the Automation Marketplace, you can also get a head start with common automations for these objects.

Understanding custom object relationships

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Before you create your own custom objects, it’s important to understand how the relationships between objects work so that you can determine which is right for your business.

1) One-to-many relationships

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In one-to-many relationships (often called parent-child relationships) you can store a list of your related records in one place — the parent object’s record.

 Consider the prebuilt custom object “Companies.” The Companies object is the parent in a one-to-many relationship with Contacts, which means when you click into a company’s record, you’ll be able to see the info about that company and a list of all the contacts who work for that company.

Company record example

Then when you look at each individual contact’s record, you’ll see they simply have a dropdown field for “Company” because the contacts object is the child.

Contact info example

Let’s take a look at a more custom one-to-many relationship.

 Say you’re a contractor who does kitchen and bath remodels, and you need a custom object to keep track of your proposals. Your proposal records include information about the project like your estimated costs for labor and materials.

When you create a “Proposals” custom object, you’ll get proposal records for storing all of the information about your proposed project. You’ll create a one-to-many relationship between the contacts object and the proposals object, where the contacts object is the parent. This relationship will give you access to a list of proposed projects in your contact’s record:

Proposed projects example image 1

And in your proposal record you can see all of the details of that proposed project.

proposal example image 2

2) Many-to-many relationships

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Many-to-many relationships create a list of all your related objects in both records. There are certain situations where this configuration will be beneficial.

Let’s use the prebuilt object “Virtual Events” to understand this relationship type. If you’re running a lot of webinars, online meetings, etc., you’ll want to track which contacts have registered for those events, and at the same time be able to see which events each of your contacts are registering for.

 With a many-to-many relationship, you can see all of the registrants for an event inside of that event’s record.

Example event image

And you can also see all of the events a specific contact has registered for inside of their contact record.

Registered Events example

3) One-to-one relationships

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A one-to-one relationship means one record in one object can be linked to only one record in another object. One-to-one relationships are often useful as a supplementary relationships.

Let’s say you wanted to store a point of contact for each company record and be able to see if a contact is a point of contact for any of the companies stored in your database. In this situation, you can use a one-to-one relationship to accomplish this.

One-to-one example

another one-to-one example

Create a new custom object

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First, make sure you’ve added a dynamic content package to your account. Here’s how:

  1. Click here to go to your account details page.
  2. Click Add plan or Start trial next to “Add Dynamic CMS to your account,” and choose the plan that fits your needs.

Once custom objects are enabled in your account, you can follow the steps below to create your own custom object. The process is broken up into four steps to create your own unique record type for your business.

Step 1 of 4 — Name your object

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  1. Click profile iconAdministration → Data → Custom Objects.
  2. Click New Object.
  3. Name your custom object, and add the singular version of the name — the rest of the fields will autofill based on what you enter. 
  4. Click Next.

Create new object step 1

Step 2 of 4 – Set up your fields

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Next, you’ll add the custom fields, sections and tabs you’d like in your custom object records. This is exactly like creating custom fields for your contact records.

Note: if you add an email address field to the custom object record, it will count toward your contacts limit even if you never populate the email address field (just as a contact record without an email address counts).

  1. Click Add Field to add any custom field
  2. Click Add New Section to add a custom section to your record
  3. Click Add Tab to add a new tab to your record. 

When you’re done, click Next.

Create new object step 2

Step 3 of 4 — Create your relationships

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In step 2, you created the custom fields you want to have in your records. Creating relationships between your records is a lot like setting up those custom fields. These settings let you add information from one record to another related record. You choose where your data will live and what labels you want to use.

  1. Click New Relationsip.
  2. Select the relationship you’d like to set up, where you’d like your data to be stored, and add the label you’d like to add to that section or field.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Repeat steps one through three if you’d like to set up another relationship. Otherwise click Next.

Create new object step 3

Let’s unpack this “Pets” custom object example to understand what each of these fields mean.

the first four fields of custom objects

The first four fields determine the objects you’ll connect and identify the relationship structure that connects your records.

1. Relationship name

  • Name your relationship so it’s easy to identify. Either add your own custom name or follow Ontraport’s recommended naming structure. You can edit your relationship’s name at any time.
    • Note, any relationships created before August 30, 2022 have automatically generated names.

Recommended naming structure

Relationship type Description Example


Relationships are separated with a dash in the middle of the two object names

Deals – Contracts


Relationships are separated with a “>” between the object names. The symbol points away from the “many” object — also known as the “child” object.

The “one” object — also known as the “parent” record — is on the left side.

Companies < Contacts

  • Contacts are on the “many” side because each company record contains a list of employees.


Relationships are separated with a “><” symbol between the object names.

Contacts >< Events

2. Pet is related to Contacts

  • The Pet object is related to the Contacts object. We’re adding pet info to your contact records and vice versa.

Field one example

2. Relationship Type isOne-to-many

  • This adds a list of related records in the “Parent” object record. The “Child” object records have a field that links to the “Parent” record.
    • You’ll choose which object is the “Parent” and which is the “Child” in the next step.

the first three fields of custom objects

3. This Pet is theChild

  • The new “Pet” object is the “many” side of this one-to-many relationship. Each pet record is related to one contact, and each contact can have multiple pets.
    • In this case, you’d see the “Parent” pet owner and a list of their pets in their contact record.

the first three fields of custom objects

The next four fields determine where you’ll save the new info for each of your records and the labels for each field or section.

the last four fields of custom objects

1. Where should we put the Contact in the Pet record?Pet Info

  • The dropdown field that contains the pet owner’s name will be added to the “Pet Info section” of pet records.

the pet info section

2. Where should we put the Pet in the Contact record?Contact Information

  • The section that contains each contact’s list of pets will be added to the “Contact Information” section of contact records.

the contact info section

3. What should we call this relationship in the Pet record?Pet owner

  • This sets “Pet owner” as the name of the new field added to the pet records.

the pet owner field

4. What should we call this relationship in the Contact record?Pets

  • The name of the new section added to the “Contact Information” tab will be named, “Pets.”

the Pets section

Step 4 of 4 – dropdown field and navigation settings

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Create new object step 4

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This section lets you customize your record title by selecting the fields you want to display at the top of each of your records. You can choose from any of the default fields or custom fields you added in step two.

  • Click the “insert merge field” dropdown and select the fields you’d like to display at the top of each record.
    • Remember to add spaces between each of your merge fields if you add more than one!

Dropdown field settings

Here’s what those dropdown field settings look like on the “Pets” record:

Custom pet info example

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This section allows you to manage your main navigation bar. From here you can:

Navigation settings

  • Reorder your navigation menu — click and drag move icon  to the right position.
  • Edit icons of your custom objects — click Edit Icon.
  • Change the color of your custom object tabs — click Change Color.
  • Hide custom objects from your navigation — click Hide this Menu.

Note: if you hide a custom object from your navigation, you can re-add it from the “Custom Objects” dropdown menu in the top right corner.

When you’re done, just click Finish.

Adding records to your custom object

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You can add records to your custom objects in the following ways.


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  1. Click on your object’s name on your main navigation bar.
  2. Click + New [Page//object name].
  3. Add data to your fields and click check  to save it.

Using forms on Pages

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When you build forms on Pages, you can choose which object’s field you want to use. This means that you can collect custom object data from forms on your pages.

  1. Drag a form field element to your block.
  2. In the pop-up, choose the type of record you want to create or update.

Select an object example

  1. Click Okay.
  2. Select the field you want to add to your form.

select a contact form field

  1. Click Okay.

Note: you can only add fields from one object at a time. However, you can still “drill in to” your related record fields by clicking on the > on the right of your related field’s name.

related field example

Using Ontraforms

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Each object includes its own Ontraforms which allows you to add any of the custom fields you’ve set up for your custom object to your forms. Then if the form is filled out, it will create a new record with that information.

 You can also add fields from your related objects, if your custom object is the child in one-to-many relationship or has a one-to-one relationship set up, by clicking > next to the other object’s label when you add fields to your form.

Drill in fields

Using a CSV File

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If you’d like to mass import records into your new object, you’d use the same process to import contacts but access it from your object instead of contacts.

  1. Hover over your object in the main navigation bar and click SettingsImport
  2. Follow the steps to import contacts
    • If you want to import records with established relationships, follow these steps.

Through the API

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View our article on using Ontraport’s API article for information. This functionality is advanced and should be used by experienced developers or programmers.

Adding relationships between objects and users

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You can create custom relationships between your objects and users in addition to the default “Owner” relationship that’s added to records.

Custom relationships are helpful when multiple employees in your organization provide services to your leads and customers. For example, you may have a sales representative, onboarding representative and an account manager that all have a relationship with your customer. Creating custom relationships between contacts and users makes it easy to keep track of all employees who work with a customer and send messages to them.

You can create relationships between prebuilt or custom objects, and all you need to do is set up a new relationship:

  1. Go to my profileAdministrationData Custom Objects.
  2. Click on the object you want to add a relationship with users to.
  3. Click on the “Manage Relationships” tab then follow the steps above to create your relationships.
    • You’ll select “Users” from the dropdown where you choose the related object.
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Custom objects use case: Events
 Pro tips

Tip #1: To view your custom object records using Quick View, click on your object’s navigation button, such as Deals or Companies→ hover over the record you want to view → clickthe quick view button.

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