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HomeOntraport for no-code web appsCustom Objects > Creating custom objects
Home > Custom Objects  >  Creating custom objects
Creating custom objects
Learn how to set up your own custom objects step by step so your data is organized and ready to work with in your account.
You'll learn:
  • How to create relationships between objects, like pets and owners
  • Best practices for naming your custom objects
  • How to use merge fields in your records to help identify related objects
Jason Howell
Creating custom objects
Learn how to set up your own custom objects step by step so your data is organized and ready to work with in your account.
You'll learn:
  • How to create relationships between objects, like pets and owners
  • Best practices for naming your custom objects
  • How to use merge fields in your records to help identify related objects
Course Instructor
Jason Howell
Related resources
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In this video, I’ll walk you through setting up a custom object and explain all the various settings along the way.

Let’s get started.

Start by going to your user profile, then “Administration.” Click on the “Data” tab and then “Custom Objects.” 

Once you’re there, click “Add New Object” and name it. 

Put the plural name at the top here, and then type in the singular tense below. The system guesses the other options for you, so double-check that the other formats are correct because they’ll get used all over the app.

Then click “Next.” 

Now let’s set up some fields. You can add more fields and edit all this later, so you don’t need to get it perfect right now. 

But there is something important to consider here. Once this thing is built, and you have a bunch of records in your new object, there are going to be places in the app where you can search for and select one of these records from a dropdown field. And in that dropdown, you’ll need to name each record so you can find the one you want.

Your contact records, for example, shows the first name, last name and then the contact’s email address in parenthesis, like this. 

Deals, on the other hand, don’t have first names or last names, so those records will look something like this.

Now let’s go back to this new object of yours. You need to name it something that will help you identify it when you’re searching for it. It can be a single field or a combination of fields, which you can set up in a few quick steps. 

Since you’re building a pets custom object right now, you’ll add a field called “Pet Name” here. 

So add a new section and call it “Pet Info.” Drag it to the top like this and then create a new text field called “Pet Name.” You’ll eventually want to include fields for each pet’s breed, weight and so on but let’s keep it simple for now. 

When you’re done with that, click “Next.”

Now we get to the fun part, where you’ll start creating relationships between objects. 

First, you’ll just pick which object you’re creating a relationship for and the type of relationship you want — easy enough.

Then, you’re going to get some different options depending on what sort of relationship type you pick. Select the one-to-many option, since that’s the one you’ll probably use most often.

Now you must choose whether the object you’re creating is the parent or child object. You know how to make that choice now because you watched the previous video. If not, watch it now. 

In this case, you’ll make “Pets” the child object because one owner can have many pets, but a pet can only have one owner. 

Now you’ll see some other settings pop up. 

The first question asks which section you should put the parent field in in the new “Pets” record, and the second question asks which tab you want to put the child subcollection in.

When you create a one-to-many relationship, the child records get a new field where you’ll see the parent record stored. And the parent records will get a whole new subcollection that will show the list of related child records.

The next question asks how you will name the relationship in the pet’s record. You can call this one “Pet Owner,” because the field name “Owner” is already taken by the system. Even though you’re creating a relationship to a contact record, it’s better to name it after the relationship. So name it “Pet Owner,” not “Contact.” 

This is because you can have many relationships between the same two objects. 

For example, you may have an owner for each pet but also want to create an emergency contact for each one in case you can’t get ahold of the owner. Those emergency contacts are going to be contact records as well, just like the owners are. 

So you’d create a second relationship between contacts and pets, and it would look exactly the same, except you’d call the second one “Emergency Contact” instead of “Owner.” That way, when you look at the pet records, you can tell the difference between them.

Ok, so the final field here is the opposite of the last one. It’s asking what you should call the pet records in the contact object. In this case, calling them “Pets” makes perfect sense. 

But if you were creating that emergency contact relationship I talked about before, you might call this one “Emergency Contact For” or something like that, so that when you see the two lists of pets there, you know that this contact owns these pets and is an emergency contact for these other ones.

When you click “Save,” that relationship gets created and you’ll have the opportunity to create even more relationships. You can always go back and delete relationships or create more later. But keep in mind you can’t change the relationship types later on. 

When you’re done, click “Next.”

Now for the last step. This is where you’ll tell the system how your new pet records should look in dropdown menus and when you’re searching for things. The idea here is to use fields from the record that will help you identify each pet.

You created “Pet Name,” so it’s a good idea to add it here. Click “Insert merge field” and “Pet Name.” 

However, this might not be specific enough because there could be a lot of cats named Fluffy and dogs called Fido in the world. If you’re trying to select a particular pet from a dropdown, it’s not going to be helpful if it says Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy and Fluffy. So you’ll need to add something that will help you identify a specific cat named Fluffy. 

To do that, click on the merge field tool again, then click “Owner” here so you can find the owner’s fields. 

Here, you have “First Name.” Add that, then come back and add “Last Name” too.

Now you have three merge fields, so it might look something like Fluffy Moira Rose when all is said and done. 

That’ll do the job but if you like keeping things tidy, add a little vertical bar with a space on either side between the pet’s name and the owner’s first name. 

Now, your merge field will say “Fluffy” with a divider after it and then “Moira Rose” or “Johnny  Rose” or whoever this Fluffy’s owner is.

Finally, pick an icon to represent your pets. The pawprint icon is fitting, so let’s use that. And then pick a color just for a little visual cue that tells you that you’re dealing with pets instead of contacts.

You can also take a second to decide where you want your new pet’s object to appear in your navigation. Just drag it up here and boom — that’s it! 

Click “Finish” and you’re done.

At this point, you’ll see “Pets” in your main navigation bar. Now you can start creating new pet records by typing them in, importing them or even creating forms on your pages to create new pet objects on the web.

Next, I’m going to walk you through all that and show you a couple of cool custom object tricks that you’ll want to know about. 

So join me in the next video, “Using custom objects.”
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