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Prepare to use mail forms and restricted fields on your project

Plan, create, and apply mail forms and restricted fields to your project.

Mail forms and restricted fields make mail much more customizable.


Mail forms

  • Help you collect key project information for detailed search and reporting purposes.

  • Guide users to enter that data the way the project requires them to.
Applied to selected mail types as needed.Six field types, each with a range of customization options.

Restricted fields

  • Let you attach to mail structured notes that only your organization can see.

  • Excluded from Supersearch, but can be used to filter search results and create reports.
Applied to selected mail types as needed.Six field types, each with a range of customization options.

Mail attributes

  • Categorise mail, linking the information it contains to key aspects of your project (e.g. locations).

  • Enhance mail search.
Automatically applied to every mail type on the project.A multi-select field type for which you define the values.

Mail forms don’t replace auto text in Mail; they complement it. You may be able to reduce your auto text requirements by moving some elements into mail forms. Alternatively, mail forms may allow you to easily capture and report on important information in addition to what’s in your auto text.

Like every other component of the mail, Mail Forms and the data they capture are visible to both senders and receivers of the mail.

1. Planning mail forms and restricted fields

The first step in creating useful mail forms and restricted fields is to plan them.

First, review your project’s reporting requirements. These will give you insights into the kinds of fields you’ll need to have available to report on.

Planning for Mail Forms

There are six different types of fields in mail forms and restricted fields: Yes/No, Date, Text, Text area, Number, and Single Select List. You’ll need to choose the appropriate field in each case, and structure it to suit your project’s needs. So it’s important to think about the information you need to capture, and the best way to capture it.

Selecting a field type

You can apply a given field to as many mail types as you like. As part of your planning, think about whether you want to reuse and report on fields across different mail types.

A Yes/No field

You can put limitations on each field to shape the way project participants enter information.

The Mail Form displays in a sent mail

As the project progresses, your mail forms will help you capture important project data, so it’s important to consider your project’s searching and reporting needs before you create the fields.

Reporting on Mail Forms

To plan your mail forms and restricted fields:

  1. Look at the mail types you’ve set for the project. Which mail types are likely to include particular data as standard?
  2. Make a list of this information for each mail type.
  3. Consider how project participants will need to use each of those pieces of information in their reporting. What limitations or specifications (e.g. units of length, dates, currencies, confidentiality etc.) will you need to put on the data to support those reporting needs?
  4. Make a note of those specifications next to each piece of information.
  5. Look for pieces of information that serve the same purpose and have the same (or very similar) specifications. Could you create a single field to capture this information, and use it across a range of mail types?
  6. Split your list of fields into single-use and reusable fields, if that’s appropriate for your project, noting which mail types each one will apply to.
  7. Create a separate list for restricted fields, which will remain confidential within your organization.

The character limits on Mail Forms fields and tooltips are as follows:

  • Labels: 40 characters
  • Tooltips: 150 characters
  • Selectlist values: 120 characters
  • Text: 1-60 characters.

2. Choosing field labels

It’s important to choose your field labels very carefully.

When you come to type your label into the New Field window, you’ll see the Field Name is created for you automatically.

Changing a field name

While the field label, which displays for your project’s participants, can be changed, this field name can’t. Once you save the field, that field name will be set—you won’t ever be able to change it.

This ensures that the Project Admin always knows what the original purpose of a field was, and can make sure it’s labeled appropriately.

For example, if you create fields named “Cost net” and “Cost gross”, changing the label of one to simply “Cost” would likely cause confusion when it comes to reporting for the project.

As you can see, it’s important to choose your field labels in the planning phase, before you begin to create the fields in Aconex.

  • Choose a name that reflects the intent of the field. For example, if the field is to be used to record costs, include that in the field name.
  • To make sure you can reuse the field across mail types, more generic names might be best (for example, Cost implication, rather than RFI cost implication).
  • Balance your need to reuse the field against your needs to track and report on specific elements of the project.
  • Remember that if you change the field label once it’s created, the new label will be applied to all the mail types in which that field is used on that project.

3. Choosing field options

Now you know what each of your fields is for, and what they’ll be called.

Next, decide how you’ll shape the information that project participants can enter for each one.

You can choose from six types of fields:

  • Yes/No
  • Date
  • Text
  • Text area
  • Number
  • Single Select List.

For each one, you can set a tooltip that gives users more information on how to complete the field.

A tool tip

For the text field, you can set minimum and maximum lengths. The default maximum is 60 characters, but you can set a maximum limit below that, and a minimum limit of one or more.

For the number field, you can set a data type and choose the units you’ll use.

A number field

Note that the number of characters you can use in the Text and Text Area fields is different.

  • Text is a single line (non-expandable) field with a maximum of 60 characters. 
  • Text Area is an expandable field with a 4000 character limit.

For a single select field, you’ll need to add the options from which users can select. You can paste these in from other programs, like Word or Excel, if you wish.

A single select field

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