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Create a new field

You can find this manual item also in our workshop. Click here to view the workshop video.

1. Select a phase and step

Navigate to the 'Form' tab. Once you have created your phases and steps, you can start adding fields to your steps. When you are in the 'Form' tab, you can choose the Phase and Step for which you would like to edit the form by selecting them from the dropdown menus, as shown below.

2. Create a new field

Once you have selected a step to add a field to, you can choose a field type in the field panel, shown on the right side of the form builder. The full list of field types is provided below:

  • Number: this field can only contain numbers. 
  • Radio buttons: displays an option list from which the user can choose only one option. The buttons can be placed vertically or horizontally.
  • Dropdown: displays an option list from which the user can choose only one option. If you have a large number of options, this is more convenient than a radio button field. Dropdown fields with a large number of options (>250) turn into a search box which improves data entry performance for studies with large option groups.
  • Checkboxes: displays an option list from which the user can choose multiple options.
  • Date: field in which the user can select a date, displayed in the format dd-mm-yyyy.
  • Year: displays a year value, the lower limit for the year field is 1891 and the maximum is 2099.
  • Time: this field can be used to display a time value (hh:mm).  By default, time values are listed based upon the 24 hour clock and are divided into 15 minute increments. To add exact time values, type the digits e.g 15:32 into the field manually.
  • Calculationused to access variables from your study to calculate values, e.g. a BMI from weight and length. 
  • Slider: useful for VAS-measurements and other numeric values with clear minimum and maximum values.
  • Remark: this is not a real field, but rather a line of text you can add to your forms to provide the user with more information and structure the form.
  • Summary: create summaries of collected data in your eCRF.
  • Repeated Measure: with this field you can quickly add repeated measures in the data entry. When creating a repeated measure field, you can select to display measurements for all linked phases or reports for a specific repeated measure.
  • Text: a text field that can contain any value (single line). The maximum length for this field is 4196 characters.
  • Text (multiline): a text field that can contain multiple lines of text. The maximum length for this field is 4196 characters.
  • Randomization: displays the assigned randomization group of a record in the form (for example, 'placebo' or 'treatment').
  • Upload File: allows the user to upload a file that belongs to the record or a survey (i.e. an image, pdf, etc.). The maximum file size is 5MB.
  • Image: The image field serves as a graphical alternative to the Remark field. You can upload an image here that will be displayed inline in the form. SVG image format is not supported.
  • Grid: field type to group closely related data in a tight interface (table). 
  • Date & time: this field can hold a date and time. Displayed in format dd-mm-yyyy and hh:mm
  • Number & Date: stores a number value alongside a date, can be used for laboratory results.
  • Add Report Button: created a button which allows you to quickly add a certain report in the data entry.
  • Add Survey Button: created a button which allows you to quickly add a certain survey in the data entry.

3. Set the field properties

When adding a new field, or editing an existing one, you will see the field properties screen.  An example below shows the 'Edit' options for a number field which contains the following basic properties:

  • Position: determines where the field appears on the form
  • Label: defines the label that the field has. The label is the actual question (e.g. "What is the patient's gender?" or "Gender"). There is a limit of 1024 characters in this field. Some basic MarkDown tags can be used for text formatting. For more information, hover the mouse on the 'i' next to 'Label'. Additionally available, but not indicated, is the ability to underline text: ***patient*** or ___patient___ is displayed as patient in the label text.
  • Variable name: the variable name helps to identify a field, which can be useful when data is exported or in calculation fields. A variable name must be unique across the entire study and can only consist of  alphanumerical characters and the following symbols: $ # _ @. The first character must be a letter  (for example, "baseline_gender"). 
  • Field type: Here you can change the field type, should you have clicked the wrong button.
  • Required: Is this field required? If you set it to "Yes", this field will be taken into account when calculating the form completeness.
  • Enforce decimals: When set to 'Yes', this option allows to enforce decimals on numeric fields, which will render a field validation in data entry showing ‘Incorrect format, decimals are required’ if the inputted value does not contain decimals.
  • Upper and lower limits: applicable only to number fields. What are the minimum and maximum values for this field (in that order)?
  • Field width: This determines the width of the rendered input field. Allowed range is 5-20, increasing the range, will increase the width of the field.
  • Measurement unit: This is displayed after the field and shows the user which units are expected, e.g. "cm" or "mmol/L".
  • Help/info text: This text can be toggled by the user to display additional information about the field. Use this for lengthy explanations, not the field label. You can add formatting to the help text using the MarkDown tags. Help information on MarkDown is available by clicking on the (help) link below Help/info text. Spacing can be created by creating a double SPACE and then pressing ENTER.
  • Help/info text preview: To render a preview of the styled text you can click the "Preview" button.

For editing advanced field properties (data validation, dependencies, metadata), read this article.

Different types of fields have different available basic properties. Only the properties for the selected field type are shown, which means that you will not always see all these field properties.

Users are not allowed to store personal information in Castor. This includes patient name, home address, postal code or social security number. Castor cannot be held liable if this information is stored by a user and accessed by a third party. We take every possible precaution to secure and guard your data, and your data is as safe with us as it can be on the internet. However, you are responsible for the information you store. Email addresses added to records for survey invitations are stored encrypted. We recommend that patients are identified using only a unique record ID in Castor, and advise that users store any personal or identifying information on a local computer inside a secured network e.g. the hospital's network. 

4. Save the field

When you have set all the properties, save the field and return to form builder or save the field and continue adding more fields. After clicking Save, the field immediately shows up in the Form Builder. 

5. Edit, copy, move or delete the field

Right next to each created field there are 4 icons which you can use to modify the field or its location:

  • Edit field: You can use this to edit the field properties at any time. Please note that when editing a field and changing the field type for fields in which data has been collected is limited to only allow compatible field type changes, in order to prevent data loss.
  • Copy field: Copy the field with all its properties to the same or another phase/step. This is convenient if for example you are creating a series of Yes/No questions.
  • Move field: Move the field to a new location within the same or in another phase/step. 
  • Delete field: This will permanently delete your field.

Format field label

It is possible to apply formatting to the label and help/info fields associated with a field/question by using asterisks (*) or underscores (_). Only one type of formatting can be active:

  • A single asterisk/underscore will give italic text e.g. *test*/_test_
  • A double asterisk/underscore will give bolded text e.g. **test**/__test__
  • A triple asterisk/underscore will underline the text e.g. ***test***/___test__
  • To add a link, use [link title](

Video: creating a new field

Watch the video walk-through  on Castor Academy:

Creating a field | Castor Academy

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