Automatically assign numbers to new records - useful for supporter-friendly IDs such as member numbers, ticket numbers, and case numbers.
Heads up! This is a guide for admin users. If you're not an admin yet, ask your Beacon admin to promote you so you can start managing fields.
What are auto-number fields?
Auto-number fields are like normal number fields, but instead of manually assigning numbers they're automatically set by Beacon. They start at 1, and increment for every new record that's created.
For example, if you created an auto-number field on People, and then created your first three People records, the field value would usually be 1, then 2, then 3.
Auto-number fields come with a specific set of behaviours that you can expect:
Numbers will be unique - No number will be used twice
Numbers will increase - Each new number will be larger than the largest number currently used
Numbers will be sequential - Each new record will usually add 1 to the largest number (there are occasional times when numbers might be skipped)
Frequently asked questions
What are auto-number fields useful for?
Member, donor, case, ticket or volunteer numbers
Unique payment identifiers
Used in a smart field to combine with other letters/numbers
Any other time you'd like to assign a unique number for each record!
What happens when I convert an existing number field into an auto-number field?
Before trying to convert an existing number field to an auto-number field, make sure that every value that's currently set to the field is unique (i.e. no two records currently share the same number). Auto-number fields must be unique in Beacon.
Beacon takes the maximum number in your field, and starts an automatic counter from there.
If there are any existing records that have this field blank, Beacon will automatically set a unique number for these records.
When new records are created, a new number will automatically be set for each new record you create.
Can I switch an auto-number field back to a regular number field?
Yes! This will allow you to edit the values again, and stop Beacon from automatically setting a new number for every new record that's created.
If you need to switch back to an auto-number field again, of course that's completely possible.
Will numbers always be sequential?
Numbers will almost always be sequential, however there's no way for us to 100% guarantee that every number will be used without skipping any.
There are boring technical reasons why the incrementing values won't always be gapless (if there are database issues, or if an import or record creation fails, then we will skip the values that we were trying to create). But under normal operation this will be very rare.