Working with Record ID

What is a Record ID, and what can I do with it?

Updated over a week ago

Much like our fingerprints or DNA, 'Record ID' is a unique piece of information that can be used to identify a specific record in Beacon. Because no two records in your database share a 'Record ID,' it can be an incredibly useful tool to use when linking, importing, and exporting records.


What is a Record ID?

'Record ID' is a unique reference number on every record in your database. Beacon automatically assigns this number on the record's creation, and it cannot be changed or deleted.

Where can I find the Record ID field?

'Record ID' field

You can find the 'Record ID' field by going into customisation mode, selecting a card, and showing the field.

Note: This is only available for admins. If you need to access this field, you can ask your admin to add this to the record.

Add it as a column to your view

Like any field within Beacon, you can add it as a column in your list views.


The 'Record ID' is also typically found at the end of each record's URL.

Finding a record using Record ID


You can search for records by typing the 'Record ID' into the search bar. Keep in mind that since the 'Record ID' is a number, other fields that contain that number will also appear in the search.

Using the URL

If you know the 'Record ID' and want to navigate straight to a record, you can type the name of the record type and the 'Record ID' into the URL.

For example, if you were wanting to go to a Person record and the 'Record ID' was 10948, you would enter the following:

Exporting with Record ID

When building a CSV export template, it's often good to include the 'Record ID' for the records and any linked records in your export. This allows you to easily re-import the information into Beacon if you make any changes in your spreadsheet.

If you run an ad-hoc export using the 'All fields' template, the 'Record ID' for the linked records will automatically be included in the export.

Note: If you export with the 'Visible fields (default)' template, the 'Record ID' column will only be included if you have added the column to your view.

Importing with Record ID

When importing data, it's important to configure your deduplication settings. Deduplication tells Beacon how to detect whether a row should update an existing record or create a new one.

'Record ID' is a good choice to use for deduplication when you want to update existing records within Beacon. Because Beacon assigns the 'Record ID' when the record is created, it cannot be used to deduplicate when importing new records. It can only be used to update.

For example, let's say you ran an export of People's addresses so they can be sent off for data cleansing. Once the addresses are cleaned, you can import them and use 'Record ID' to deduplicate.

Tip: If you have a unique reference number from another platform that you’d like to deduplicate by, we suggest using the External ID field where available or creating your own with a short text field.

Linking records together

You can use the 'Record ID' to link together records.

When searching for a record in a point to another record field, you can use the 'Record ID' instead of the record’s primary field to search for the record you want to link.

You can also use 'Record ID' to link records together during an import. For example, if you have a spreadsheet of Gift Aid declarations you'd like to import, but you don't have an email or phone number to deduplicate People by, you can add a column to your spreadsheet for the Person's 'Record ID.'

Frequently asked questions

Does archiving or deleting impact the Record ID at all?

No, when you archive or delete a record, the 'Record ID' will not be freed up to use.

What happens to the Record ID when I merge two records?

The older record's 'Record ID' will be used.

Can I use Record ID as a ticket, membership, or case number?

We suggest not using 'Record ID' for these purposes because it isn't available to use in filters, email templates, acknowledgements, and document merges.

Ticket, Membership, and Case records come with auto-number fields that automatically set a unique number when a new record is created. If you find you need to create another unique identifier, we recommend creating your own custom auto-number field.

Note: Creating fields is only available for admins. If you need this field, chat your admin about creating an auto-number field.

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