Creating Data Collections

Modified on Thu, 26 Jan 2023 at 08:01 PM

Creating Data Collections

To create a new custom data collection head to:

  1. Admin.
  2. Click on the Matter Types tile.
  3. Select the matter type that you want the data collection to be for.
  4. Click on the Manage button in the Matter data section.
  5. Click on the Create data collection button.

General Settings

Under the general setting section on the New data Collection screen you can add the following information:

  • Name - The name of a data collection is not actually one that is displayed to the user. that name that you enter will be used when this data collection (and the fields you create under it) is referenced in other parts of Actionstep such as in document or email templates.

TIP: The name of a data collection can not have spaces in it. We recommend altering the name with capitals or underscores to help make them easier to read. 
  • Description - This will be displayed to users. You can populate it to help guide your user on what they should expect to see under this data collection.
  • Type - There are two types of data collections available in Actionstep, a single row or many row option and both behave differently:

A one row data collection will have one record for each field. Effectively, it will present the user with one form for them to fill in for the matter. Most data collections will be 'one row per matter'.  

A many rows per matter data collection will allow you to create more than one record for the data collection. Effectively, it will allow you to create as many records as you want with a separate form for each.

While this type of data collection will be less popular, it is very useful for instances where you might have a variable number of items that you need to collect on a matter.

Matter Settings

In the matter setting section you can control how the data collection will appear to the user when they are looking at their matters.

  • Display title - This will be how the data collection will appear on the matter - Keep in mind that the data collection will appear beside the icons at the top of a matter. If you plan on having many data collections, keep the name short.
  • Sort order - Sort order is what Actionstep to put different items in the correct order. You will see it in multiple places throughout matter types. The number that you assign here will be compared to the sort order number on any other data collection you create. A data collection with a lower number will appear before (to the left of) a data collection with a higher number.
  • Related matter sharing - It is possible to have this data collection appear in not just the matter that you have open but in any matter that is related to it. Related matters allow you, at a basic level, to show that one matter is related to another. However, you can expand on that functionality with options like this. By switching the related matter sharing on, then this data collection will be seen as another data collection on a related matter. This can be great if there is information that will be useful to see on both matters. Even better, if you update the results of the fields in one matter, the fields in the other matter will be updated automatically, Even if you update the fields  in the matter that was not the original. The only restriction you should be aware of is that you cannot reference fields in a shared data collection on a document template that you produce from a related matter. 
  • Always show description - In the general settings section (above) you can create a description for the data collection you are working on. This description will display when the data collection is being edited. It will show at the top of the data collection screen, just under the data collections label. You can switch the 'Always show descriptions' to 'on' to have that data collection description show anytime the user is viewing the data collection, wether editing it or not.


In this section, you can create and do some basic edits of the fields that will sit under the data collection you are creating. Each row represents a different field that will appear under your data collection.

To add a field:

  1. Click on the Add row button.
  2. Add a Name for the field -  This name is used to reference this field in other parts of Actionstep such as document templates or custom list views. The name of the field cannot have any spaces in it. We recommend altering the name with capitals or underscores to help make them readable. (Example of a field name: Customer_instructions).
  3. Add a label - This is how the field will appear to your users. 
  4. Select a Data Type - There are a number of different types of fields that you can create in Actionstep. Commonly selected options will appear at the top of this drop down but all will be displayed.
  5. Enter a form order number - this is like a sort order. It is what Actionstep uses to put different items in the correct order. The number that you assign here will be compared to the list order number on any other field you create. A field with a lower number will appear before a field with a higher number.
  6. Required box -if you tick this box, the user must enter a value against this field to be able to save the data collection.

System Role Permissions

Actionstep allows you to set permissions for the users of your system, including if they can access a data collection. This can be useful if there is some information that you are happy to make available to all staff but some that you want to make available to only some staff. To achieve this, you could create a data collection specifically for the information that should be restricted and then use the system role permissions to restrict access to the data collection.

By default, the custom permissions will be off. This means that anybody who has access to the matter type that this data collection is on will have access to the data collection. Switch the custom permissions on to allow for them to be customized. 

When switched on, you will see a list of all the system roles that are set in your Actionstep. This will vary from system to system.

Beside each, will be a tick box to allow that system role to read the data collection, write to the data collection or delete the data in a data collection.

Read - When given 'Read' access a user is able to see the fields within a data collection and read the values they have been assigned. If they have read access and no other access, they will not be able to edit or change the values of any fields. If a system role is not given read access to a data collection, they will not be able to see the data collection on a matter of this type.

Write - When given 'Write' access a user will be able to read the values assigned to any fields under a data collection. They will be able to edit those fields and assign them new values. When given 'Write' access, a system role will have 'Read' access by default.

Delete - When given 'Delete' access a user will see a button at the bottom of the data collection that will allow them delete all values against all the fields in the data collection. This will delete all values on that data collection.

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