Form Meta Menu

Starting in Specify 7.8, we introduced the new form meta menu. It can be accessed by clicking on the :gear_: icon in the top right of any form. This is always present in the title bar of the form as seen below:

As well as on subforms:

And can be accessed from the grid view when the content is expanded in the bottom right of each item:

The new menu introduces support for capabilities such as:

  • Configuring carry forward on a field-by-field basis
  • Enable or disable auto-numbering
  • Customizing Form type (autogenerated or predefined)
  • Inspecting the edit history of a record
  • Querying on tree usages
  • Querying on pick list usages
  • Forms can now be switched temporarily to read-only mode
  • Setting subview sort order
  • Switching subviews between grid or subform display format
  • Opening the Form definition
  • Copying a link to a Collection Object record
  • Field labels can be disabled temporarily, displaying the database field names instead
  • The ability to run a report/label for a given record on any table

To access this menu, you just need to click the :gear_:. As a primary example, here is how the form meta menu appears on the Collection Object table:

Entire Tables

Form Configuration

Carry Forward

Carry Forward button configuration

You can enable or disable the Carry Forward button by checking the box to the left. If you click on the gear, you can customize all of the options contained within!

Carry forward allows you to configure the clone behavior on a per-field basis. You can select fields (that are not enforced unique) that you wish to preserve when using the Carry Forward functionality in Specify. This extends to entire relationships.

You can Select All or Deselect All fields in the base table using the action buttons at the bottom of the dialog. You can also reveal hidden fields by selecting the checkbox above the action buttons. By default, all fields are selected for carry forward.

To see the behavior in action, you can dismiss the dialog and click Clone.

Auto Numbering

You can now configure Auto Numbering on a per-field basis. In this instance, only the catalog number is auto numbering in this form.

If I uncheck this box, I am able to enter any catalog number I would like without having Specify enforce auto numbering. I can later turn it back on and resume auto numbering.

Form Definition

Use Auto Generated Form

The Form Definition menu contains several useful options. You can check the “Use Auto Generated Form” box to enable Specify’s built-in form generator.

This automatically generated form will display every field in the table that is unhidden in the schema config menu. It will represent most relationships as buttons.

Use localized field labels

By unchecking the “Use localized field labels” box, you can force Specify to show the database names for the fields rather than the names established in the schema config menu.

For example:

With localized fields enabled:

With localized fields disabled:

Edit Form Definition

This link will take you to the app resource viewer for the current view set resource the form is defined in. You can make changes to this document, save them, and clear your cache to see them reflected on the form.

Enable Read-Only Mode

Once the form reloads, you will see a read-only view of your records. This will persist until it is disabled from the configuration menu, ensuring that you don’t make any unintended changes to your data. This mode applies everywhere, including in the WorkBench and trees. It is the equivalent of temporarily becoming a user without any edit, create, or delete privileges.

Print Label

This button functions the same as the “Generate Invoice” or “Generate Label” buttons already available on forms. This extends the capability to run a report or label to any table in the database.

Print label on save

This checkbox allows you to be prompted every time you save a record within the specific table.

Record Information

History Of Edits

This button creates an SpAuditLog query for the specific record. This allows you to see when a record has been modified and by whom. It includes the Table Name, Record ID, Action, Modified By Agent, Timestamp Modified, Parent Record ID, and Parent Table Name.

If you are new to using the SpAuditLog table in Specify, please see our documentation on the topic.

Share Record

This feature allows you to easily share a link to your current record to anyone with access to the Specify database.

For collection object records in particular, it leverages the /bycatalog/ feature in Specify 7!

You can see your Specify URL followed by

KUI is the collection code
00019254 is the catalog number


For subviews, there are special options available.

You can see that there is a new Subview configuration list of items.

Subview Configuration


This allows you to switch the display type for the subview between Grid and Subform.

After switching the preparation form to display as a subform, it appears as below:

Order By

This allows you to choose which field to order the subview by. This can be defined in the form definition, or chosen manually in the form meta menu.

This list of fields is repeated and can be sorted to be ascending or descending.

Tree Items and Pick Lists

When viewing a tree item or pick list form, there is a new Find Usages button that displays.

For tree items, this button runs the same query as the Query function does in the tree viewer. It automatically runs a query in a new tab and finds all collection object records that reference that record.

For pick list items, this button runs a query in a dialog that finds all table names and fields that use that particular pick list.

In this instance, the “Phenology” pick list is only being used in the collectionobject table for the field text1 in this collection.