Specify 7.8 Release Notes

:loudspeaker: We have a webinar showcasing all of the new features and abilities in Specify 7.8!

Specify 7.8 is a major update. It introduces a new Form “Meta Menu”, reimplements the App Resource Editor, introduces spatial search in the Query Builder, adds numerous usability improvements and fixes many bugs.

This release coincides with update Specify Schema version 2.10. The details of those updates can be reviewed on the Specify Community Forum in release notes for Specify 6.8.02 and Specify Schema 2.10.

This release supports Specify 6.8.01 and 6.8.02 (Schema 2.9 and 2.10).


A Data Form “Meta Menu” has been added. It is accessed by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of any Form. (#1330)

The Meta Menu introduces support for:

  • Configuring Carry Forward (#1793, #2566)
  • Enabling or disabling auto-numbering (#1794)
  • Customizing Form type
  • Inspecting the edit history of a record (#1703)
  • Querying on Tree usages (#1728)
  • Querying on Pick List usages (#1795)
  • Switching Forms temporarily to read-only mode (#15)
  • Specifying subform view sort order
  • Switching subviews between grid or subform display formats (#1723)
  • Opening the Form definition in an app resource editor
  • Copying a URL link for sharing for web access to a Collection Object record
  • Disabling data field labels temporarily to display the underlying database field names instead (#1581)
  • Running a report/label for any given record on any table (#1996 - Requested by RBGE)

Other Data Form Enhancements

  • When adding a new record using the Clone or Add button, the view returns to the top of the form (#1790)
  • Misconfigured web links now do not show the link button (#2416)
  • When a record deletion is blocked, associated records are now displayed with an option to remove them also (#1696)
  • Browse in Forms no longer hangs when jumping to the end of a large list of records (#1721)
  • Latitude and Longitude coordinate fields now only accept certain characters (#194)
  • When the Query Builder search dialog appears in areas where it makes sense to add multiple records, multiple records can be selected (#1708). For example, Collection Relationships can now be established in bulk on the Form (#2052 - Requested by CSIRO)
  • Show Loans and Show Interactions buttons now display properly (#504 - Requested by CSIRO)
  • Specify now checks for maximum field length on all fields (#1788)
  • Table icons and names can now included in the Form headers (#1693)
  • System information can now be copied from the About dialog (#1466)
  • Empty field names no longer disappear on the Forms (#1945)


  • Move, merge, and synonymize functions are now more intuitive in the tree viewer (#1654)
  • Trees now remember the last focused node between sessions (#1760)
  • When merging or synonymizing tree nodes, the first node remains highlighted (#1642)
  • Specify now checks for enforced tree ranks when moving a tree node (#915)
  • Tree nodes can now be selected without expanding or collapsing the children by holding command or shift when selecting (#1604)
  • Tree items can now be deleted in the tree viewer (#1262)


  • When importing a CSV file, you can customize the delimiter. Automatic delimiter detection has also been improved (#2076, #2150)
  • Can now customize the delimiter when exporting a Data Set (#2154)
  • Fixed a bug with external file import failing if there are 3 or more columns with the same name (#2055)


  • Query Results can now be displayed before the total count has been calculated (#1758)
  • Aggregated or formatted tables are added to the query after double-clicking the Table name (#1791)
  • Queries can be renamed from the Query Builder interface (#1677)
  • Querying on taxon usages now runs the query automatically (#834)
  • Queries with coordinates now have a GeoMap button to plot data on a map (#1714)
  • Queries no longer show “Any” operator when no other operators are available (#1828)
  • Queries now support spatial search (#1713 - Requested by SAIAB)
  • Query result record links can now be selected using a keyboard (#1353)
  • “Create KML” is now hidden when no locality fields are present in the query (#1751)
  • All query results are plotted when using the GeoMap feature (#2424)
  • Queries now return the same number of results between Specify 6 and 7 in instances where the pick list item value is not the same as its title (#2296)
  • A new “Hide Field Mapper” button has been added allowing users to hide the field mapper when viewing a query (#2070)
  • Deleting a query item no longer scrolls the query items to the bottom automatically (#2523)
  • When creating a new record set from a query, the name of the query is automatically filled in as the record set name.

App Resources

  • Search & Replace have been added in the resource editor (#1170)
  • App resources can now be cloned (#1263)
  • Administrators can now customize user preferences for other users (#1336)
  • Exporting View sets now downloads them with correct file type (#1397)
  • Fixed inability to create Global App Resources in some databases (#551)
  • Full screen mode has been added to the Resource Editor (#1839)
  • Ctrl + Z in the app resource editor no longer clears the Editor (#1551)
  • App Resources can now be renamed in the Editor (#1288)
  • App resource sidebar now highlights the current resource (#2173)

Database Customizations

  • Tables shown in Data Entry dialog can now be customized (#1817)
  • Tables shown in the Query Builder dialog can now be customized (#607)
  • Attachment preview size can now be customized in Remote Prefs (#1812)


  • Routing between pages has been improved. Now, each page has a unique URL and one can use the web browser back arrow not just to go to the previous Specify page, but also to re-open any previous dialog window (#835)
  • User Preferences are now synchronized between browser tabs (#1792)
  • Error handling has been improved:
    • Error messages now vary appropriately based on the type of error (#2028)
    • Error dialogs are now friendlier (#1722)
    • Low-risk errors are now dismissable by the user (#1616)
    • “Not Found” page is now friendlier but just as unyielding (#1214)
    • A hint to post issues to the Community Forum has been added (#2237)
  • Navigation menu now highlights the correct item (#1639)
  • Darwin Core Archive exporting now includes a new interface with a visual App Resource picker (#489)
  • Optional splash screen “Taxon Tiles” can be selected to run a query for all CO records associated with the Taxon (#1776)
  • Added the ability to sort contents of most dialogs by clicking on the heading (#1668, #1249)
  • Optional raster homepage logo and critter icons have been replaced with scalable, high-resolution SVG versions (#2082)
  • Security panel now has protection from accidentally losing unsaved changes (#1798)
  • Saving changes to a user no longer require assigning a password (#2539)
  • Simple search now includes the count of returned records in the header for each section (#1681)
  • “Select All” is now disabled if there are no preparations to choose from when creating an interaction (#1805)
  • Labels not associated with any field are now rendered as text fields for accessibility reasons (#1796)
  • Users with Create and View permissions can create new app resources (#1596)
  • Express Search no longer allows searching with a blank query (#2261)
  • A typo in the Return Loan dialog has been resolved (#2315)
  • Form width customization now defaults to the minimum value and pauses during input until completion (#1566)
  • Specify 7 logo has been removed from the home screen in favor of the About Specify 7 item in the User Tools menu (#2084)
  • Assets can now be stored in different directories for different collections (#1056)
  • The Host Taxon plugin now is supported in Specify 7 (#2308)
  • Schema configuration list for Schema 2.10 is now spaced correctly (#2374)
  • Notifications now are marked as read after they are viewed (#2369)
  • Disabled fields no longer show the “not allowed” cursor, now they display the correct default cursor (#2225)
  • All lists in the UI are now sorted alphabetically (#1841)
  • Form buttons are now disabled instead of hidden when creating a new record (#2556)
  • Fixed error messages in the console for users who did not customize leaflet settings or default preferences (#2484)

Full List of Improvements

List of internal bug fixes

List of Git commits