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This page refers to CiviCRM 3.4 and 4.0, current STABLE version.

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Creating Profiles

  • Profiles are ways of viewing data used to make custom data displays, data entry screens and search screens
  • Custom data allows user-defined data fields and labels
  • Create custom data fields with custom groups, then arrange custom and standard fields through profiles


You first create the Profile "container" with the settings which control how it is used and its overall behaviors. You then assign the fields to the Profile that you want included in it.

Batch Update via Profile

To see how to use the 'Batch Update via Profile' option, check out
Batch Update via Profile


Let's say you want to create a PROFILE for entering VOLUNTEER INFORMATION.

Go to Administer CiviCRM. In the CONFIGURE section, click on CIVCRM PROFILE.
Your screen will look something like this:
To create a new PROFILE, click on >>New CiviCRM Profile. You'll see the NEW PROFILE screen:

Fill in:
Profile Name - Name you're assigning to this PROFILE, like VOLUNTEER INFO DATA ENTRY PROFILE

Used For - Profiles can be used as customized contact editing forms, as well as search and listings pages (Used For = Profile). They can also be embedded in Online Contribution Pages and Event Registration Forms. They can also be used to customize Advanced Search results columns (Used For = Search Results). See LINKING PROFILES.

Weight - Order the group is displayed

Pre- and Post-form Help - Add instructions or other notes for this PROFILE

Advanced SettingsLimit Listings - Automatically limit search listings to certain Groups

Add Contacts - Automatically assign contacts added using this profile at a certain Group. Note that if you choose a mailing list group here, users will receive an e-mail asking for confirmation of the subscription to the mailing list. However, the added contacts will already be assigned 'Added' group status, not 'Pending (by e-mail)', upon completion of the profile form. See Double Opt-in and Newsletter subscriptions via Profiles below.

Notify - Send email to someone in your organization whenever this Profile form is used to enter or update contact information

Collapse - Show only the profile title when screen is initially viewed (user clicks + icon to view the fields)

Redirect/Cancel URL - Can send user to a specified web page once the form is completed, or if they click "cancel"

CAPTCHA - Prevents abuse by automated scripts. When enabled, users must read and type in a displayed set of letters and numbers in order to submit their information. Before enabling this feature, verify that your CAPTCHA font library path and file settings are valid. See GLOBAL SETTINGS.
NOTE: The CAPTCHA feature is not available when a profile is used in Drupal's User Registration or My Account screens.

User account registration - Gives anonymous users the option (or requirement) to create a Drupal/Joomla User Account as part of completing the form. In Drupal, this feature requires the 'Email Verification' option to be checked (Drupal User Settings), AND you must include a Primary Email Address field in the profile. In Joomla, you must have user registration enabled in Joomla Global Configuration, and must include a Primary Email Address field in the profile.

Update contact on a duplicate match? - If an anonymous user enters contact information which matches an existing contact, update the record. If this setting is not enabled, the user will get a "duplicate record" warning and their input will not be saved.

Mapping - Enables interface with mapping software to show contact(s) locations on a map (a Mapping Provider|Mapping and Geocoding] must be configured for your site)

Include edit links in search results - Include a link in search result rows to Edit contact information (using the fields in this profile). Only users with permission to edit the contact will see this link.

Include Drupal/Joomla user account links in search results - Search results include a link view to contacts' User Account page (for those contacts who have user accounts)

Active - Click the box to activate this profile.

Click SAVE to save the PROFILE. You should see the message that the PROFILE has been added, something like this:
 Click add fields to proceed. You'll see this screen:

Assign Fields to Your Profile

Now you want to assign fields to be included in your PROFILE. Depending on your needs, you may include fields for searching contact listings, fields for displaying in listings (search results) and/or fields for input and edit forms.

  • Select the type of contact the field belongs to (e.g. Individual, Organization, Household) - and then select the field. Note that you can also assign the special "fields" of Groups and/or Tags - and these will be displayed as a set of checkboxes in the Profile forms.
  • Set Visibility for each field as follows:
    • Select "User and User Admin Only" for fields whose values are visible only to the logged in user (for their own contact data) AND/OR the site administrator. Although these fields/values are hidden when users view other contacts records, they WILL be included in the "create new contact" input form. This ability to hide selected Profile field values is NOT currently available for Joomla/Mambo installations. All Profile fields will be displayed in front-end Listings and Details view screens.
    • Select "Public User Pages" for fields that you want shared/displayed to others.
    • Select "Public User Pages and Listings" when you want the field values to be presented as links to find other contacts with the same values.

      If you want to allow contacts to join CiviCRM group(s) using a Profile form, you must set the Group Visibility to "Public User Pages" or "Public User Pages and Listings" for those group(s). You will then include a Profile field called "Groups" in a Profile (see next step).

  • Check Searchable for fields you want included in the search criteria for the search form that accompanies Profile listings pages.
  • Check In Selector? for "Public User Pages and Listing" fields which you want displayed as a column in Profile listings (search results).
    NOTE: Neither Groups nor Tags appear in the selector . Including them would increase the complexity  of searches, significantly slowing down searches.
  • Add field Notes, assign Weight and make Active as needed.

Click Save to save this field. You'll see a confirmation like this:
To add additional fields, click on >>New CiviCRM Profile Field.
Once you have added all the fields you want for this PROFILE,  you can go to the CiviCRM Profile page to view the profiles.
Click on Preview to see what your profile looks like. Here is an example based on our Volunteer Information CUSTOM DATA FIELDS:

You can also view and edit fields, change settings, create a stand-alone form, delete or disable the profile.

Limitations on Record Types

Profiles have an implicit type which is determined by the record type of the fields you add to it. For example, if you put the field First Name which belongs to Individual contact records into a Profile - then the Profile type will be Individual. The current supported types are: Individual / Household / Organization / Contribution / Participant / and Mixed.
For most profile uses, you CAN NOT include fields from different types of records. For example, including First Name (Individual), Last Name (Individual) and Household Name (Household) in a Profile will result in configuration error when you attempt to use the profile.
Also, if you want to include a profile in Drupal User Registration or My Account screens - ALL fields in the profile must belong to the Individual contact record type.

Multiple Records in Field Set are not exposed to the custom profile.

If you intend to use your custom data field set with a CiviCRM Profile, please be aware that selecting the option, Does this Custom Field Set allow multiple records?, will make it so that the field set is not available when creating a profile. 

Double Opt-in and Newsletter subscriptions via Profiles

You can automatically include contacts to a group using the 'Add Contacts to Group' option under the Advanced tab. Alternatively a "Group(s)" profile field can be included in your profile - allowing users to select one or more Public Mailing List groups to join.

Double Opt-in Settings

If CiviMail is enabled, users may be sent an email asking to confirm their subscription (this is called double opt-in) - depending on values you have in the civicrm.settings.php configuration file.

There are two related settings for this in civicrm.settings.php (see below). With the default settings (AND CiviMail enabled), double opt-in will happen when a user selects one or more Group(s) to join (using the Group(s) profile field). Users will be automatically added to a group without confirmation if the Profile Advanced Setting -> "Add contacts to group" is used.

This setting enables double opt-in for all group joining methods if CiviMail is also enabled. Set the value to 0 if you do NOT want to users to have to confirm when they join a group / mailing list.

This setting disables double opt-in specifically when Profile Advanced Setting -> "Add contacts to group" is used. This default generally makes sense because users are not explicitly requesting to join a group. However some organizations ALWAYS want users to confirm joining a group / mailing list. In this case, set the value to 1.

You must enable the access CiviMail subscribe/unsubscribe pages permission for anonymous users if you want people who are not logged in to your site to use the "double opt-in" feature. Otherwise they will get 'Access Denied' when they try to confirm their subscription to a group.

Note: alternatively, you can allow users to "subscribe" to groups via http://<yoursite.tld>/civicrm/mailing/subscribe?reset=1&gid=2, where '2' is the Group ID (gid) to subscribe to. Omitting the "&gid=2" string, users can choose from all available public mailing list groups.

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