Set the Key Field of a Table

Say you've got two records that contain exactly the same information. How do you tell them apart? How does QuickBase tell them apart? To avoid confusion, QuickBase requires each table to feature one field that contains a unique value for each record. This is called the key field. This field ensures that records which are identical in every other way always have one unique identifier. Usually, QuickBase creates this field for you and names it Record ID#. As you add records, the program automatically populates this field with a new unique number.

If you want, you can designate another field in a table as the key field. Of course this must be a field that contains unique values. The advantage to choosing a different field, is that it might contain a value that's more meaningful than an arbitrary number. For example, fields like Part Number, Account Number or Employee ID# usually work well. (If you'd prefer, you can make the key field a text type field instead of a numeric field.) When you create your own key field, QuickBase displays it as a required field on the table's entry form.

Note: You cannot specify a list-user field as the key field in a table.

To change the key field:

  1. In the table bar on any application page, click the table whose key field you want to change. Within the menu that appears, select Customize --tablename-- Table > Fields.

  2. Select a field, then click Set Key button. A Change the Key Field dialog box opens.
    If this table is a master table in one or more relationships, the dialog that displays will contain a warning and a link to get more information. When you change the key field in a master table, QuickBase will make changes to other tables in the application in response to the key field change; the dialog explains those changes.

  3. Click the Set Key button. A key icon (keyicon.png) is displayed next to that field.


This page refers to an older version of QuickBase. Online help is now located at


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