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Reference Fields

Think of reference fields as the glue that holds different projects in your organization together. Reference fields allow you to connect two related tasks in separate projects. This makes Zenkit more powerful than most other spreadsheets, productivity, or work management tools. References essentially allow you to create a database without having to be a database expert.

For example, in your folder, you have a project for starting your business and in another, you have various HR tasks.

In your "Build a spaceship" project, there is already a reference field that points to tasks from the "Staff" project that is important for that particular task.

If you click on a reference, a popup window opens with a reference field of the object, in this case, "Bob the Builder" from "Staff".

You can view all the information about Bob the Builder from the Staff project, including other tasks in which it is referenced.

Add a new reference field

You add a reference field, the same way as any other custom field. In Table View, fields can be added by clicking "New Field" in the field at the right margin. Lastly, select "References to other tasks."

When adding a reference field, you can select an existing project or create a new one. You can even choose to reference a project to itself.

You can also choose whether users can create new tasks in the reference field and whether you can select from tasks that already exist in the referenced project.

When you link two projects in this way, each project gets a reference field to the other. 

Creating new tasks within referenced projects

Allowing members to create new tasks gives you the ability to create a new task within the referenced project from another project.

For example, you need to create a new staff member in the Staff project responsible for the "Set Up Sleeping Area" task and click "Add Task" under the reference.

To create the new task, simply start typing - in this case, 'Marie Kondo'- and then press Enter. This will create a task with the title 'Marie Kondo' within the 'Employee' project. 

Alternatively, you can simply select "Create task" from the drop-down menu. This way you will create an untitled task that you can update later. You can also create a newly referenced task directly in the table view. In the Reference Field column, click the cell to which you want to add the reference. Enter the new task you want to create, and then click Create Task.

Selecting existing tasks within a referenced project.

You can also select tasks that already exist in the referenced project. When you click "Add task", Zenkit will suggest some from the existing tasks in a dropdown menu or you can search for them: Just type part of the name of the tasks you want to reference and choose from the suggested tasks in the dropdown list.

You can also use this in the table view. In the Reference Field column, click the cell you want to add the reference to. Use the same steps as above to search for the task and select what you want to reference.

Referencing a project to itself

It is possible to select the project you are currently working on as a reference for the project. When you do this, two reference fields are set up in the project, named "References" and "References - Mirror" by default. (The same thing happens when you connect two projects with reference fields - the only difference is that the second field is in a different project!) This can be helpful if, for example, some tasks have subtasks in the same project. For instance, you can rename the reference fields to "Main Task" and "Subtask". You can then filter by "'Subtask' is empty" to see only the main tasks.

Removing a reference

Suppose you accidentally added a reference or some references are no longer relevant. Don't worry! It's easy to remove a reference.

In any project, expand the task from which you want to remove a reference. When you hover over the reference, two small icons will appear in the corner. Click on the "X" to remove the reference. 

In the table view, you can also remove a reference by clicking in the cell that contains the reference (but not on the referenced task itself!) and then click "X" next to the referent you want to remove.

Editing referenced tasks

You can edit referenced tasks just like you would edit a regular task in a project. In the details view, click the title of the task. In Table View, click the task under the reference field (column).

This will open a popup that looks just like a normal task details popup. From here you can rename the task, edit information in each field, and even add new fields.

Find out the true location of a referenced task

To avoid this kind of confusion, tasks display a description of your actual location under the title in the details view.

For example, if you are in the 'Tasks' project and open the 'Scientific Experiments' task and then click on the linked 'Research Plan' document, you will see this description.

First, the true position in the form of {Task} in {Project} will be given: "Task in Documents". Then it will tell you which task it is referenced from in the project you are currently in.

What happens if a user does not have access to a referenced project?

If you reference tasks from projects that have different member groups, users who are not members of both projects will not be able to see the referenced tasks. Users who do not have access to the referenced tasks will be able to see that tasks are referenced, but will not see details. They will also not be able to add or remove references.