External ID in Zoho CRM

External ID in Zoho CRM

Hello everyone!

We know that Zoho CRM allows you to integrate third-party apps and manipulate data through APIs.

While you integrate a third-party application, you may want to store the third-party reference IDs in Zoho CRM's records. To meet this need of storing an external value inside Zoho CRM, we have introduced the External ID field.

What is an External ID field?
An External ID field is a custom single line field in a module in Zoho CRM that can hold a record's unique ID in an external system.

When can I use an External field?
When you integrate an application with Zoho CRM, you can use the external field's value to create, update, or delete a record in Zoho CRM instead of Zoho CRM's record ID.
This is particularly useful when you deal with huge data where you can work with just one ID per record instead of two.
  • Integration and data sync - You can simply use the external ID to upsert records instead of the Zoho CRM's record ID, and maintain data sync.
  • Search - When you have an external field, you can search for a record through its external ID instead of the record ID.
How can I mark a field as External?
  1. Go to Setup > Modules and Customization > Choose a module > Choose the layout.
  2. Add a custom single line field.
  3. Edit the properties of this field and select Set as External Field.

  4. Click Done.
  • The External ID feature is available only for the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Zoho CRM.
  • If you mark a field as external, you cannot undo it. Similarly, you cannot convert an existing single line field to an external field.
Types of External fields
There are two types of External fields in Zoho CRM:
  • User-based
  • Org-based
User-based external field: When you set an external field of this type, this field is available to each user in CRM. So, each user can manipulate records based on this external value. For example, there are two users "user1" and "user2" that have saved a single Google Contact with external values as their respective Google contact IDs "GC1" and "GC2". Now, when the integration between Google Contacts and Zoho CRM happens, there will be a single Contact record in CRM. Now, these users can use their respective Google Contact IDs in the external field, and update that record in CRM, instead of Zoho CRM's record ID.

Org-based external field: When you set an external field of this type, the external ID of this field is the same for all users of the org. Consider an example where you have integrated MailChimp with Zoho CRM, and all the email addresses are stored as individual contacts in Zoho CRM. In MailChimp, the Campaign ID is the same for all the email addresses in the list. So, when you set the Campaign ID as the value to an external field, all CRM users can use this external value in CRM to manipulate these contacts.

You can reference the external field and create, update, or upsert records and related records through APIs.

This feature will go live by the first week of November, 2020.

Our help pages will also be live along with the feature.

Write to us at support@zohocrm.com if you have any questions.


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