Creating Custom Modules - Online Help | Zoho Desk

Creating Custom Modules

Module is a structured compartment used to organize and manage specific types of data.They serve as the building blocks or standard parts that make up the Desk's architecture, allowing businesses to efficiently handle different entities such as tickets, contacts, products, price details etc. 


When we talk about custom modules within Zoho Desk, we're taking this concept a step further. Custom modules in Zoho Desk play a crucial role in how businesses organize and manage their data. These modules are far from generic placeholders; they're more specialized and industry-specific designed to meet the unique needs of different businesses.


From a business perspective, these custom modules are like tailored compartments for your data. They allow you to store information in a manner that is not only relevant but also easily comprehensible to your workforce. Instead of dealing with generic data structures that may not align with your industry's unique challenges, custom modules empower you to create customized data repositories that precisely mirror your business processes.


Imagine having modules designed specifically for your industry, whether you're in healthcare, ecommerce, finance, or any other sector. These custom modules enable you to capture, organize, and retrieve data in a way that makes sense to your team. This tailored approach enhances not only your customer support, but also your overall operational efficiency.

Standard modules  

Zoho Desk provides a range of system-defined standard modules, such as Tickets, Accounts, Contacts, Products, Tasks, and more, to store specific data. These modules come with a set of default fields and layouts that can be easily customized by Admins or Agents to align with the unique requirements of a business. For example, the Classifications field in the Tickets module can be renamed as "Ticket type" to make it relatable to the support agents. See also: Standard Zoho Desk modules and fields 

Custom modules  

At times, standard modules may not meet every business needs in such cases, custom modules can help businesses address their precise requirements. For example, modules like Customers, Products, or Knowledge Base may not be appropriate in the Education sector. They can create custom modules such as "Students," "Professors," and "Counselors" that will align with their operational processes. 


Likewise, an insurance firm may require a standalone module to keep records of the policies and also link it with the customers to get a 360 degree view.  


These custom modules can integrate seamlessly with core Desk modules using lookup fields and need not be stand-alone modules. In addition to this, custom modules provide several other benefits, such as field customization, creating workflow automations, defining the access controls, and more.

Business scenario                                                                                       

Hospitality Industry - Travel and tourism 

Consider a tourism business that uses Zoho Desk to manage bookings and ticketing system. They create the following custom modules to store data and customer information: 

  • Tour packages
  • Reservations 
  • Bookings 

They have also configured the following to optimize the module for their business requirements: 

Field customization and page layout modification 

In each module, they have added custom fields to store relevant data. 

  • Tour packages - Package types (picklist field), Duration (single line), Available From and To (date field), Cost (currency field), Description (multi-line).
  • Reservation - Number of travelers, Hotel name, Vendor details.
  • Bookings - Date of travel, Booking type, Arrival On, Departure On. 

 The company facilitates hotel and travel bookings, so they created two layouts under the Bookings module to capture the relevant details.

Control module access with profile permission 

Since different teams handle tour packages, reservations, and bookings, instead of giving everyone access to all the modules, admins can give restrict access to the relevant members. Likewise, customer information and transaction details should only be accessible to authorized users, so users with the appropriate profile permissions can be given access to view and edit data within these modules.

By linking Tour Packages module with the Contacts module, the travel agents can easily track the customer and their bookings. It also offers a comprehensive overview of customer interactions and preferences, which helps in personalizing services based on previous tour experiences and individuals preferences.

Automate business process 

To streamline processes further and ensure smooth operations, they implement workflow rules in the custom modules. For example, when the number of available seats for a tour package reaches a specific threshold, an automated notification can be sent to the sales team or respective agents, prompting them to take appropriate action or update the availability status promptly.


For streamlined communication, the reservation status and booking details are sent to the customers via email and SMS. Additionally, administrators can create custom reports to keep track of reservations and bookings and get relevant insights.

Explore more use cases in different business verticals: Education | Logistics and Transportation | Financial Services | Information Technology | Healthcare | Real Estate
Permission Required
Users with the Module Customization permission in their profile can create custom module. For users with the administrative profile, the Module Customization permission is enabled by default. 

Custom module is available in the following editions:

  • Enterprise edition10 custom modules. Each module can have a maximum of 5 custom lookup fields.

Creating custom modules 

Zoho Desk administrators can create and configure custom modules. Creating custom modules involves the following steps: 

Providing module name

Specify the plural and singular name of the module. For example, Tour Packages, Patient, and Raw Materials. The plural module name is displayed in the topband of the Desk account, whereas the singular module name will be used when creating a single record within the custom module. Note that the module name can be a maximum of 25 characters. 

Providing a description

Add a brief description that outlines the purpose or function of the custom module.

Selecting department accessibility

Modules can be created for specific departments. While creating a custom module, you must specify the departments that can access it. For example, only the Sales and Operations team can be given access to the "Tour Packages" module. This ensures that the sales team can access and promote the available tour packages, while the operations team can manage and coordinate the logistical aspects of the tours. 

Note: The department based accessibility is under progress. Currently a custom module is accessible to all the departments by default. 

Setting Database accessibility

Database accessibility defines whether the data in the custom module is accessed only by the departments or the entire organization. Data accessibility is categorized into two:  
  • Department-level data storage - This type of storage is useful for organizations where the records are distinct in every department. For example, Vendors, Manufacturers, Products, Authors etc. will be different in every department. A vendor or a manufacturer can be different in each department, so while the records and fields are different in each department, the custom module can be one.  
  • Organization-level data storage - This type of storage is useful to store information that is common across the organization. It can be referred by every department. For eg., employee information, HR policies, Healthcare procedures (eg., X-ray, Scans, Serology tests) etc.  

The table below highlights the difference between the two: 

Department-level data storage 
Organization-level data storage
When to use? 

When multiple departments need similar custom modules but store different datasets. 

For eg., In Bookings module:

  • Reservations department can store flight and hotel reservation details of a customer. 
  • The sales department can keep record of the different packages. 
At the organizational level data storage, If the records are shared throughout the entire organization, selecting organization-level data storage is the appropriate choice.
Why to use? 
Instead of creating separate modules in each department that store similar datasets, a single module with relevant fields can be created. For eg, Vendors module having different vendors in dept A and B. 
Records or datasets of a single module are relevant and common across the organization. For eg., employee details.
No.of layouts
A separate standard layout of the custom module is created in each department. Let's say you have a custom module called "Projects" that is accessible to multiple departments within your organization. Each department has different requirements for the information they need to track and display in the Projects module. Hence, separate layout will be used for different departments.
Common standard layout is created across departments. In a "Tour Packages" custom module, a common set of records is stored and is reflected across the organization. Hence one standard layout will be used.
Standard fields in the custom module will be available in the layout of all departments. Admins can create and customize fields as per their requirement.
Both system and custom field will be available in the layout of all departments.  Admins can create and customize fields as per their requirement.
Record Visibility 
Records will be different for each department.
Records added to the custom module will be visible and accessible to all departments. It implies that the records are accessible to all departments, but it does not necessarily mean they will be shared as read-only. Whether the records can be edited by users from different departments depends on the specific access control settings and permissions configured in the system.

Setting module permission (Profiles)

Restrict module access to selected profiles to ensure only specific users have the appropriate permissions to create, view, and modify the data within these modules. For example, agents with sales representative and operations executive profile can be granted full access to the Tour Packages custom module, enabling them to manage the available tour packages.
  • Once a custom module is created, it cannot be deleted or deactivated.
  • It is not possible to change the Module Data Storage settings once the custom module is created. Hence, choose the options as per your business requirements during the configuration of the custom module.
  • Currently, the default setting for the Accessible for field is set to all departments, making the custom module visible to all departments by default.
  • It is not possible to delete or disable the standard layout within a custom module. 
  • When creating a custom module with Department-level data storage settings, the standard layout comprises default fields such as Department, Layout, the name of the custom module, and the owner of the custom module (record's owner, like an agent). However, in Organization-level data storage, all of these fields, except for the Department field, are considered as default fields.

To create a custom module 

  1. Navigate to Setup  ) > Customization > Modules.
  2. Click New Custom Module from the top-right corner of the page.
  3. On the New Custom Module page, do the following:
    1. Enter the Module Name (Plural and Singular).
    2. Provide a Description.
    3. In Accessible forAll departments will be selected by default. 
    4. In Module Data Storage, select either Department-level data storage or Organization-level data storage.
    5. In Module Permission, select the users who can access the custom module.
  4. Click Save.

  5. Click Save and Go to Layouts to add or edit fields in the layout.

To edit a custom module

  1. Navigate to Setup  ) > Customization > Modules.
  2. Select the desired custom module.
  3. On the Edit Custom Module page, make the necessary edits.
  4. Click Save.

Working with a custom module 

Admins can perform various actions in addition to creating and editing custom modules. These actions include:

  • Show only the necessary modules and hiding any undesired ones from the Organize Modules tab. 
  • Rearrange the modules in the list view by dragging -and-dropping to the desired place.
  • Renaming the modules as required. See also, Organizing and renaming modules in Zoho Desk.

Accessing the Modules List tab allows Admins to directly make changes to the name of custom modules by editing the respective custom module.

Creating records in custom module 

Once a custom module is created, it can be accessed from the top band on the Zoho Desk account.

To create a record 

  1. Navigate to the desired custom module.
  2. Click Add [custom module name] button at the top of the page.

  3. Enter values in the necessary fields.
  4. Click Save.

To edit or delete a record

  1. Select a record from the list.
  2. In the Record detail page, click the More icon and select Edit or Delete
  3. If you choose Edit, make the necessary changes and Save
  4. If you choose Delete, confirm the deletion before deleting the selected record.

Customizing list view  

The are two system-defined views in the custom module that allow the users to easily access the records they want. 

  • All records - Records added by all users.
  • My records - Records added by a user. 


Users can customize the list view by adding or removing columns. 

To customize the list view

  1. Click the desired module from the topband. 
  2. Under Views, select All or My Records and click the  Select Columns icon   ).
  3. Check or uncheck the columns from the displayed list. 
  4. Click Save

Creating field dependencies and setting field permission   

Admins can set access permission for specific fields. For example, policy number can be made accessible to only select insurance agents. Likewise, admins can establish field dependencies, where certain fields rely on others. For example, when selecting a "Country," only the relevant "State" options are displayed. See also: Creating field dependencies and setting field permission.


Establishing relationship between modules 

Lookup fields can be added to the layouts to create a link between modules. This will allow admins or agents to establish a relationship between standard-custom and custom-custom modules.  

For example, Tour Packages can be linked with the standard module Tickets. This will allow the travel agents to access and view the record from either modules. To establish such a relationship, admins can create a custom lookup field in the Tickets layout. 

Once a lookup field is added, a subtab is automatically created in the linked module providing a 360 degree view of the related records. For example, while creating a lookup field a related subtab called Related Tickets can be created. This subtab will be displayed in the Tour packages module. 

From the subtab users can:

  • Associate relevant support tickets with their corresponding tour packages.

  • View all the associated tickets.

  • Disassociate a ticket.

  • Create a new ticket without leaving the current Tour Package record. 
  • Access the record history to view details such as the date and time of the record addition, the individual responsible for the addition, associated IP address information, and the specific action taken, whether it involves adding or updating the record. Additionally, users can selectively display all historical records or focus specifically on changes or additions made by them.

Gaining insights using Analytics module

The analytics module can also be used to examine patterns in concerns or requests related to a specific custom module over time. This allows for a complete analysis of trends, enabling businesses to identify recurrent queries, track changes, and make informed decisions based on historical data. 

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