Adding Apps - Use custom expressions as Name ID for SAML apps | Admin Guide - Zoho One

Use custom expressions as Name ID for SAML apps

Once you enable and configure SAML SSO for your apps in Zoho One, Zoho One will authenticate your users into those apps. During authentication, Zoho One will pass a value called Name ID to the apps. The Name ID matches user identities in Zoho One with user identities in the app.

Consider a user, Amelia, has an email address and a bank account number 123******47. Let's say a banking app, BankApp, requires users to enter their account number as the username when signing in. In other words, BankApp uses 123******47 to identify Amelia instead of using

Normally, when SAML SSO is configured between Zoho One and an app, Zoho One will pass the email address of the users as Name ID. However, BankApp is expecting an account number, not an email address; if is passed to BankApp as Name ID, BankApp will show an error saying that it wasn't able to find any user whose account number is So the admin who sets up SSO will have to configure Zoho One to pass the account number to BankApp as Name ID.

As the Name ID needs to be unique, most apps use the user's primary email address as Name ID. But you can also define other user information (such as first and last names, or any custom fields that you have created for them) as the Name ID. This can be useful in cases where the app doesn't support email address as username, or in apps you've developed and implemented to use non-conventional authentication methods.

To change the Name ID for an app:
  1. Sign in to Zoho One , then click Directory in the left menu.
  2. Go to Applications, then click on the app you want to change the Name ID for.
  3. Go to Single Sign-On, then click Service Provider Details.
  4. Under Credentials Details, you can set:
    1. Application Username: The field that has to be passed to the app as username.
    2. Name ID format: The format in which the username should be passed.
  5. Click Save.
For advanced requirements, you can set the Application Username as a custom expression constructed as a combination of multiple fields. These expressions can be constructed using string manipulation methods on various fields in Zoho One.

The custom expression must be written in the following format:

The custom Name ID screen

For example, an organization may have a custom-built application that uses a combination of the user's email username and employee ID as the username. So, a Zoho One user with the email address and an employee ID of 7469 will use amelia-7469 as the username for the custom-built application. In this case, the admin would set the Name ID format as Unspecified, the Application Username as Custom, and the Expression Value as:
String.append(String.replace(,"","-"),user.Employee ID)

Here's how the expression works:
  1. String.replace will be executed first. It replaces the email domain of the user ( with a hyphen, converting to amelia-.
  2. String.append will be executed next, and it attaches the employee ID (7469) to the end of the output we got in the previous step (amelia-). So the final Application Username passed to the app would be amelia-7469.
The following table lists the fields that you can use to construct these expressions, and their corresponding formats:

Field name
First name
Last name
Primary email address
Full name
Any custom fields' information
user.<custom field>
Example: For a field named Vehicle Number , the format would be user.Vehicle Number.

The string methods that you can use to construct expressions are:

String methods
Expression format
Adds <string_to_be_appended> to the end of the <string>.
String.append(user.firstName,user.Employee ID)

The value in the user's "Employee ID" field will be appended with the user's first name. If a user's first name is "Amelia" and employee ID is "7469," then the value will be "Amelia7469".
Index Of
Returns the position of the first instance of the given character in the <string>.
String. indexOf(user.firstName,"o")

Returns the position of the first instance of the character "o" within the user's first name. If a user's first name is "Johnson", then the position of the first occurrence of the character "o" will be returned, which is 2.
Replaces all occurrences of <string_to_be_removed> in the <string> with <string_to_be_placed>.

All the occurrences of "e" will be replaced by "a". If a user's first name is "Ellen", then all occurrences of the character "e" in the name will be replaced by "a", giving " Allan" as the output.
Replace First
Replaces the first occurrence of <string_to_be_removed> in the <string> with <string_to_be_placed>.

The first occurrence of "e" will be replaced by "a". If a user's first name is "Ellen", then the first occurrence of the character "e" in the name will be replaced by "a", giving "Allen" as the output.
Fetches the part of the <string> that is specified by the indexes.

The first and second characters from the user's first name will be fetched. If a user's first name is "John", then the string "Jo" will be returned.
To Lower Case
Converts all characters in the given string to lower case.

The characters in the user's first name will be converted to lower case. If a user's first name is "John", "john" will be returned.
To Upper Case
Converts all characters in the given string to upper case.

The characters in the user's first name will be converted to upper case. If a user's first name is "John", then "JOHN" will be returned.
Removes leading and trailing spaces in the given string. Can be used to sanitize fields that might have typos, or strings that were derived using other methods like substring.

The blank spaces, if any, will be removed. For example, if the full name of a user is " Johnson Doe", then the space before "Johnson" will be removed, and "Johnson Doe" will be returned.

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