How to Dispatch using Reference Data

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Reference Data is a great time saving feature not only in the field but in the office as well. You can use your reference data when creating a dispatch to save time and prevent sending inaccurate data to the field.

Where to Turn it On

First you need to enable dispatch with reference data for your form. 

1. On the Forms page, click on the name of the form for which you want to enable the feature. 

2. Under Settings, find Dispatch and click the Settings button.


3. Click the box next to Use Reference Data in the Dispatch Manager with this form. 


4. Select Save.

Using Reference Data when Creating a Dispatch

Like with other fields in your form, using reference data when creating a dispatch will behave similarly to how it works on your mobile device. 


Limits to Using Reference Data when Creating a Dispatch

There are some tricks and limitations to using reference data when creating a dispatch:

  • File size: there's not a hard file size limit, but having a lot of reference data dispatched within a single form may cause page load times to increase, the process to time out, or other issues. 
  • Static text: Static Text fields powered by reference data will not display when creating a dispatch.
  • Show duplicates: Duplicates will not show in the dropdown when creating a dispatch.
  • Checkbox backdoor: The checkbox backdoor will display as a dropdown when creating a dispatch.
  • Grouped Reference Data: Reference data that is divided into User Groups will not be available when creating a dispatch.
  • Read only: Whatever is typed when creating a dispatch will show on mobile, overwriting any defaults or auto-captured data. 
  • Pre-populated grids: Information written into a pre-populated grid when creating a dispatch will overwrite the pre-populated data in the submission. 

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  • Since the change, I have to open all my apps in the app builder and uncheck the show duplicates box in every field using reference data, save, and re-publish.. 

  • Had to reset all my fields to look at the correct reference data column too.. :(  This might have been due to Department creation.. Not sure.

    (Edited )
  • Hi Keith,

    I'm sorry to hear you had issues with this. For the show dupes, is that something you guys need to have (that is, was there a reason it was on in the first place?). If so, that would be a feature request. For the second, were the fields referencing user names? That could definitely be a department thing. Let me know if you'd like me to have support look into it though. Thanks!

  • I was trying to create a dispatch using the workflow and dispatch manager (without uploading using a csv). I could not select anything from dropdowns when I was creating the dispatch. The new option "would you like to use reference data was asked" and I said yes. However, in the fields with drop downs it said something like "Can't perform this with allow duplicates checked" paraphrasing...  It told me exactly what the problem was. In the app builder, all my fields that utilized reference data had the "allow duplicates" block checked. When I originally built all these apps I don't remember ever seeing that before. Maybe it was there..

    Way back when, I would always have the drop downs lists in the app filled out instead of using the reference data so I could have the choices available to dispatch. I remember having a conversation with Troy a long while back about not using Reference Data just because of this.

    In any case, I am really glad the reference data is now available for creating dispatches. Great job! Thank you to everyone at GoCanvas for making it a reality!  GoCanvas has come such a long way!

  • Thanks for clarifying, Keith. The allow/remove duplicates was a feature added a little while back, so that makes sense that it wasn't an active choice you made. This is good feedback for how we roll these things out - we may not have accounted for the connection between these two features. Thanks!

  • I have reference data on by dispatch form but i do not want to person receiving the dispatch to change the fields already populated in the form.  All of the reference fields I changed to Read only but the first drop down line will not let me change to ready only. 

  • Hi there,

    If you're always going to be dispatching to that field, you could change it from a drop down to a short text field, which you could then make read only. Would that work for your use case?