Picklists allow users to select the value for a field from a range of predefined options. Sometimes, that list is a fixed set of options (months, for example), but sometimes the list should change based on the selected value for another field (the list of countries available after selecting “North America” as the region, for example). Dependent picklists allow you to configure a picklist to show a subset of the available values depending on the value of another field. You can also configure dependent picklists for objects.

Dependent picklists are a powerful configuration option and should be carefully mapped out during the design phase to ensure easy maintenance. Once implemented, this option can make field entry simpler and more consistent for users.

About Dependent Picklist Configuration

You can initially configure dependent picklists like any other picklist by including the complete set of available values. Later, you can set up rules defining when certain values are available from the Field Dependencies area.

Rules for dependent picklists are configurable in the same way as any other dependent field, but when defining the action part of the rule, you can specify a set of picklist values instead of behaviors like hidden and required. Unlike dependent fields, more than one field and rule can control the picklist values. If conditions for more than one rule are met, Vault displays all values (the “union”) from those rules in the picklist.

Accessing Dependent Picklist Rules

You can manage picklist dependency rules from Admin > Configuration > Field Dependencies. This page lists all dependency rules defined for the Vault, including for picklist fields. The Condition column displays the controlling field and the Action column displays all associated actions. Picklist rules show “Picklist” before the field name in the Action column.

From this page, you can click Export to Excel in order to export all field dependencies and sort through the details offline.

To manage dependencies, you must have a security profile with the Field Dependencies permissions.

Adding Dependent Picklist Conditions

You set up the controlling part of the rule (condition) in the same manner as if this was a regular dependent field.

Once you have defined the controlling field rule, define the picklist:

  1. Select Picklist as the rule type.
  2. Select the picklist to control. This list includes all picklists available for the selected document type, unless the picklist is required or used as the controlling field for this rule.
  3. Specify the values to display in the picklist by clicking in the field and selecting from the list of all defined values for the picklist. You can select any number of items to display.
  4. Click the + icon at the right side of the rule to add another dependent field or picklist. When more than one action is listed, you can click the - icon to remove the action.
  5. When complete, click Save. Rules take effect immediately upon saving.

Multi-Select Picklists as Controlling Fields

You can create multiple dependent picklist rules using the same multi-select picklist as the controlling field. In the example below, the Audience picklist controls the Branding picklist.

If a user selects two values in the controlling picklist and each value has a dependency rule configured, the dependent picklist shows the available values for both rules. The image below shows the behavior related to the above example.

Maintaining Dependent Picklist Rules

To update an existing rule, navigate to the Field Dependencies page and click on a rule. You can update the values associated with the controlling field and change the associated actions. All rule updates take effect immediately upon saving.

Viewing Where Rules are Used

If your Vault has a lot of field dependencies, it is important to get a “big picture” view of all the rules so that you can see how they interact. In addition to viewing rules on the Field Dependencies page, the field details page also shows all rules where that field is either a controlling or dependent field. Navigate to Admin > Configuration > Document Fields and open the field details page.

Rules in Action

Once the rules are defined, they will control the appearance and behavior of fields on the Doc Info page and the workflow start dialog.