What is a Text Area Field?

Since I come from a Microsoft CRM / Dynamics 365 background I am still learning about the Maker Portal. So the other day, when my team mentioned the text area field I was curious what this was and how it was different from Multiple lines of Text.

So, let’s do a quick comparison of the Text, Text Area and Multiline Text fields to see the differences.

Comparison of Text, Text Area, and Multiple Lines of Text Fields
Here you can see the 3 text field types we are discussing and how they appear differently on the form: Text, Text Area, Multiple Lines of Text

Text

Text fields are our traditional Single Line of Text. They show up as a single line and are generally reserved for shorted items. You cannot enter multiple line (you can’t press enter).

Field TypeText
Classic Interface TypeSingle Line of Text
FormattingSingle Line
Default Length100
Max Length4,000

Text Area

Text Area fields are still Single Line of Text but you can enter on multiple lines (not confusing at all). This should still be used for smaller pieces of data but it could be displayed across multiple lines and you have the option to increase the height of the field on the form.

Field TypeText Area
Classic Interface TypeSingle Line of Text
FormattingSingle or Multi-line, scroll bars if longer
Default Length100
Max Length4,000

Multiline Text

Multiline Text (or formerly Multiple Lines of Text) is for storing larger bodies of text. You can format it to show multiple lines and a scroll bar will appear as needed.

UPDATE: George Doubinski provided some extra insight in that the Multiline Text was also formerly known as a Memo field back in the day. You can also see this on the Microsoft Documentation for CDS Field Data Types as the Multiline Text API Name is MemoType.

Field TypeMutliline Text
Classic Interface TypeMultiple Lines of Text
FormattingSingle or Multi-line, scroll bars if longer
Default Length2,000
Max Length1,048,576 (Please don’t do this!)

Summary

From my investigation, the Text Area field is primarily for small pieces of text data where you may want it to appear on multiple line for readability.

Keep in mind that every field type does have an underlying impact on how data is stored in the database and the amount of space it takes up. I would recommend you evaluate the type of data you expect to store before determining the field type to use. For example, if you want to store a description of around 4,000 characters – you could to this in a Text Area but long term it may be more beneficial to use a Multiline Text field.

How are you using the Text Area fields? Are there other field types you are looking for more information on?

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