How to change a field type in a Webflow collection

May 17, 2022

Imagine you want to change a field type in the collection settings of a collection in Webflow. For example, imagine you have a single reference field in Webflow, but you want it to now be a multi-reference field.

Unfortunately, that's not natively supported by Webflow. But, there's a simple workaround, using Parabola.

For example, in my DC Tech Jobs collection, I have a reference field called "Remote reference". (As an aside, I'm using a reference field here instead of an option set because that allows for better filtering with Jetboost or Attributes by Finsweet). So, when creating a job record in the Jobs Collection, I'd set the field to reference either the "Remote" record or the "Not remote" record in the "Remotes" collection.

However, when you're using the CMS Nest attribute from Finsweet, you need your nested collections to be multi-reference fields.

So, I needed to change field types. As that's not exactly possible, I needed to create a multi-reference field for "Remotes" in the "Jobs" collection which would take the place of the existing single-reference field.

But, I don't want to have to go back and manually set the new multi-reference field in each Job record.

I want to just move the data in the "Remotes" single reference field to the "Remotes" multi-reference field.

How to (effectively) change a field type in a Webflow collection

Right now, it's not possible to change an existing field type in a collection to another field type. Instead, you can just delete / add field types and then manually copy/paste data.

But copying and pasting sucks.

Luckily, we can use Parabola to pipe all of the data stored in our former field type and push it into my newly created field. My use case can serve as a good example.

You can see exactly the flow I created, with the settings of the steps, below.

1. Add the new field type (for me, a multi-reference field) to your collection, in Webflow.

2. Open a new flow in Parabola.

3. Pull in your collection with a "Pull from Webflow" step.

4. (Optional) Set up a filter so you're only updating the items you want to update (in my case, I only care about updating "live" jobs. Plus, I want to make sure that my original field actually has a value and that my new field does not).

5. (Optional) Select only the columns you need.

6. Set up a "Send to Webflow" step to update the new field in the the items in your target collection.

This means you need to map the item ID from your "Pull from Webflow" step to be the item ID Parabola will use for updating, and set your new field's value to be your old field's value.

Up close, that looks like this:

And that's it.

Your new field will contain the value of your old field.

If you then delete your old field, you've effectively changed the type of field in a collection in Webflow. (Always be careful before deleting fields).

Need a Parabola expert or a Webflow expert? Get in touch.

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