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REDCap Tip of the Month: Custom-Numbering for Records

REDCap projects by default are set to automatically assign a unique number to each record upon record creation. This is useful for projects that do not need the record number or for projects that would prefer to have REDCap assign this value. However, many research studies have their own unique identifiers for participants (MRN, study ID, acrostic, etc.) and prefer to use this as the identifier in REDCap as well. By turning off the auto-numbering feature, users can opt to assign the record ID number themselves.

How do I enable custom-numbering for records?

Navigate to the Project Setup page within your project, and scroll down to the section that reads, “Enable optional modules and customizations.” The second option from the top says, “Auto-numbering for records.” This option is automatically enabled. Select the “Disable” button to the left of the text.


Once you have disabled auto-numbering, navigate to the “Add/Edit Records” page to add a new record. You will notice that now, instead of an “Add new record” button, you will see a textbox where you can enter a new or existing record ID. Entering an existing record ID will pull up that record. Entering a new record ID will create a new record in your project. Simply type the record ID number you wish to assign and hit ENTER on your keyboard.


Note: You may also change the field label and variable name of the “Record ID” field if you would like for it to be a Study ID, MRN, or Acrostic. This can be done from within the Online Designer by editing the Record ID field just as you would any other project field.