I am wondering what the difference between deleting and disabling an activity is? I would like to clean up the activity field options drop down menu to only reflect the ones we would like to continue using without deleting or affecting any of the historical activities associated with the ones we are planning to delete.

Thanks for your help.

3 Answers 3


In general I use this rule of thumb: - the core activity types that I do not use I will disable so I am sure they are still in the system and I do not disrupt anything without meaning to - if I added my own activity types and I know I no longer need them and have no active activity of that type in the system I delete the activity type

Disabling is certainly the safest option!

  • Thank you! Now is there a way to disable activity types that are dont have the option to disable or delete (basically built in ones) so they don't show up?
    – Gina
    Mar 31, 2016 at 19:32

Disabling the activity is what you want. That removes an activity as a live option moving forward, but maintains the historical data.

Deleting the activity removes it as an option and erases the historical data.

  • what is the best way to disable core activities types that are enabled by default and has no option to disable from the UI, example Inbound Email?
    – Kboy
    Mar 31, 2016 at 21:52
  • You could try to disable in the database, but if they are reserved (you can not change in the UI) it usually has a reason....so test carefully. Apr 1, 2016 at 13:04
  • @Erikh, can you help me the db command to disable this activity types? how will this affect upgrades if it is disabled in the database?
    – Kboy
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:06
  • see my new answer Feb 7, 2017 at 7:56

you will have to check the table civicrm_option_value with option_group_id 2 (activity type). The query to find them would be:

SELECT * FROM civicrm_option_value WHERE option_group_id = 2

To be safe, I would check for the ones you were looking for if the is_reserved column is set to 1, and if so, change it to 0. The query to do that would be (using the id column):

UPDATE civicrm_option_value SET is_reserved = 0 WHERE id = 12345

You should then be able to remove them in the UI. All this based on the assumption that this is the problem! If not, you would have to check for other causes.


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