I have a search page set up with a shortcode like this:

[civicrm component="profile" gid="18" mode="search" hijack="0"]

Everything seems to be working except that searching on a custom data field, "Certification," generally isn't working.

None of the other search fields are custom fields. Don't know if that relates to the problem.

------ new material below, added in response to comments -----

"Certification" is a text field and is set to "Searchable."

Some examples of content for the "Certification" field are shown below. I would expect that I could search on any string within any of these (e.g. Curr or Curriculum or Teac or Teacher). None of those work. Even searching on a complete entry like Coach, Trainer/Teacher, Curriculum Instructor doesn't work. The only one I've found that works is Coach -- I'm guessing because that is a complete entry with no commas? Perhaps the commas are causing the problem?

I'm realizing that this data was imported into a CiviCRM text field from a multiple-select field in another database. There were four options in the other database: Coach, Trainer/Teacher, Curriculum Instructor, and Mediator. I'm thinking I need to change or move this into a multiple-select field in CiviCRM. Not sure what the best/easiest way to do that is.

certification examples

Wordpress 4.7.5 CiviCRM 4.7.17

  • 1
    Please confirm that your Custom Field is set to be Searchable
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 2:18
  • 1
    Also give us a hint as to what value in 'certification' should deliver a result
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 2:19
  • Actually found one search that works. See material added at the end of the post. Commented May 25, 2017 at 3:17
  • have you tried searching for coac%? seems to work for me. % is the wildcard character to use in civicrm searching
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


I would recommend changing the certification field into a multi-select. That way the search field will be a drop down and much easier for the end user. I had to do this recently. Here are the steps I took:

  • Create a new multi select custom field.
  • Make sure the values match the entries from the previous field to avoid errors in the next step.
  • Export the records with the current custom field. Make sure to include the contact ID
  • Now do a import updating the new custom field with the data from the old one.

These are the steps I took recently. Looks like you only have about 100 records in this group so it should work fine.

  • So export and import I do with SQL commands? Commented May 26, 2017 at 16:38
  • Okay, I get it. Not SQL. I used CiviCRM contact export and import. And it worked brilliantly. Thank you! Commented May 27, 2017 at 21:36

% is the wildcard character to use in civicrm searching. searching for coac%? seems to work for me.

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