I am working on importing information from our current donor database to Civi. Is there a table that lists the field names within each table and an explanation of what that is? Specifically I am looking at ContributionRecur entity and I would like an explanation of the fields beyond the field name that's in one place. Ideally each entity would have something like that.

I have looked in the User Guide but I can't find that sort of thing. Can anyone point me as to where it would be ?


One way is to use the API Explorer.

Here's a demo of how it shows you field comments:

Api Explorer


One way is to look in the MySQL database directly, if you have access to it. Each table is defined with comments for most of the columns, and I have found them to be quite useful.

A great way to inspect the databse directly is to use MySQL Workbench. You can right click on the table and choose Table inspector. Here's a screenshot of it which demonstrates its ability to display field comments...

Table inspector

Other database inspection tools like phpMyAdmin should have similar functionality.


One way is to look at the XML schema definitions in the source code. Here is an example of this for ContributionRecur.

To make sense of this code though, you need to read that XML. Look for the <field> tags. For example you can see that the field named frequency_interval has a <comment> tag which says "Number of time units for recurrence of payment.". There's also an explaination of what all those XML tags mean.


I assume there is a question behind this question: what should I put where? I am doubtfull if an answer to your question on a list of fields will solve that for you. If my assumption is correct it might be an idea to create some user stories of what you want to achieve rather than look at a list of fields?

  • I am working on importing data from current database to CiviCRM and it would be very useful if we had some info what the CiviCRM fields were for beyond just the name,
    – chrisfs
    Jul 12 '17 at 21:56

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