My company does not make use of many of the fields provided by civicrm. Our users told me the sheer mass of empty fields is overwhelming them.

I know I could walk the hide-by-jquery-to-death way, but:

Is there a designated or recommended way to disable or hide civi core fields like "nickname" or "legal_name"?

  • Now 2018, going into 2019, still no answer on that feature? – Bruno Vincent Jul 21 '18 at 2:37
  • civicrm is largely built by the community - if the community have not provided a feature you want then perhaps not many folk are fussed enough to put together a solution. Hmm just remembered about the new extension so have added an answer – petednz - fuzion Jul 21 '18 at 4:31

The "hide-by-jquery-to-death" way is the way to go for now. (Great name :) )

There are discussions to do that via the web interface in a future version, but that's not there yet.

  • Yap. I'm afraid, you're right. – nielo Feb 9 '16 at 13:14

You can hide some of them via the UI at Administer > Customize Data and Screens > Display Preferences

e.g. http://d46.demo.civicrm.org/civicrm/admin/setting/preferences/display?reset=1

Display Preferences


The new Extension called Contact Summary Layout Editor is a new tool that may help folk dealing with this type of problem


I believe you can create a modified version of the default contact page templates as described here.

Excerpt from that page:

These steps are for any "built-in" screen (e.g. the Contact Summary screen)...

  • Navigate to the screen you want to customize and use your browser to View Source.
  • Search for ".tpl" in the source. You will find a comment line which gives you the path and name of the template used for the screen you are viewing.

<!-- .tpl file invoked: CRM/Contact/Page/View/Summary.tpl. Call via form.tpl if we have a form in the page. -->

  • Locate this file on your server under your ../civicrm/templates path. Make a copy of file in the equivalent path under your new custom templates directory.

  • Edit the file as needed and save.

  • Then clean-up the compiled templates directory, usually by deleting all the directories under your templates_c directory. You can also do the cleanup by enabling CiviCRM debugging and running the directory cleanup command. (NOTE: You do NOT need to delete the standard version of the template from your main CiviCRM codebase. CiviCRM will look for a customized version first, and use that one if found.)
  • You should see your modified version when you reload the CiviCRM screen. If you need help with the templating language, check out the Smarty Documentation
  • Thanks. Maybe I'll do this at some places but because those fields happen to be displayed in various contexts I hope with js/jquery I'll be able to catch some more occurences in a single place. – nielo Feb 9 '16 at 13:14

Some example code if you want to remove certain elements on the contact add and edit forms:

 * Implements hook_civicrm_buildForm().
 * Changes some fields on the add and update contact forms
 * @param string $formName
 * @param CRM_Core_Form $form
function MODULE_civicrm_buildForm($formName, &$form) {
  // print_r($formName);
  if ($formName == 'CRM_Contact_Form_Contact') {
    if (($form->getAction() == CRM_Core_Action::ADD) || ($form->getAction() == CRM_Core_Action::UPDATE)) {
      // print_r($form);
      // Add a javascript file for changes in display

      // Remove field override geocoding
      for ($i = 0; $i <= 5; $i++) {
        if ($form->elementExists('address[' . $i . '][manual_geo_code]')) {
          $form->removeElement('address[' . $i . '][manual_geo_code]');
          // $element = &$form->getElement('address[1][manual_geo_code]');
          // crm_Core_error::debug( 'options', $element->_options );
          // also you can add new options w/ $element->addOption( );

      // Remove field signature text
      for ($i = 0; $i <= 5; $i++) {
        if ($form->elementExists('email[' . $i . '][signature_text]')) {
          $form->removeElement('email[' . $i . '][signature_text]');

      // Remove field signature html
      for ($i = 0; $i <= 5; $i++) {
        if ($form->elementExists('email[' . $i . '][signature_html]')) {
          $form->removeElement('email[' . $i . '][signature_html]');

      // Remove field external id
      if ($form->elementExists('external_identifier')) {

      // Remove field nickname
      if ($form->elementExists('nick_name')) {

      if ($form->getAction() == CRM_Core_Action::ADD) {
        // we can get the contact type from the url ct parameter: Individual/household/organisation
        $contactType = CRM_Utils_Array::value('ct', $_GET, '0');

      elseif ($form->getAction() == CRM_Core_Action::UPDATE) {
        // there is no info in the url so we need to use the contact id and check
        $contactId = CRM_Utils_Array::value('cid', $_GET, '0');
        if ($contactId != 0) {
          $contactType = CRM_Contact_BAO_Contact::getContactType($contactId);
          // $subType = CRM_Contact_BAO_Contact::getContactSubType($contactId);

      // Household
      if ($contactType == 'Household') {
        // Remove custom block
        // Remove custom block
        // Change label of household name
        if ($form->elementExists('household_name')) {
          $element = &$form->getElement('household_name');
          $element->setLabel('NEW LABEL');
      elseif ($contactType == 'Organization') {
        // Remove custom block
        // Remove custom block
        if ($form->elementExists('sic_code')) {
      else {
        // Individual
  • Thanks. Unfortunately I'm afraid that this is too much afford if we take the frontend migration plans of civicrm into account. – nielo Sep 17 '20 at 17:56
  • I'm not sure what you mean with "too much effort". First: this code does a lot more than just remove a simple "nickname" field. Second: the effort of writing code becomes very little once you know how to do it and I think this is a nice example how to do it in a way that targets in a futureproof way the right fields without creating issues with future upgrades of civi. – Hans Rossel Sep 18 '20 at 19:30
  • I'm sorry, I did not want to question your approach in general. It's just I'm not trusting this old form builder stuff to be future proof. – nielo Sep 21 '20 at 7:33

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