Profile Questions

  • The “Profile Questions” page in the Admin panel is where you can create and manage your list of Profile Questions that members will be asked to fill out when joining your site. By default, SocialEngine comes pre-loaded with a single Profile Type and several default Profile Questions. This article will show you how to add and manage Profile Types, and how to create and manage Profile Questions. If you are looking for details on mapping Profile Types with Member Levels, please see the Member Levels document.

    To get to the “Profile Questions” page in your Admin panel, navigate to Settings > Profile Questions.

    Use the drop-down to select which Profile Type to edit - by default, there will be only one Profile Type, "Regular Member".

    Profile Types

    Creating different Profile Types allows you to have different sets of Profile Questions depending on which Profile Type is chosen upon signup. One example of a situation where this would be useful is if you had a network for "Fans" and "Musicians". "Fans" might have a "First Name" and a "Last Name" but you might want "Musicians" to fill out a "Band/Artist Name" instead.

    Creating a Profile Type

    1. To create a new Profile Type, click the "Create New Profile Type" link.
    2. A popup will open prompting you to label the Profile Type. If you want to duplicate a Profile Type that already exists (so you don't have to start completely from scratch), choose one from the drop down menu. If you want to start with a completely blank set of questions, select the "No, Create Blank Profile Type" option. Then click the "Add Profile Type" button.
    3. Once your Profile Type is created, you'll be able to select it from the drop-down at the top of the Profile Questions page and add headings and questions to it. See below for instructions for how to do that.

    Renaming a Profile Type

    1. To rename a Profile Type, select it from the drop-down at the top of the Profile Questions page. 
    2. Once the Profile Type loads, click the "Rename Profile Type" link.
    3. Enter a new title for this Member Type. Save your change by clicking the "Edit Profile Type" button in the popup.

    Deleting a Profile Type

    1. To delete a Profile Type, select it from the drop-down at the top of the Profile Questions page. Click the "Delete Profile Type" link
    2. Click “Delete Profile Type” when the alert pops up. **Note that any members who have selected this Profile Type will be forced to select a new Profile Type the next time they edit their profile.


    Headings allow you to separate your Profile Questions into different sections. The Headings that come by default with SocialEngine are "Personal Information", "Contact Information", and "Personal Details". They are represented in a block with a green background.

    Here is what the "Edit Profile" area in the member section looks like - note the Headings “Personal Information”, “Contact Information”, and “Personal Details”:

    Creating a New Heading

    1. To create a new Heading, select the Profile Type that you want to add a Heading to, and click the "Add Heading" link.
    2. Enter a “Heading Name”. Select whether you want the Heading to show on the Member Profile page and when a member signs up. Click “Add Heading” to save your Heading. 

    Show on Member Profiles

    If you select "Show on Member Profiles" , the Header will show when viewing the Member's Profile page. Selecting "Hide on Member Profiles" will show questions under this Heading, however, it will not display the Header on the Member’s Profile page.

    Show on Signup/Creation

    Selecting "Show on signup/creation" will show the Heading on the registration page during the profile creation stage when a member tries to sign up for the site. Selecting "Hide on signup/creation" will show the questions under this Heading, however, it will not display the Header on the registration page.

    Editing a Heading

    Clicking the "Edit" link next to the Heading's name will allow you to rename the Heading, and choose whether to display the Heading on the Member Profile page and during signup.

    Don't forget to click the "Save Heading" button in the popup to save your changes.

    Headings can be re-ordered by clicking on the icon to the left of their names and dragging-and-dropping them up or down.

    Deleting a Heading

    To delete a Heading, simply click the "Delete" link next to the Heading's name, and press OK when the confirmation prompt pops up. Note that deleting a Heading will not delete the Profile Questions beneath it.

    Profile Questions

    Profile Questions are the "bread and butter" of your Members' Profile pages. By default, SocialEngine comes with several standard questions, such as "First Name", "Last Name", and "Birthday".

    Creating a new Question

    1. To create a new Profile Question, select the Profile Type you want to add a question for, and click the "Add Question" link.
    2. You should see a popup like the one below:
    3. You can choose to either create a new Profile Question, or duplicate an existing question. Why would you want to choose an existing question? Well, suppose you had two Profile Types, and you wanted them both to have a "First Name" field. Should you choose to display that field on your Browse Members page, you will want the system to know that a search for "John" in the first name field should bring up search results from BOTH user types. This can only happen if the two fields are linked. A good rule of thumb is, if an identical field exists in a different Profile Type, select "Duplicate Existing" - if not, you should select "Create New".

    If you've chosen to "Duplicate Existing", you simply need to select the question you want to duplicate, and click "Save Question" - all done!

    Question Type

    If you've decided to create a new question, you now have to contend with the "Question Type" field.

    This field contains two types of options - generic and specific profile question types. Generic types, such as "Single-line Text Input" have no special features - they simply will display that specific type of field on the member's Edit Profile page.

    Specific types, however, are much more interesting! Many have special features specific to that type of field. For example, the "First Name" field and the "Last Name" field, will automatically become the member's display name in the system if they exist . Twitter and Facebook types will automatically link the member's Twitter/Facebook handles to their page. Other specific profile types come pre-populated with options (such as Gender or Country) so that you don't have to add them manually.

    Question Label

    Once you have selected the Question Type, you can enter a Label for your question.


    Next is a description for your question so you can add more details for your members to know what it’s for..

    The description will only show up when a member is signing up or editing their profile as shown below:

    Inline CSS

    You can provide a CSS class to the question so that you can style specific questions differently. You will need to define this class either in the source code or one of the CSS files editable in the Theme Editor.

    Custom Error Message

    Your Custom Error Message will display when there is an error with the question such as when the member leaves a required question blank.


    You can select whether the Profile Question should be required or not and whether it should be displayed during signup or not.

    Show on Browse Members Page?

    If you choose to show the question on the Browse Members page, you will be able to filter your members by that question in the browse page search area.

    Note that if you have several Profile Types, the questions will be hidden on the browse page until a Profile Type is selected - if you would prefer that the question is visible regardless of Profile Type (for example, the First Name field), select "Show when no profile type has been selected".

    Also note that if you initially do not want to make this question searchable and then later decide to Show it on Browse Members page, you will need to rebuild your search index by having all existing members of this Profile Type click on "Save" on their Edit Profile Page. Until they have clicked on Save existing members will not show up when filtering your search with this Profile Question.

    Show on Members Profiles?

    You can choose whether the question should be visible on the member’s profile page. Two of the three options are self-explanatory, but the third, "Show on Member Profiles (with links)" may be a bit confusing. Select this option if the field will be a comma-delimited list (such as "Favorite Books"). Each of the options will then be linked to a page that displays all of the other members who have given that same answer, however it will only link to one item, therefore multiple inputs will not be linked. NOTE: SHOW ON MEMBER PROFILES (WITH LINKS) OPTION WILL ONLY WORK IF YOU HAVE SELECTED "SHOW ON BROWSE MEMBERS" OPTION FOR THIS FIELD.

    Show on Signup/Creation?

    Lastly you can choose whether or not you want this question to show up on the registration page when a new member is signing up for your site.

    Minimum Age

    You can choose the minimum age that shows to select from (available for the Birth date setting).

    Make this single select question a multiple select within browse members?

    This option allows you to enable the multi-search feature for Gender and Radio Buttons profile question types.

    Once you're done filling out the form, click "Save Question" to save your new Profile Question.

    Adding Choices to a Profile Question

    You may have a few Profile Questions for which you will need to add more choices. For example, if you've created a Select Box type of Profile Question, you'll need to specify the options for the select box. To do this, click the "Edit Choices" link beneath the name of the Profile Question in the list.

    Adding a Dependent Question

    Occasionally, you may want to have a Profile Question dependent on an option being selected. For example, you might have a question "How did you hear about our site?". Your options might include "Friend Referral", "Google", "Blog Article", and "Other". If the member selects "Other", you may want a text input to appear to allow them to enter custom text.

    1. To do this, click "Edit Choices" for the relevant profile question.
    2. Click on the label for the choice you want to add a dependent field to (for example "Other"). 
    3. When you do this, text similar to the following will appear beneath the question: "These extra questions appear when "Other" is selected for "How did you hear about our site?"." Click the link beneath that text to "Add Question".
    4. Follow the question creation steps outlined above to add the dependent field.

    Clicking the "Hide Questions" link will hide the dependent questions. To display them again, simply click "Edit Choices" and then on the choice associated with the dependent question.

    Editing a Profile Question

    Editing a Profile Question is much the same as adding one. The form will look nearly identical, but you won't have the option to select from an existing question.

    Profile Questions can be re-ordered by clicking on the icons next to their names and dragging-and-dropping them up or down in the list just the same way you re-order Headings.

    Deleting a Profile Question

    To delete a Profile Question, simply click the "Delete" link next to the question's name, and press OK when the confirmation prompt pops up.

    Great work with Profile Questions! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need further tutorials. Visit our community to have more interactions with us and other clients or third party developers. We’d love to see you there!