Notes and note visibility

In this article

Overview of notes
Public notes
Private notes
Restricting the visibility of notes to user groups
Markdown support in notes

Overview of notes

Notes are a useful way of recording appropriate information about a person. Notes can also be added against events, small groups, ministries, bookings and plans. Notes only show within the module in which they were added and are never visible or accessible outside of ChurchSuite in the member-facing My ChurchSuite. In this regard, notes are a feature of your admin-facing ChurchSuite modules and are only visible to users, not members.

By default, Notes are visible to All Users who have permission for the module and site to which the note has been added. However, it is possible to restrict note visibility; either to a specific 'group' of users (and the author) or to make the note private and only visible to the author. Notes are date and time stamped and clearly show who recorded or last edited the note.

From a person's profile page - or when viewing an event, ministry, small group, plan, or booking - you can add a note by typing directly in the Add note box.

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Before saving a note, you can optionally restrict who the note is Visible to - either the default All Users (i.e. all Users with access to the module) or a more private, Just Me. It's also possible to restrict visibility to one or more User Groups (See the related support article for information about adding User Groups). Click Save to add the note.

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You can Pin important notes. Pinned notes remain at the top of the list so that they're more readily seen. You can Unpin a note when it is no longer important; the unpinned note takes its place back in the date order of other notes.

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Each module that supports Notes functionality includes a Notes report that can be filtered for a range of Dates, the note author User and Visible to.

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Public notes

By default, Notes are Visible to All Users. A Note is always linked to the author User, so everyone knows who wrote it. But what does 'All Users' mean? It means every other User with permission for the module in which the note was added. Notes are never visible outside of that module and never visible to members in My ChurchSuite.

All User notes are useful when communicating or dealing with people, enabling teams to work more collaboratively and stay on the same page pastorally, rather than sending inconsistent messages without knowing the full picture. Using the Notes report, located in the Reports section of most modules, you can view all notes for that module - ideal for catching up on what's been happening after a period of absence or leave. You'll only see notes that you're permitted to see!

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Private notes

Private notes can only be seen by the user who wrote them. In other words, if a leader in your organisation adds a private note against an individual in the Address Book, other leaders (indeed no other User or Administrator) will be able to see it and will not even know the note has been made.

Private "Just me" notes are entirely confidential but are also helpful where the note only serves as a personal reminder that will be of no interest to other users. To make a note private, change the Visible to option to Just Me.

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Restricting the visibility of notes to user groups

In addition to private and public notes, you can also restrict visibility to one or more groups of users - User Groups - so that only a user group member can view, edit, delete or pin the note. For example, you might have a "Pastoral Bereavement Team" User Group - comprising all the Users who belong to that team - who add potentially sensitive notes that need to be visible to other members of that pastoral user group but not visible to anyone else. While a private note is visible to a single member (Just me), a restricted note is visible to a group of multiple users. If the user group member list changes over time, only active user group members can see restricted content.

When adding notes, a user will only see User Groups they belong to in the Visible to drop-down list, plus any User Groups that are set visible to all users but that they may not belong to.

Top Tip! Subject Access Requests

It may be helpful to create a dedicated User account for the sole purpose of data protection enquiries, such as Subject Access Requests. Then, by adding that User as a member to all User Groups, you can always produce reports for all notes visible to any user group in the event of a request for information.

Note, this method will not include any private notes set visible to "Just me"; this will require each of your users to provide you with a report of all their "Just me" notes. To clarify - for privacy, security and safeguarding - private notes that are set visible to "Just me" are always and only ever visible to the author - no other user or administrator can access private notes.

Markdown support in notes

More advanced web users may already be familiar with Markdown notation, which is a text-to-HTML conversion language that allows you to type using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, and see it converted into structurally valid HTML. ChurchSuite supports the CommonMark format of Markdown.

Notes throughout ChurchSuite support Markdown notation, enabling you to add customised formatting to your otherwise plain text notes. Here's an example:

In this example, the emboldened blue note title, the emboldened "more info" and the unordered bullet list are all entered in Markdown notation. Here's what the original Markdown notation looks like:

Using the special characters of Markdown notation, you can therefore enhance your notes if you wish. Markdown notation allows the following customised content to be added to your Notes.

  • Headings
  • Block quotes
  • Bold, italics
  • Lists - unordered (bullets), ordered (numbered) and nested (indented)

A full list of CommonMark Markdown notations can be found here. Markdown support only extends to the Notes functionality outlined in this article, and not all CommonMark is supported by ChurchSuite. Rota notes and Service notes are "plain text" fields that store data differently and therefore do not support markdown.

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