Documentation for JIRA 4.0. Documentation for other versions of JIRA is available too.

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You generally can't shift between custom field types since the data type they store may not match.

Having said that, certain fields can be safely upgraded, such as Version and Select lists to their multiple values counterpart. You can change the "customfieldtypekey" in the "customfield" table to whatever you need it to be. The table below lists the keys for commonly changed fields.

Custom Field Type

Type Key

Single Version


Multi Version


Single Select


Multi Select


Multi User


When moving back from a multi select list a select list, you have to make sure that only one item is selected for each multi select list.

When moving from multi-select to multi-user, you *have to ensure that each select-list value is a username (userbase.username value).

For select lists, you also need to update the "customfieldsearcherkey" field to use an appropriate searcher:

  • For multi-selects, it is "com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.customfieldtypes:multiselectsearcher"
  • For select lists, use "com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.customfieldtypes:selectsearcher"
  • For multi-user pickers, use "com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.customfieldtypes:userpickersearcher"


For example if you want to update all the version custom fields to become multiple version custom fields, you can use the SQL below.

Or if you wanted to convert multi-select-list custom field to a multi-user custom field, first check that all custom field values map to users:

Then you can change the custom field type:

Or if you wanted to convert text-field custom field to a free-text-field(unlimited text) custom field, first assign the value from stringvalue field to textvalue:

Then, change the custom field type by updating the customfield table as below:

Restart JIRA. Then reindex (Administration -> Indexing) to update the search index.

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