Customizing Drop-Down Menus

One of the most valuable features in Pontem’s Cemetery Data Manager software is the ability to create pre-defined lists which aid in data entry speed and precision. We refer to these customizable lists as user-defined drop-down menus.  This allows customers to create unique options appropriate to their organization’s needs.

This article will describe:



Most of the drop-down fields are identified by an arrow to the right-hand side of the field, as displayed below:




As part of the initial setup and configuration of your Pontem Cemetery Data Manager software, you should customize the drop-down menu options for various fields that are contained in the program. These changes are system-wide and not specific to any one user of the software.

With the exception of Overview, all Primary Task workspaces contain data entry fields that have drop-down menus. The corresponding ‘Tools’ tab in each workspace stores the ‘Manage’ tools needed to customize your drop-down lists. 

Some of the drop-down menus in your program contain default options as examples and commonly-used starting points. Others do not have any beginning options. If the fields are applicable to your data management, follow these steps to create drop-down choices appropriate for you:

  1. Click on the Primary Task containing the menu you wish to customize
  2. Click on the Tools tab
  3. Click on the Manage tool for the field you want to work with:
  • Click the New button to add a new choice to your drop-down menu
  • Click the Edit button to change the details of an existing drop-down menu choice
  • Right-click on an existing drop-down menu choice and select Remove Row if you would like to delete the option from your drop-down menu. (Items can only be deleted if they are not being used in any record).
  •         *NOTE: Some menu options are defined by the system and cannot be edited  or deleted.

       4. After you have completed all desired changes, click Close to exit the ‘Manage’ tool.



The ‘Manage Roles’ tool is available in both the ‘Manage Address Book’ and ‘Manage Occupants’ primary tasks. While this ‘Roles’ drop-down looks similar to all other drop-downs in the software, it functions a little differently. 

When defining 'Roles' it is necessary to choose whether the role will be used in Address Book associations (ties to the cemetery and reasons for Service Items) or in Occupant associations (reason for an Interested Party).

There are several “System Roles” in the menu that cannot be edited or deleted:

  • Owner—Automatically applied to contact records that are associated as Owners on grave/property records
  • Reserved—Automatically applied to contact records that are associated as Reserved For contacts on grave/property records
  • Alternate Contact—Automatically applied to contact records that are associated as Alternate Contacts to other contact records
  • Authorization—When used as the role for an interested party on an Occupant record, the related contact information will be carried automatically into the Interment Order report for that Occupant


NOTE:  You may not create a Role that is identical in both areas. If you have the need for a Role that is similarly named in both the Address Book and Occupant areas, add “(AB)” after any Address Book Role you create to differentiate it from any created by the same name with Occupant associations.



Like the Roles drop-down tool, there are special notations for the Funeral Home, Cause of Death, and Note Categories drop-down options.

  • Manage Note CategoriesGraveside Setup is a “System” category. When this category is applied to one or more notes on an Occupant record, the content of the note(s) is automatically carried through to the Notes-Graveside Setup section of the Interment Order report for that Occupant.
  • Manage Funeral Homes—In the detail view of the Funeral Home tool, there is a checkbox to mark the funeral home as “Active”. If the funeral home is NOT marked as active, the name of that funeral home will NOT show up in the drop-down list for the funeral home field. Furthermore, the pick-list options for an Advanced Search and report filters will NOT include inactive funeral homes.
  • Cause of Death—This field is special in that it is both a drop-down menu field and an editable field. A list of common causes of death can be created via the Manage Cause of Death tool. However, a user can also type directly into the field on the Occupant record to add what is desired.

Note—The drop-down list is NOT created automatically by values typed directly into the Cause of Death field.


How to Enhance Data Integrity with Validation Rules for Grave Statuses

When creating or editing Status Types for grave statuses, there are two validation rules that can be enforced if desired: 1) Graves with this status MUST have an owner and 2) Graves with this status CAN NOT have an owner.


  • Graves with this status MUST have an owner

This rule is most beneficial when it is important to ensure all records have owners recorded after they have been removed from available for sale inventory. When changing a grave record from the status of available (for sale) to sold, the record will only successfully save if the new owner(s) have been added to the grave record when this rule is actively applied.


  • Graves with this status CAN NOT have an owner.

The second rule is most beneficial when it is important to ensure a grave is not sold more than once. If the grave record has an owner recorded on it, the status cannot be accidentally changed back to available for sale if this rule is enforced. If the grave is returned to inventory and eligible for resale, then the owner(s) must be removed from the grave record before the status can be updated to reflect its availability.


The table below shows the locations of all the drop-down fields in the current release of Pontem’s Cemetery Data Manager software: 



Manage Graves - Property Records:

  • Manage Grave Types—(General Page)—type of inventory unit being sold to an individual. Should not be used to reference the state of the remains placed inside
    • Examples: Full Size Grave; Single Grave; Double Depth Grave; Niche; Crypt; Companion Grave; Cremation Grave; 2 Space Lot; Memorial Plaque; etc.
  • Manage Memorial Companies—(Care Plan & Memorial Information)—monument companies that are responsible for sale and/or placement of headstones
    • Examples: Any name of the local companies that are commonly utilized
  • Manage Memorial Types—(Care Plan & Memorial Information)—types of memorials placed on the property. Can be specific or broad in nature
    • Examples: Single; Double; Flat; Upright; Veteran Marker; Single Flat; Double Granite Upright; Family Statue; Bench; etc.
  • Manage Perpetual Care Plans—(Care Plan & Memorial Information)—reasons for variations in the fixed fee or percentage of sales price that is designated for endowment or perpetual care. This plan field can be used as reference to a portion of the recorded sales price or as an addition to the recorded sales price. **Note: if the perpetual care price field is used to track percentages of sale, the amount must be manually calculated and entered for each record at the time of recording
    • Examples: Fixed Fee: $25; Standard Rate: 10%; Multi-grave Purchase: $100; Resident Fee: 5%; Non-Resident Fee; 15%; etc.
  • Manage Purchase Plans—(Care Plan & Memorial Information)—reasons for variations in the price paid for each unit of property or inventory item. If there are no variations in price, then this could be an inventory list with its related price per item
    • Examples: Resident: $300; Non-Resident: $600; Immediate Need: $850; Pre-Plan: $700; Single Unit: $1000; Companion Unit: $1500; etc.
  • Manage Status Types—(General Page)—state of the property as it relates to burials and sales
    • Examples: Available for Sale; Sold; Occupied; On-Hold; Sold-Installments; Reserved; Obstructed; Unavailable; etc.
  • Manage Sales Agents—(Deed Information)—name of the person who was responsible for the sale process related to the property
    • Examples: Joe Smith, Sexton; Local Funeral Home; Alicia Johnson, Clerk; etc.
  • Manage Note Categories—(Notes)—broad description of the type of note being recorded
    • Examples: General; Legacy; Financial; Unavailable (to explain property status); Buy-Back; etc.

Manage Address Book - Contact Records:

  • Manage Relationships—(Alternate Contacts)—familial or alternative connection between the contact and the alternate contact
    • Examples: Mother; Father; Son; Daughter; Friend; Unknown; Attorney; etc.
  • Manage Roles—(Roles & Service Items)—reasons for a contact having an association to the cemetery as a whole (Address Book Workspace) or to a specific occupant interred in the cemetery (Occupants Workspace)
    • Examples: Owner; Next of Kin; Authorizer; Volunteer; Legal Representative; Service Subscriber; Maintenance Staff; etc.
  • Manage Service Items—(Roles & Service Items)—list of additional subscription services or optional inventory items that can be subscribed to or purchased
    • Examples: Winter Wreath; Summer Flowers; Watering Service; Post-holiday property cleanup; Memorial Foundation; etc.
  • Manage Note Categories—(Notes)—see description above

Manage Occupants – Burial Records:

  • Manage Ethnic Backgrounds—(General Page)—list of ethnicity options for any given decedent
    • Examples: Caucasian; African American; Asian; Native American; etc.
  • Manage Burial Types—(General Page)—state of the remains that are interred or recognized
    • Examples: Full Body; Cremation; Disinterred; Memorial Only (no remains); Lost at Sea; etc.
  • Manage Casket/Vault Types—(General Page)—broad or detailed list of casket and vault types used for a burial
    • Examples: Concrete; Steel; Extra-Wide Concrete; Monticello w/Double Depth Vault; etc.
  • Manage Cause of Death—(General Page)—list of specific or general causes of death
    • Examples: Heart Attack; Cancer; Car Accident; Natural Causes; Lymphoma; Lung Cancer; Suicide; etc.
  • Manage Faith Establishments—(General Page)—general categories of religion or specific locations of worship to which the decedent was associated
    • Examples: Catholic; Protestant; St. John’s Lutheran Church; Jewish Synagogue of West City; etc.
  • Manage Funeral Homes—(General Page)—list of funeral homes often used for preparation of the remains and services for the family
    • Examples: Any name of the local companies that are commonly utilized
  • Manage Note Categories—(Notes)—see description above
  • Mange Relationships—(General Page)— familial or alternative connection between the decedent and the property owner or the interested party
    • Examples: Mother; Father; Son; Daughter; Friend; Unknown; Attorney; Life Partner; etc.


Back to Lesson 2

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