A descriptive flexfield uses columns that are added on to a database table. The table contains any columns that its entity requires, such as a primary key column and other information columns. For example, a Vendors table would probably contain columns for standard vendor information such as Vendor Name, Address, and Vendor Number. The descriptive flexfield columns provide "blank" columns that you can use to store information that is not already stored in another column of that table. A descriptive flexfield requires one column for each possible segment and one additional column in which to store structure information (that is, the context value). You can define only as many segments in a single structure as you have descriptive flexfield segment columns in your table. The descriptive flexfield columns are usually named ATTRIBUTEn where n is a number.
A global segment uses the same column for all rows in the table. A context-sensitive segment for one structure uses a given column, but a context-sensitive segment in a different structure can "reuse" that same column. When you define your descriptive flexfield, you should always define your global segments first to ensure that your global segment can "reserve" that column for all structures. Then, you define your context-sensitive segments using the remaining columns.
Note that when you use a descriptive flexfield that has context-sensitive segments, and you change an existing context value to a new context value, the flexfield automatically clears out all the context-sensitive segment columns, and re-defaults any segments that have default values.
Different Arrangements of Segments
Planning Your Descriptive Flexfield
Descriptive Flexfield Structure Planning Diagrams