Fields in Salesforce ecosystem are the building blocks for data management. A field is a column within an object for storing data. It constitutes the fundamental unit of data storage in Salesforce. Fields come in various types, including text, number, picklist, date, and more, and they are employed to house data that pertains to a particular object. For instance, the Account object includes fields such as Account Name, Account Number, and Phone.
In this blog, we’ll demystify the concept of fields in Salesforce, including custom fields, user fields, special field types like geolocation and date fields, and the importance of field mapping.
Types of Fields in Salesforce
Custom fields are your secret weapon for adapting Salesforce to your unique business requirements. Here’s what you need to know about its types:
Standard Fields in Salesforce
Salesforce has its set of pre-built standard fields like Name, Email, and Phone. These fields are common to all Salesforce objects with examples such as follows:
Identity: A 15-character, case-sensitive field that is automatically generated when a new record is entered.
System: A read-only field that holds the information about a record.
Name: The name of each record that helps in creating a distinguishing feature. These can be text or auto-numbered names.
Custom Fields in Salesforce
When standard fields don’t cover your data needs, you can create custom fields. Custom fields allow you to capture information specific to your business processes. For example, you might create a custom field called “Preferred Contact Time” to record when a lead prefers to be contacted.
Types of Custom Fields
- Text Fields: Ideal for capturing plain text data, such as names or descriptions.
- Number Fields: Use number fields for numerical data like quantities or prices.
- Date Fields: Date fields help you record dates, such as the creation date of a record.
- Picklist Fields: Picklist fields provide a predefined list of options, allowing users to select from a set of choices.
- Lookup Fields: These fields establish relationships between objects, enabling you to connect data across different records.
- Formula Fields: Formula fields calculate values based on the values of other fields. They are handy for automating calculations.
User Fields in Salesforce
User fields, sometimes referred to as “user-related fields,” are designed to enhance the user experience within Salesforce:
- Owner Field: The “Owner” field assigns ownership of a record to a specific user or queue. It plays a crucial role in determining who has control over a record.
- Created By and Last Modified By Fields: These fields automatically capture the user who created a record and the user who last modified it. They help in tracking changes and accountability.
Special Field types: Geolocation and Date Fields
Salesforce offers specialized field types that cater to specific data needs:
- Geolocation Field: Geolocation fields in Salesforce stores latitude and longitude coordinates, making them ideal for tracking physical locations. This field type is commonly used in mapping and location-based services.
- Date Field: Date fields, as the name suggests, store date values in Salesforce. They are versatile and can be used to capture various dates, such as contract expiration dates, event dates, or project milestones.
Fields Data Types In Salesforce
|Field Data Type||Description|
|Auto Number||Automatically assigns a unique number to each record.|
|Checkbox||Allows users to check a box, indicating a true or false attribute of a record.|
|Currency||Allows users to enter a currency amount.|
|Date||Allows users to enter a date or pick a date from a popup calendar.|
|Date/Time||Allows users to enter a date or pick a date from a popup calendar and enter a time of day. They can also add the current date and time by clicking the date and time link next to the field.|
|Allows users to enter an email address of up to 80 characters, which is validated to ensure proper format.|
|Geolocation||Allows users to specify a location by its latitude and longitude.|
|Number||Allows users to enter any number. This is treated as a real number and any leading zeros are removed.|
|Percent||Allows users to enter a percentage number as a decimal. For example, 0.10. The system automatically converts the decimal to a percentage—for example, 10%.|
|Phone||Allows users to enter any phone number. The character limit is 40.|
|Picklist||Allows users to select a single value from a list that you define.|
|Picklist (multi-select)||Allows users to select more than one picklist value from a list that you define.|
|Text||Allows users to enter any combination of letters, numbers, or symbols. You can set a maximum length of up to 255 characters.|
|Text (Encrypted)||Allows users to enter any combination of letters, numbers, or symbols that are stored in encrypted form. You can set a maximum length of up to 175 characters.|
|Text Area||Allows users to enter 255 characters that display on separate lines similar to a Description field.|
|Text Area (Long)||Allows users to enter up to 131,072 characters that display on separate lines similar to a Description field. You can set the length of this field type to a lower limit if desired. Any length from 256 to 131,072 characters is allowed. The default is 32,768 characters.|
|Text Area (Rich)||With the use of a toolbar, users can format the field content and add images and hyperlinks. The toolbar allows the user to undo, redo, bold, italicize, underline, strikeout, add a hyperlink, upload or link to an image, modify alignment, add a numbered or non-numbered list, indent, and outdent.|
|URL||Allows users to enter up to 255 characters of any valid website address.|
Field Mapping in Salesforce
Field mapping is the process of connecting fields between different systems or applications, ensuring seamless data transfer. Here’s why it matters:
- Integration: When you integrate Salesforce with other systems (e.g., an email marketing platform), field mapping ensures that data syncs accurately. For instance, you can map Salesforce’s “Email” field to the corresponding field in your email marketing tool.
- Data Accuracy: Field mapping prevents data discrepancies between systems, reducing errors and ensuring data consistency.
- Efficiency: Automating data transfer through field mapping saves time and effort, as manual data entry is minimized.
Fields are the foundation of Salesforce’s data-driven capabilities. Whether you’re customizing data capture with custom fields, enhancing user experiences with user-related fields, utilizing specialized fields like geolocation and date fields, or streamlining data integration through field mapping, understanding fields is key to harnessing Salesforce’s full potential.
As you continue your Salesforce journey, remember that fields are not static; they can evolve to meet your changing business needs. So, don’t hesitate to explore, experiment, and adapt your fields to drive productivity and insights within your organization.
In the next part of this series, we will have a look at the topic of Global Picklists and Field Dependency. We’ll explore how these features can further enhance your data management and customization efforts in Salesforce, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of these critical aspects. Stay tuned for valuable insights and practical guidance on these topics.