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Salesforce Tricky Treats

October 16, 2013

Halloween is just around the corner, and I feel like a good trick would be just the treat for me. Here’s a fun one, and you don’t even need to put on a costume for it (though of course, you can if you want to).

If you have ever imported data into Salesforce, you know that tying new records to existing ones requires an ID number for that particular record in that particular object. Let’s say, for example, that I have a list of products for which I need to add prices. I want to conduct an import of the price list into the standard Price Book, but I need to associate a price with each existing product in order for the list to import successfully. At this point, the logical process would be to generate a report that includes all of the desired products, and include the field for “Product ID” on the report (the Product ID is a 16-character value that serves as a unique identifier for each product). After all, this is what we always do when dealing with Contacts, Accounts, and other objects. Once I have this information, I can use Excel to combine the price list with the Product ID’s, and import the new list.

But what is this? The Product ID field has disappeared! Is it some sort of incognito field, disguised in unrecognizable developer code? Or did it vanish altogether? The secret is that the Product ID field exists, but is not visible to users when creating page layouts, and therefore is not available when generating a report on the object.

Now for the trick: go into Setup, and in the Product object, create a custom formula field that simply equals the Product ID field. Make it a text field, and when you are creating the syntax, the Product ID field will be selectable from the dropdown list. Then just add this new custom field to your page layout, and it will be available for use on reports!

Making secret codes materialize can be scary for some folks, but you will certainly be a hit at the office party! Happy haunting…

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