Salesforce is a CRM tool that offers you virtually endless customization options. One of the most important tasks involved in fitting your Salesforce implementation to your organization’s needs is populating your objects with custom data fields. Rather than dig into the nuts and bolts of how to add fields in Salesforce, let’s take a look at some organizational principles you can employ with new fields.

Field Types

Salesforce gives you a wealth of options to choose from when it comes to creating your own custom fields. It’s important to pick the field type that best fits your needs. Common types that are self-explanatory include email, currency, address, url, and phone. You can also add fields that Salesforce will populate automatically; these include calculated fields which produce a value based on other fields and reference fields, which pull data from a different object.

business workflow

Some of the most powerful fields you can use in Salesforce are picklists and comboboxes. These give your users a range of options to choose from with a single click. Picklists can be set up as either single-choice-only — the standard picklist — or as multipicklists where more than one option can be selected. Comboboxes give users the ability to add a new entry if the listed choices don’t match their needs.

Controlling Access To Fields And How To Add Fields In Salesforce

After you’ve created a new field, your users will see absolutely no trace of it until you set up field access properly. First of all, a field has to be added to one or more layouts that are actually being used in your organization. Secondly, you need to grant individual user groups the right to see and edit the field in order to make it usable.

Be aware that you have some advanced options for answering the question – how to add fields in Salesforce. Fields can be marked read-only either in their individual settings or on the layouts on which they appear. Setting critical fields to read-only will prevent them from being accidentally altered. Bear in mind that populating and editing these fields will require a special user permission. It’s quite possible to create read-only fields that no one can access, so exercise caution!

A Common Mistake To Avoid

Salesforce is a tremendously complex piece of software, and it offers plenty of traps for the unwary or uneducated administrator. The potential problems with read-only fields described above are only the tip of the iceberg.

When you’re creating custom fields, you’ll likely wind up using a lot of text fields. Text fields are limited to 255 characters, which is insufficient for a lot of data. The logical alternative is to use the textarea field type, which has no character limitations. Think things over carefully before switching to a textarea field, though. It has a number of limitations that make it a poor choice for storing critical data. It is not as accessible to search and filter functions as a standard text field. It also uses up a lot of storage space, which doesn’t come free in Salesforce. Do your best to minimize the number of textarea fields you use.

When you want to learn how to add fields in Salesforce, always remember that you’re building the pattern for a record-keeping system that should be infinitely extendable. Make an effort to think through the utility and limitations of each of your fields. Making field changes is easy when you do it at the beginning of a Salesforce implementation; overhauling your fields later is a lot harder. It makes sense to try to get it right the first time!