Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Creating a Graphical Comparison Without Graphics

Long time, no posts. I'm trying to figure out where this blog fits in and whether or not I can (or want to) continue updating it on a regular basis. For right now, I'm just posting when the urge strikes... which obviously isn't often. Thanks for bearing with me.

--

Yesterday, I was working on a slidedeck that included a comparison of several different technical solutions. At the end, I wanted to convey a visual summary of the risks and benefits of each option.

Five minutes before I was to present the slides, I was frantically googling to find the perfect icons to use. I wanted some sort of red/yellow/green lights or gauges, some way to show high/medium/low risk or represent level of effort.

I couldn't find anything that I liked (and didn't have to pay for). I realized with just a minute or two to spare that I didn't need anything fancy for what I wanted to communicate. I could use simple colored bars in a table on the slide. 

I had started off with text (low, medium, high) and changed the color of the text to correspond to a rating. Then I added highlighting and adjusted some spacing so they'd all be the same width (which is why the text looks a bit funny). 



The resulting chart effectively conveyed my message. 



Just a little reminder that sometimes simple is best.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Research Project: Getting Feedback on Internal Support

A large chunk of my job involves providing support for co-workers - answering questions, modifying data for them, researching ways to boost efficiency, etc.

I've been curious about quantifying how I'm doing with keeping my coworkers happy. At the end of the year, I'd like to be able to say something like "I provided support to ## people with a satisfaction rating of 95%."

Is this actually valuable? I don't know. I find that as an internal support person, I would like more than a '## task completed' rating when it comes to my own personal evaluation of how I did during the past year. (Side note: I am not part of an IT department. This kind of tracking is something that I'm only curious about for my personal use. I'm sure it would be a lot more obviously beneficial for IT or a larger team.)

I started doing some research into methods of tracking 'customer satisfaction'.

Criteria:

  • Unobtrusive
  • Easy to add to my email signature
  • User friendly (goal: 1 click and done)


Here are a few of the options I found:

  • Spridz
    • 7 day free trial, one pricing plan with unlimited usage ($499/year)
    • Nifty analytics / charts and graphics
    • Integrates with help desk apps (like Zendesk)
    • From what I can tell, it seems like you use a link that then sends the recipient to a 'feedback page' where they can vote. This doesn't work with my ideal of one-click solution.
  • Customer Thermometer
    • Base plan is $29/month for 50 'credits' (one response = one credit)
    • Nifty analytics / charts and graphs
    • Lots of rating icons to choose from (custom supported too)
    • Supports creating email polls and timed notifications/reminders - I imagine this would be handy for people doing a lot of external customer support.
    • Customizable landing page based on the rating - This is a neat idea for businesses!
  • Hively
    • Free plan for up to 3 users (with some limitations), after that it's $15/month
    • Nifty analytics / charts and graphs
    • Can customize the appearance of the 'smileys'

Based on the screencaptures on their website, I prefer the interface of Spridz. But, I think it would be more valuable for a team scenario rather than an individual user.

The only option that I found that had a free 1-user plan was Hively.

I'm currently testing it out, but I'm not even sure if this method is the right one or if this kind of information will be useful to me in the future. I'm just curious.

To keep it subtle but still noticeable, I changed it from an image-based line to text.

(Hively text voting links at the bottom of my email signature)

What about you? Have you found another way to gather feedback in an unobtrusive way? Or do you feel that trying to track satisfaction when it comes to internal customer support for a single person is pointless? Leave a comment, let me know.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

5 Geeky Ways to Help Keep Married Life Organized

Next week, my husband and I will be celebrating the day five years ago that we started approaching life from the perspective of 'us' instead of 'I.'

💕

Sharing your life with a partner involves a lot of adjustment in those first few years, and not just as it relates to how toothpaste tubes should be squeezed or what to do with the toilet seat. Many practical aspects of everyday life become collaborative projects. And here is where technology can help.

We are using the following techniques to help keep our little family organized, maintain appreciation and build a marriage that we are proud of.

1. Keep Track of Milestones & Adventures

I've mentioned recently that I use Evernote to journal. In addition to ramblings about daily life, I have a tag specifically for journal entries about marriage milestones or special occasions, like anniversaries.

Clip from a photo journal of an anniversary trip


A shared Evernote notebook is a good repository for scans of cards, copied and pasted song lyrics, clipped poetry or anything else that feels like 'us.'

I also have a specific hashtag on Instagram that I use for photos representing these kind of occasions, so I can easily view all of them at once.

2. Keep Track of.... All That Other Stuff Too

Occasionally, I find myself filling out paperwork for my husband and I can't remember little details. So we keep track of things like license plates, contact prescriptions, allergies, etc. in a shared Evernote notebook.

A note in Evernote with information that we occasionally need access to

3. Don't Forget the Little Things

Whenever my husband does something adorable or unexpected, I jot it down in private note in Evernote. I take photos of flowers that he picks up, scan little love notes that he leaves on occasion and write down sweet things that he says.

Then, when we are stressed or going through a phase of not communicating as well as usual, I review those little expressions of love. They remind me while things aren't always easy, our relationship is always worth the effort.

Photo + a simple memory
Scan of a note

4. Work Together to Achieve Financial Goals

I don't like to talk about money or my past financial mistakes. It makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. But, we've found that having a shared budget makes everything easier and helps me keep my financial anxiety in check.

For the first half of our relationship, we maintained separate bank accounts and paid bills independently. It didn't work well.

We eventually realized that we needed to create a budget, so we created a Google Spreadsheet and itemized our income and monthly, incidental and annual expenses.

We periodically review our budget in this shared spreadsheet and make adjustments as needed.


Once we started using Simple and their awesome Goals functionality, we were able to work toward paying off debt and start sticking to a budget.

Simple recently made shared accounts available in beta and we jumped on board!


5. Stay Organized with a Family Calendar

We maintain a shared "Family" calendar using Google Calendar that we both access with our mobile devices (on both Android and iOS).

Having this as a separate shared calendar associated with my email account means that I can create private events like my daily schedule or personal reminders on my primary calendar. But for anything that involves us both or that my husband should know about, I add it to the Family calendar.

Another shared calendar (that I've named "Finances" for obvious reasons) keeps track of monthly bill due dates and payment plans for unexpected bills like medical expenses following an emergency surgery.

Each monthly bill event has a reminder a few days in advance to help prevent late payments. When I make a payment, I update the event for that month (not the whole series) to include "PAID" in the title and the amount applied to the account. This makes it easy to confirm at a glance that we paid those bills.

Here's how to create a shared Google Calendar.

What about you?

Have you found any specific technology useful in keeping your family organized? Please share in the comments!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

How I Became Geekier in 2016 - 10 Productivity Ideas

It's been nearly a year since my last post. Super lame. I've had lots of ideas of geeky things to share but I just haven't gotten to the point of actually drafting them. I used to be so much more motivated to blog. 😐

But today, I thought I'd share a yearly summary of geeky things I tried and learned this year. The last time I shared a post like this was in 2010. 7 years ago! A lot has changed since then.

I find myself continually refining my methods of personal organization and my use of technology to help me be more efficient with everyday tasks. Read on for more information about these 10 ways that I became geekier in 2016:
  1. Started tracking daily habits
  2. Began rounding up my purchases and investing that money
  3. Joined a gym and began tracking my workouts
  4. Started keeping an easy (almost) daily journal
  5. Organized my Recipe notebook in Evernote with tags
  6. Organized my reading list and collected quotes in Airtable
  7. Began scanning hardcopy journals into Evernote
  8. Began documenting life in 1 second videos every day
  9. Started using Google Reminders more
  10. Tried to figure out how to help my future self accomplish tasks that I struggle with
Note: I use an Android phone and Mac computer, so any apps or software that I reference below are for those operating systems. If you're interested in any of the techniques I've tried, I'm sure you can find apps for whatever OS you are comfortable with.

1. Started tracking daily habits

I'm working on living a more balanced life and to help remind me of my daily goals, as well as track how successful I am at sticking to good habits, I began using an app called Loop.

Loop lets me create widgets on my phone that I can tap when I've completed the goal for the day. I can also specify how often I want to set the goal for myself (which affects analytics for tracking my success), such as exercising 3 times per week, working on showing 'personal interest' (which for me means showing interest in other people's lives, like sending someone a card or striking up a conversation with a stranger) and speaking my husband's love language every day.

Habit widgets on my home screen

I can also check them off in the app


2. Began rounding up my purchases and investing that money

I've always been really intimidated by investing. This year I discovered the Acorns app that rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and invests that money for you. You can choose the level of risk for your portfolio (I chose the most conservative one). In just a few months, I've invested about $60. That's a pretty small amount, but it's a start.

Acorns costs $1 per month, but allows you to invest or withdraw your money at any time at no charge. If you're interested in giving it a try, here's my referral link (we both get $5 if you start using it!).

If you don't want to invest your spare change but still want to automatically save it, check out Qapital. It lets you create rules for saving, like 'save $1 every time I make a purchase at Starbucks' or use the roundup method like Acorns uses. It also works with IFTTT (super cool!), so you could create a rule like 'save $1 every day it rains'. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, that rule could yield a nice little savings account over the course of the year. 😊  There are no monthly or annual fees. Qapital doesn't work with my bank yet but I'm going to check for updates later.

3. Joined a gym and began tracking my workouts

After years of being terrified (not exaggerating!) of joining a gym, I finally got over my fears this summer. I found a great deal on Groupon for a month membership at a local gym, which included two personal training sessions. The training sessions were critical in getting over my fears; I was intimidated by all the machines and my personal trainer gave me the support and guidance to try them. After that month trial, we went ahead and paid for an annual membership. Since joining, I've lost around 16lbs and am really happy with increases in my strength and endurance.

To help me keep track of progress and create workout routines, I'm using FitNotes. I like that I can set goals, track my personal records and organize my workouts so I'm not aimless.





Another perk of joining the gym is that the company I work for offers a fitness rewards program through Incentfit. I get a financial reward for gym visits and exercise, up to $20 per month! This ends up paying for my gym membership. 👍



Side note: I wouldn't have had the guts to join the gym without my husband. Working out together has become a really rewarding (albeit challenging) bonding experience.

4. Started keeping an easy (almost) daily journal

One of my goals for the year was to journal more often. To make that less intimidating, I set up a IFTTT applet that runs when I tap a button on my homescreen and appends a sentence or two with a timestamp to a single note in Evernote that I've entitled "[BLURB JOURNAL] 2016". For the year, I saved 115 entries with that handy little button. I like this method, so I've updated my applet for 2017.




Side note: Here's the method I used to set up my journal applet, although a few things have changed with IFTTT's apps since then. Now everything is rolled into a single app rather than a separate Note and Do app.

5. Organized my Recipe notebook in Evernote with tags

For the past few years, I've been saving recipes in an Evernote notebook. I had accumulated several thousand, either from scanning printed recipes, browsing the web or jotting down notes from meals made by family members.

But, I struggled with how to organize the notebook effectively. There were a lot of recipes that I saved and then forgot about.

So, I went through the whole lot of them and deleted any that I knew I'd probably never make. I created nested tags for the categories I wanted to use, like appetizers, desserts, dinners, etc. Then I tagged anything I had made (and liked) with a 'MADE' tag. That way, I can search specifically for slow cooker recipes that I've made, for example.

Some of my recipe tags in Evernote, nested under a main Recipe tag for easy organization



Filtering through and tagging the recipes took some time. But, I've already noticed that it is a lot easier to find what I'm looking for. In the past I relied on keyword searches, but often I don't know exactly what I want to make... I'm just seeking inspiration for a yummy breakfast or an easy meal that I can cook in the pressure cooker. Utilizing the tags has helped me to try new recipes and in doing so I've added to my repertoire of family favorites.

6. Organized my reading list and collected quotes in Airtable

I discovered Airtable this year (thanks Antonio!), and I'm a huge fan. It's a tool that allows you to create easily navigable relational databases. It's like Microsoft Access married Google Sheets and they had a super smart and handy baby. 😃

I had been keeping track of books I've read or want to read in a Google Sheet. For most books that I read, I had been typing quotes into a note in Evernote, but that was rather tedious. So, I started using the Kindle app for digital books I check out from the library, which saves any highlighted quotes and makes them accessible from my Amazon account (here's where I access mine: https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights)

My book list and saved quotes resided in two separate locations. To unite them, I created an Airtable database where I can view filtered or grouped lists like 'books I would recommend', 'series I've liked', etc. I've also pasted quotes from my Kindle highlights and associated them with each book. This level of personal organization makes me feel at peace. I can extract a list of my favorite authors or figure out which series I haven't finished yet (whenever I find a new series I like, I input every book and then mark off them off as I read them), so I'll never be at a loss for what to read next.

Gallery view of some of my favorite reads - I added a field for the cover and drag an image into it for visual organization


List view, grouped by Series


Quotes that I've copied and pasted from my Kindle highlights


When I come across a word I don't know while reading, I highlight it in a different color in the Kindle app and add it to a list of vocabulary words in my database.



Airtable supports viewing tables in several ways - I use the list (like a spreadsheet) and gallery most.

PS - I occasionally post quotes from my favorite reads here.

7. Began scanning hardcopy journals into Evernote

I've been journaling since my pre-teen years and have accumulated quote a few bound notebooks. In an effort to reduce clutter, I'm trying to digitize as much as possible and those notebooks have been one of my latest scanning endeavors.

The notebooks aren't standard in size or format, and I wrote on both sides of the pages. So, I've had to cut them apart in order to scan with our Doxie portable scanner. After scanning, I use the Doxie app to clip journal entries together and then import them into Evernote. Some of my journals include several years' worth of entries. I'm still figuring out how I want to organize these, but for now I'm grouping them into a single note in Evernote. Eventually I may split them by date.



The process is slow, but I'm just focusing on one journal at a time and scanning whenever I have extra time. I'm excited to be able to destroy the paper copies.

8. Began documenting life in 1 second videos every day

On the day that I turned 31 this year, I started using the 1 Second Everyday app to save a video snippet every day (or almost every day. I manage to remember about 75% of the time).



When my 31st year is over, I'll use the app to compile my daily videos. It's a fun way to look back on memories.

9. Started using Google Reminders more

I've been using Google Tasks for some time but I was never quite satisfied with the fact that I couldn't get reminders or view them on my calendar on my phone. But Google Reminders have fixed all that. Plus, they sync between my devices and all the Google apps that I use - like Inbox, Keep, Calendar and Now (on my phone).



When I want to remind myself to send someone a card next week or start the oven at 4pm or make a salad to bring to a party, I use whatever device I'm on to add the reminder. Most often, I use Google Now's voice recognition and just say "Okay Google.... remind me to make a salad for the party on Saturday at 1pm'. I get an alert on my phone at the appropriate time and can snooze the reminder for another time or day if needed.

10. Tried to figure out how to help my future self accomplish tasks that I struggle with

Sometimes I find myself struggling to accomplish a specific task, like submitting an expense report for work or paying a specific bill. Lately, I've been trying to ask myself "Why am I struggling with this? What would make it easier?" Sometimes the answer is that I can't easily recall how to complete the task, like the steps to enter that expense report. Other times, the information I need to complete the task isn't easily accessible, like the website or account number for paying the bill.

Identifying these scenarios and figuring out how to best help my future self with them is an ongoing project.

But here are a few examples of the solutions I've implemented:

  • Problem: I can't remember how to prepare an expense report
    Solution: I created a note in Evernote with screen captures and a link to the website I need to use for expense reports
  • Problem: I forget where to go to pay this bill and I don't always have the account number handy
    Solution: In the Google Calendar event that reminds me to pay the bill, I added a link to the website and the account number in the Description area

What's next for 2017?

I never get tired of learning more about personal organization and productivity. I'm excited to continue with some of the habits I've established this year and work toward being even more organized in 2017.

Do you have any personal productivity tips that you've found successful? Have you improved your digital organization in the past year? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Note: I have not been compensated or prompted to use or post about any of the apps or tools I've mentioned in this post. I just like to share what has worked for me!



Monday, February 29, 2016

Easily RSVP to Unopened Calendar Requests from Your Inbox with Gmail

Happy Monday!

As I was processing my inbox this morning, a meeting invitation reminded me of a handy little feature in Gmail that lets you RSVP directly from your inbox (without having to open the email).

This is especially useful when I've been corresponding with someone and have been expecting a calendar invitation to come through.

Here's what it looks like:



I can click on the RSVP button and choose my response. It's a little feature that speeds up my inbox processing time.

Have you stumbled upon any handy Gmail features that give your inbox productivity a boost? Share in the comments!

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Save 5 Seconds: Accessing Salesforce License Count for Admins

Whenever someone asks me "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?", I start navigating through the admin panel and think to myself "I wish I had a speedier way to get to this information."

Today, I had a spark of inspiration. And for my fellow Salesforce Admin's benefit, I figured out exactly how much time this little spark will save me: 5 seconds.

But, this is about more than time savings... it's about freeing up my brain to focus on other things too.

I realized that I could bookmark directly to the related list that shows the number of user licenses.

Tools I Used

Chrome (my favorite browser)
Speed Dial 2 (extension for Chrome) - optional

Speed Dial 2 allows me to create bookmarks on the new tab screen. As an alternative, I can use the bookmarks bar in Chrome for easy access.

My current Speed Dial 2 bookmarks for work.


Setup

  • Navigate to the Company Information page in Salesforce (Setup -> Company Profile)
  • Right click on the User Licenses related list link at the top of the page and click 'copy link address'. This will give you the url to jump directly to that section.

  • Create a new bookmark in Speed Dial 2 or add the link to your bookmark bar.

And now, for the time-savings comparison:

Previous Method - Manual Navigation

  1. Someone asks: "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?"
  2. I navigate to where I have Salesforce already open. 
  3. I click on the Setup link.
  4. I expand the Company Profile section and then click on Company Information. 
  5. I click on the User Licenses related list link to jump to the list. 
  6. I note the number of remaining licenses and hop back to my email inbox to respond.
Time spent: 11 seconds. This could probably be faster, but I'm still adjusting to the new setup side panel layout in Salesforce.

New Method - Bookmark

  1. Someone asks: "How many Salesforce licenses do we have available?"
  2. I open a new tab. 
  3. I click on my bookmark.
  4. I note the number of remaining licenses and hop back to my email inbox to respond. 
Time spent: 6 seconds

The time savings might not seem that significant. But, for me it's about more than the time. This method eases a minor frustration and enables me to move on with my day. It requires less thought and navigation. I like that.

Do you have a simple tip for automating part of a process that would normally frustrate you on a Monday morning? Share in the comments!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Simple Single Sentence Journal Using DO Note from IFTTT

[Update - 2/1/16] Here's a brief video demo that will walk you through the steps to create your own single sentence journal in Evernote using DO Note from IFTTT.

I love journaling.

Umm. Let me rephrase. I love the idea of journaling.

In the past (read: ages 10-23), I kept paper journals filled with my dreams, observations and silly sketches. But, writing on paper with an actual pen isn't something that I make time for anymore. (And when I attempt to, my hand cramps up after 4 sentences. Weakling.) Now, a bit of typing? That is a different story. That I can do! I don't need to carry around a paper notebook and a writing utensil, and then worry about misplacing the journal and who might happen upon my ridiculous rambling thoughts. All I need is my phone or tablet.

I switched to keeping a digital journal in the past year, relying on my favorite digital organization software: Evernote.

In my Journal notebook, I create notes and upload photos documenting memorable moments, blurbs from hilarious conversations with my husband and random thoughts about life that pop into my head. I can sit and type at my computer when I have a little time during the day, or I can use the Evernote app on my phone to record my thoughts in an audio format (or simply type them).

Using Evernote has made journaling something that I enjoy (on occasion) again. But, I've been considering how to motivate myself to maintain a more consistent chronicle of my life.

Everyday events, it turns out, make us far happier to remember than we expect. So while a simple coffee date with an old friend or a night in cooking for your better half might not seem worth remembering, thinking back on these simple occurrences actually can bring us great pleasure later on. - Jessica Stillman, 'Can Just a Sentence a Day Make You Happier?'


And I think I've stumbled upon a simple way to do just that. I'm going to give it a try for 2016.

It all started when I read this article on Lifehacker about keeping a 'single sentence journal', quoting this post from Jessica Stillman on Inc.com where she shared the concept promoted by author Gretchen Rubin (PS - I'm currently making my way through The Happiness Project by Rubin. It's a wonderful read).

I loved the idea and knew I wanted to automate the process as much as possible, to increase the likelihood of me sticking to it.

Enter DO from IFTTT. (If you aren't familiar with IFTTT, check out my post about this wondrous tool.) There are 3 flavors of the DO app - Note, Button and Camera. Each allows you to perform an action by tapping on a widget on your phone.

In this case, I want to create a log of sentences for each day. I used this recipe to get started, and then customized it to add entries to a Google Document.

I created a widget on my homescreen that fires up my DO Note recipe with a quick tap.


I type my sentence for the day and click on the Drive (or Evernote) button.

The resulting document will be updated with each entry I add.


I customized the formatting a bit so that the date is appended after my entry and italicized. (Basic HTML formatting is supported.)

After I tested the recipe and found that it works well, I decided that it would make more sense to create the entries in Evernote, since that's where my main journal is. So, I'm going to create a new recipe to add each sentence to a note in Evernote.

I'm really excited about this elegantly simple solution. All I have to do is click that button each day and write one sentence. That sounds just easy enough that I might be able to stick to it.

Have you found a way to automate and simplify a process in your life with Evernote, Google Apps, IFTTT or other tools? Share your success in the comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Experiment: Drafting a Blog Post with Voice Typing in Google Docs

I often use voice typing on my phone when I want to take note of something while I'm out and about.

I’ve found that it's pretty accurate! And, it’s often easier than typing a lengthy idea or text message. Sometimes I have to go back and correct punctuation or wording, but that takes less time than typing all manually.
I recently watched a video from Google for Work about using voice typing in Google Docs. As an experiment I decided to give it a try in a very practical way - composing this blog post.

Here's a video demonstration of this experiment - complete with a few giggles. (Apparently, when I say 'new line' twice, it correctly puts in a line break the first time, but then types 'new line' literally the second time. This is insignificant, since I'm going to manually modify the content anyway to clean it up. But, it made me laugh.)





I can imagine using this for future blog posts, drafting chapters for the science fiction novel I'm working on or transcribing quotes from videos I'm watching, as shown in the video from Google for Work.

Have you tried using voice typing in Google Docs yet? If you have, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

PS - I've had a lot of ideas recently for brief video tutorials. So, I've created a Rather Geeky YouTube channel where I'll be posting content in the future. Subscribe if you'd like!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How I Give Myself an 'Admin Out' in Validation Rules

I've found myself stuck a few times when I've created a validation rule in Salesforce but needed to update records that would trigger my rule criteria.

Example: I don't want to allow users to update a specific field after it's been populated upon record creation. But, occasionally as the system admin, I may need to update that field when a user makes a mistake.

In the past, I'd edit the validation rule that was preventing me from saving a change and deactivate it. But when you have multiple rules that you're 'breaking', this becomes rather cumbersome.

So, I've started adding an 'admin out' to my rules. There are several ways to do this (by profile id, user id, etc), but here's what's working for me:



I add in a criteria to not allow the change for anyone except a system admin, as defined by the profile name.

This has been working well for me.

Word of warning: I don't recommend doing this for all rules, especially those that prevent changes that could cause errors in reporting or data consistency. Be selective if you choose to allow yourself an 'admin out.'

Do you have an alternative method that works for you? Let me know in the post comments or share it with me on twitter - @rathergeeky.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Salesforce Report Challenge: Total of Opportunities for All Accounts Within a Hierarchy

I received a report request today that sounded something like this: I need to get a total of all won opportunities for any account in this account hierarchy, regardless of whether we worked directly for them or were subcontracted*.

Sounds simple, right? 

In theory, yes. But, if you happen to have a complicated account hierarchy (eg: you have any federal government accounts), this is not an easy task. In fact, it's not natively possible to run a report like this in Salesforce.

In my case, I was looking at 80+ accounts organized in a hierarchy that was five levels deep. 

Rather than tell the requestor that the report was impossible, I decided to get a little creative.

Step 1: Get a list of all the accounts to include

I clicked on the [View Hierarchy] link next to the account name. Because I had multiple parent/child relationships, I scrolled until I found the account name that I was looking for within the hierarchy. Then I highlighted all the accounts underneath that, copied and then pasted them into Excel.

This is what my spreadsheet looked like:



At this point, I needed to extract the record IDs from the account name url. I remembered blogging about this before and read through the old post to remind myself how to extract the record ID from a hyperlink.

My spreadsheet then looked something like this:


Step 2: Generate a list of record IDs to use as a report filter

After I extracted my record IDs, I created a formula to concatenate the record IDs into a format that I could use as my report filter. (I demonstrated this method in a previous post.)

Step 3: Create a report and add the filter criteria

I created the report in Salesforce and pasted the concatenated IDs in my filter. Since I wanted to filter by two account fields on the opportunity, as well as by the parent relationship, I had to add those three fields to my filter. (Note: Several of these fields are custom formula fields based on the lookup to the Account object.)

Because the filter criteria can include only so much text, I split the record ID list into two filters for each field that I wanted to apply the filter to.

Here's how it looked:



Final Thoughts

I'd much prefer an approach that is more dynamic, rather than hard-coding the record IDs to generate a report. But for now, it does what I need it to do.

If you'd like to see some improvements to functionality surrounding parent/child accounts and account hierarchy functionality, vote up these ideas on the IdeaExchange: Add more account hierarchy functions for parent/child accounts, Report on Account Hierarchy

Have you ever received a request for a Salesforce report that stumped you? Or do you have an idea to improve my workflow? I'd love to hear your suggestions and stories in the comments below.


*We have a Secondary Account custom lookup field so that we can track not only the direct client the opportunity is for, but also the account that may have hired them (when we are operating as a subcontractor).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...