Monday, October 13, 2014

Simple Method for Processing Digital Media Using Pocket, Feedly and Evernote

Processing the flood of available digital media can be overwhelming.

Blogs, bookmarks, pins, articles, quotes, emails. Random inspiration and useful information is scattered all over the web.

Here's my method for keeping things organized:

Evernote... allows you to organize information (bookmarks, clips of web articles, audio snippets, images, handwritten notes, etc) in digital notebooks.

Find out how to get started with Evernote here.

I use the desktop version primarily and pay for the premium subscription - totally worth it!

I'll outline my favorite tips and tricks for using Evernote productively in a future post.

  • Get the Evernote Web Clipper for Chrome here.

Pocket... is a useful resource for saving web content for future reading. Whether I'm using my desktop computer or my smart phone, it's easy to send a link to Pocket to come back to.

I'm currently using the free version.

  • Get the Save to Pocket extension for Chrome here.

Feedly... is the software I chose to review blog posts after the demise of Google Reader. I've found that I actually peruse posts with Feedly a lot more often than I ever did with Reader thanks to a layout that allows for super speedy scrolling.

Feedly Pro allows you to save posts directly to Evernote, but right now I'm using the free version and saving to Pocket instead.

PS - I haven't been compensated by any of these software companies. I just happen to love these tools!

Logos found here: Evernote, Pocket, Feedly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

After Installing the ScreenSteps Sidebar Search Widget for Salesforce...

I've been using ScreenSteps for internal documentation for a few years now. The software is a great solution when it comes to serving up educational resources to my Salesforce users.

As part of my ongoing mission to improve the experience for new and existing users, I discovered that I had apparently missed the easy-to-install and super useful sidebar widget that ScreenSteps has made available.

I installed it yesterday evening and... I love it.

I had been using a custom tab that displayed our ScreenSteps manual, but it wasn't convenient enough for most of my users... and I often had to remind them to add it if they had customized their visible tabs.

This sidebar search widget is a big improvement for my org!

Next I plan to implement contextual help.

By adding these features, I'm laying the groundwork for the improvements that I'm working on defining for our documentation. This is something I'm still struggling with because it feels so overwhelming, but I'm thankful to ScreenSteps for all of the great resources they have made available! (Check out and subscribe to the ScreenSteps' Salesforce Adoption Blog if you haven't already.)

Now, it might seem a bit backward to add a widget before completing the changes to our documentation... but I think this is just what I needed to get me excited about all the work involved in defining new processes and establishing workflows.

PS - ScreenSteps didn't ask me to write this post. I'm just a happy customer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tip: How to Fire an Updated Trigger on Existing Salesforce Records

Hey Salesforce Admins,

Here's a tip to help you if you've got a recently updated or newly created trigger (or workflow rule) that you want to fire on existing records.

Create a custom 'Admin Filter' text field on the object that you are running the trigger on. You don't need to add it to any page layouts or make it visible to users. (I chose this method because I didn't want to update any existing fields that are already in use in order to force the trigger to fire.)

Then, use the Data Loader (or Mass Update Anything) to update that field on all of your records.

Ta-da! The update will fire the trigger on all records that match whatever criteria you've specified.

Now, I'm off to do this in my own org.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Salesforce Admin Journal: Teaching a Man to Fish.... or at Least to Create a Report

I regularly receive requests from users to create a specific report. Often these are reports that no one else needs access to.

We are trying to cut down on the number of reports in the 'Unfiled Public Reports' folder. So, I'm encouraging users to save reports that they may need in the future to their 'My Personal Reports' folder.

I'm also working on teaching them how to create reports on their own. As I mentioned in this post from last year, I think it's important to educate people whenever possible rather than just doing something for them automatically because 'it will take me less time.'

This method doesn't just benefit me by reducing the number of request I will receive in the future. It also helps my users become more self sufficient and capable.

Today, a user chatted me a report request. In response, I recorded a one minute long tutorial that will help him learn the basic skills needed to prepare the report himself.

Here's the response I received:

That was totally worth the few extra minutes it took me to record the tutorial using Jing.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Use LexiLoader to Export a Subset of Salesforce Records Based on Id

I want to extract specific fields for a subset of records. I have the ids of the records that I want to extract, either from a previous export or from an exported report. But, there's really no way to extract specific fields based on just those ids.

With the Excel Connector (for Windows), this is easily done by running a query based on the ids. It's also super handy for updating those fields either individually or in groups.

But, as a Mac user, my options are limited. In fact, I don't know of another way to easily query a subset of records based on their id.

Now, this situation can probably be avoided most of the time. But, here's where I run into it: Sometimes, a user will send me an exported report or copied/pasted data and want updates to be done on the records. In that case, I might have to extract the ids from hyperlinked records first. (Here's how I do that.)

Another scenario I run into is extracting records with lookups, eg: opportunities. When I run the export with LexiLoader, any lookups (such as Account) pull in just the record ids. If I want to display the Name, I'm kind of stuck. (Although, as I'm typing this now, I realize that I can probably get around this by including the related field in my SOQL query. Doh. Oh well, I'll share my previous method just in case anyone else can benefit.)

Anyway, here's the method I used:

1. Grab your record ids that you'd like to query and update.
1. Grab your record ids that you

2. Use the record ids to build your SOQL query.

I demonstrated this technique - using a concatenated formula to build query criteria - in a short video here.
2. Use the record ids to build your SOQL query.
Drag the formula in your second row of data down. You'll get the combined concatenated criteria for your query.
The last row will have all the ids ready to be copied and pasted into your query.
Mine looked like this:
'0017000000b1bFCAAY' OR ID= '0017000000b2Ca8AAE' OR ID= '0017000000cEUwnAAG' OR ID= '0017000000colvrAAA' OR ID= '0017000000eiRbPAAU' OR ID= '0017000000iewgvAAA' OR ID= '0017000000iVUjZAAW' OR ID= '0017000000mJWy1AAG' OR ID= '0017000000nXFZRAA4' OR ID= '0017000000pG0BdAAK' OR ID= '0017000000RAUMiAAP' OR ID= '0017000000SGWm9AAH' OR ID= '0017000000T1GmbAAF' OR ID= '0017000000T1O36AAF' OR ID= '0017000000T3mPxAAJ' OR ID= '0017000000T3TM4AAN' OR ID= '0017000000TEq8dAAD' OR ID= '0017000000TFRUmAAP' OR ID= '0017000000TpUqCAAV' OR ID= '0017000000TpVQGAA3' OR ID= '0017000000TVkxkAAD' OR ID= '0017000000TYg9tAAD' OR ID= '0017000000UeKKZAA3' OR ID= '0017000000UfnOFAAZ' OR ID= '0017000000UfXxrAAF' OR ID= '0017000000uMigaAAC' OR ID= '0017000000uMWgbAAG' OR ID= '0017000000uMWhQAAW' OR ID= '0017000000uMWhUAAW' OR ID= '0017000000uMWiDAAW' OR ID= '0017000000UuVBmAAN'

3. In LexiLoader, navigate to the Export wizard.

3. In LexiLoader, navigate to the Export wizard.

4. Choose your object, then click on 'Browse' to create your export file.

I have a list of Account ids, so I chose 'Account,'
4. Choose your object, then click on

5. Give the export file a name. Click 'Save.'

I usually try to be fairly descriptive so that I can easily identify the purpose of my export.
5. Give the export file a name. Click

6. Click 'Next.'

6. Click

7. Choose the fields to include.

7. Choose the fields to include.

8. Update the query formatting as necessary.

I needed to add 'WHERE id = ' so that I can proceed with the next step.
8. Update the query formatting as necessary.

9. Paste the concatenated query criteria that you copied from your last row of formulas in step 2.

9. Paste the concatenated query criteria that you copied from your last row of formulas in step 2.

10. Click 'Finish.'

10. Click

11. Choose 'Yes.'

11. Choose

12. After your export is complete, open the file that you named in step 5.

You'll see all of the records that you specified in your query criteria.
12. After your export is complete, open the file that you named in step 5.

13. Update or use your data.

When I've used this method in the past, there have been two reasons - to update a segment of records or to use them in a vlookup based on id in my original spreadsheet.

If you want to update...

There are a few different ways to do your update, depending on your circumstances.

  1. In your original spreadsheet of just ids, create a new column for each field that you want to update. Pull each column that you need in with a vlookup. This is helpful if you've already done some editing on your original spreadsheet and don't want to lose it.
  2. Use your export spreadsheet to update data as needed. This is the best option if you haven't already made changes on your original spreadsheet.

Upload your changes using LexiLoader.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why Didn't I Convert this Raw HTML Template to Canvas in Vertical Response Before Now?!

For the past several years (yes years), I've been editing our Vertical Response emails directly in html. Originally, a web dev helped us create the template and then I'd just update with new content when we'd launch new email campaigns.

Why was this a problem?

There were nested tables 3-layers deep to maintain the layout. It looks great on the front, but behind the scenes, I was really struggling to make text and layout modifications quickly.

Vertical Response has several modes for email drafting - you can use their wizard, design in canvas mode (a little WYSIWYG editor), import raw html or do plain text.

Once you choose raw html, it doesn't allow you to toggle to the WYSIWYG side. I was stuck reusing the same template and spending hours modifying the raw html.

I know the basics of html but it was so labor intensive to make a small change and then double check - and if I made a mistake, I had to start from scratch because I'd saved it to preview, unless I copied and pasted a backup each time. Ugh.

BEFORE: I created each email campaign by manually editing an html template for years.

How I Made it Better

I meticulously recreated the template from scratch in canvas mode. I did this all visually, with the help of this tool for toggling between html and WYSIWYG to make sure I was on the right track.

I opened up the existing html template on one side of my screen, and a new email template in Canvas Editor mode in Vertical Response on the other side.

[Left] Recreating my template in the VR canvas editor. [Right] My original VR html template, open in a WYSIWYG editor.

I manually recreated each cell in every table and formatted the background and content, making a few slight modifications to give the template a more modern look. It was rather labor intensive, but now when I want to make changes, I've got a converted email template to easily manipulate.

AFTER: An canvas email template that is easy to update in the VR graphical editor!

I don't know why I didn't do this sooner!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Extract Salesforce Record Ids From a Hyperlink

I recently found myself viewing a Salesforce report with fields that I wanted to update. But, I needed the id to do that. Unfortunately, the report was a standard report (in this case: HTLM Email Status), so my customization options were limited.

So, I copied and pasted the report data into Excel.

I needed a way to extract all the hyperlinks from the text so I could get to the record IDs in order to update. I followed the directions here to create a macro that extracted the hyperlinks.

Here's how it all came together: 

1. Paste hyperlinked text into Excel. Add a column for Extracted URL.

2. Navigate to Visual Basic Editor.

3. Create a new Module.

4. Paste the following code into the module. (Get the code here.)

5. Run the code.

6. After the hyperlink has been extracted, pull out the record id with a formula.

7. Expand the formula for all rows.

And that's it!

So, if you ever find yourself struggling to update records when you don't have the id accessible, but do have the hyperlink, now you'll know what to do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sculpting a Plan to Improve Salesforce User Onboarding with the Help of ScreenSteps

Recently, I've mentioned being inspired by ScreenSteps' posts about improving live user training and documentation.

They have a great series geared toward Salesforce Admins.

Through those posts, I've realized that I haven't always been providing my users exactly what they need to be productive from day 1.

I've been using my Wipebook to jot down some ideas.

I mean, I've done training sessions and prepared tutorials... but are they really useful? Is the 90-minute recorded introduction that I send to new users giving them what they need to take action? I doubt it.

I want to improve our onboarding process and contribute to a culture of continual learning and excitement about technology at my company.

With some help from Jonathan of ScreenSteps, I'm developing a plan to help me accomplish that.

Changes are coming.

PS - If you are a Salesforce Admin and haven't signed up for their training tips via email, I totally recommend it. You can sign up here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brief Review: Wipebook

My Wipebook arrived today!

I first saw this handy reusable notebook on Kickstarter and blogged about it.

Here's a brief video review on my experience with it so far and how I plan to use it to replace all my paper notebooks.

PS - I haven't been compensated by Wipebook or anyone else for this post. I paid for it myself and wanted to share my experience.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Working Remotely and Finding Inspiration at My Local Coffee Shop

I've been working remotely (from home) for a few years.

Sometimes, it's hard to stay focused and motivated, especially because I don't have an office (or even a separate room... yay for living in a studio). I've found that it's easy to continue working long past my official 'stop time'. Whoops. (I know that my employer doesn't mind, but my sweet hubby does. So I'm monitoring my time more carefully now.)

Occasionally, I switch up my routine by working at a local coffee shop. I grab a mocha and a pastry and plop myself down next to an available outlet.

I've noticed a big boost in my creativity/inspiration and productivity when I do this. I get a lot more done, despite whatever distractions surround me.

The only drawback is that it makes phone calls and video conferencing difficult. But, on days that I know I won't have any meetings, working in a public space like this has helped me get out of a rut.

If you work from home, how do you stay focused and motivated? Share your tips in the comments.

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