Monday, February 28, 2011

Admin Journal: Preventing My @Salesforce Users from Including Time-Specific Information in Description Fields with a #Simple Validation Rule


I’ve noticed while doing data cleaning that some users add date-specific information to Description fields on Accounts, Leads or Contacts.

Why This is Bad

No one may notice ‘must follow up by 12/11/2007 or earth will explode’ in the Description of a record such as an Account. That could be bad news.

An Easy Fix (Sorta)

To encourage users to log this information in the most efficient way, I an create a validation rule that looks for keywords in the Description field of a specific object, such as Account.

I can customize the rule based on the typical phrases that I know my users enter, such as ‘follow up on’.


I like to include a detailed error message so that the user will have a good idea of what their next step should be.

Error: You have included a 'Follow up' task in the Description field, where it may be overlooked. Please remove that reference from the Description field and add it instead as a related task.

I gave it a quick test and it worked.


I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to accomplish the same thing, but this simple rule is one way to gently herd my users in the right direction.



Additional Resources

  • Haven’t heard of Salesforce? Find out about it here.


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk,, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Twitter: @RatherGeeky
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