Salesforce Record Types and Page Layouts

In this episode of ShellBlack Whiteboard we introduce Records Types – a way not only to segment pick list values for different "flavors" of records, but also how they work with page layouts to further tailor the user experience. We discuss what happens when a Profile has access to more than one Record Type when you create a new record. Shell then walks though an example using Record Types with Opportunities. Finally Shell wraps up with "Things To Know" – such as how Record Types come into play with Lead Conversion, using the Data Loader, displaying the Record Type field on the page layout for users, and how Workflow can set the Record Type via a Field Update action.

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Transcript of video:

Hello everyone. I’m Shell Black, president and founder of and Salesforce MVP, and today our episode is all about Record Types. So let’s jump into it. So first thing you need to know about Record Types, it’s only available in Enterprise Edition or higher because it also leverages profiles, which is another feature of Enterprise Edition. So first let’s talk a little bit about what is a Record Type. Record Types in Salesforce allows you to have different flavors or different types of records. So you might have a different business process. Let’s take Accounts; you might have different flavors of Accounts. You could have customer Accounts, prospect Accounts, reseller Accounts, government Accounts, whatever it might be. You may want to track different fields and have a different page layout, or you might have different pick list values and different processes for those different flavors of records. So you can have Record Types against standard objects, your Leads, Accounts, Contacts, as well as Custom Objects that you create.

So let’s talk a little bit more about them. So I talked about Record Types being a flavor of a record, we’re really talking about the ability to do two things with the Record Type: you can have a unique page layout. So you can have a different Account page for one Record Type which has, say, 40 fields. You can have another Record Type tied to a different page layout that maybe only has 20 fields. And the idea of a Record Type is, you’re really tailoring that user experience, so they don’t see too much information or information that has no bearing on that flavor of record. So it’s really a way to tailor that user experience.

The other thing you can do, which we’re going to explain with an example here in a little bit, is you can segment your pick lists. So instead of having one pick list that’s one-size-fits-all for each flavor of record, Record Types allow you to segment and choose which pick list values you want displayed in those pick list lists based on the Record Type. When you turn on Record Types and you start having multiple page layouts, there is some System Admin maintenance that’s going to come about, because as you add new fields, you’ll have to tell Salesforce which page layout that field is available. If you update a pick list or add a pick list, you’ll have to tell Salesforce how you want to split those pick lists, if you want all the values of the pick list to be available on all Record Types or just subsets of that pick list. So realize when you go down this path, it’s great for your users because you’re tailoring their experience, but as a System Admin, you’re adding a lot more maintenance. So, you probably didn’t realize it but for every object, you have a master Record Type. It’s not until you start creating that net new Record Types that you realize it’s available.

So when you start a new Record Type you can clone from the master, and if you have existing Record Types available, you can clone from an existing Record Type. And then, with those Record Types, that division or that kind of split allows you to assign a different page layout. So if you have three different Record Types, you might have two that use the same page layout, the third one can have a unique page layout. So it allows you not only to segment your pick list values but you can also split your page layouts and assign them accordingly.

So when you start working with the Record Types, Profiles start to come into play. So there are some object permissions for Lead Account, Contact, or Custom Object where you define field-level visibility, those type of things as well as page layouts. You also have to define on the Profile which Record Types that Profile is allowed to access. So if we had three Record Types, one Profile might have access to one layout, another Profile might have access to all three of those Record Types. If a user has more than one Record Type assigned, you have to denote in the Profile a default, which is the first option they have available.

And talking about options being available, if a user has multiple Record Types available and they go to create a net new record, they get a new screen. So if you click the new button, say on Leads, and they have three Record Types available, they’re going to have what I call the "jump page." I don’t know if there’s an official word for it but basically it’s a page that they see before they create the record where the user can choose any Record Type that’s available to that Profile. The first option and what’s available will be their default that you selected, but then they can pick that flavor of Record Type before they create the record.

Okay, now that we’ve covered Profiles, let’s take a real world example and see how this comes together. So the example that I’m laying out in front of us is the Opportunity Stage field. It’s a pick list that you guys are very familiar with, it defines your sales process. So the Opportunity Stage pick list values that I have in this particular sales process: Gather Requirements, Schedule Demo, Demo Performed, Create a Proposal, Pricing Approved, Quote Sent, Close Won, and Close Lost. So these are all the pick list values that I have available to me. I have two Record Types. So I have two flavors of Opportunity that I have at my disposal. I had the "First Sale" process, and when we do a first sale we have to go through all these steps in our Opportunities Stage. I have a second Record Type called "Renewal." And the renewal process is only three values of this list. So the "First Sale" I have to go through all these steps to get requirements, do a demo, present the pricing, won or lost the deal. But in a "Renewal," I already have my pricing, all I really need to do is send the quote and wait for the customer to say, "Yes, we want it", or "No, we don’t." So my "Renewal" process only has three pick list values.

If I would like to, I could have a unique page layout for my "Renewal" process. I can have a unique page layout for my "First Sales" process. So maybe my "First Sales" process I have a lot more fields that I need to gather information, how the demo went, what product did I recommend, etc. But in my "Renewal," I’m just resending out my quote and pricing, and maybe I don’t need all those extra fields. Again, I can tailor that experience with a Record Type, so the user doesn’t have to look at 40 fields when they only need to be concerned about eight for this particular process or Record Type.

NOTE: Opportunity Stage is a unique pick list in Salesforce. See our Whiteboard episode on Defining your Sales Process.

So hopefully that helped a little bit, kind of get a more concrete on how Record Types work in a real life example. Okay, now that we’ve gone through an example, let’s go through a session called, "Things to Know," which is really the gotchas that you need to be aware about as a system admin. The first thing I want to talk about is Lead conversion. So let’s go through the scenario that you have three Opportunity Record Types, and a user is converting a Lead. So the question is, which Record Type is going to be set on Lead conversion? So how this really works is, Salesforce is going to look at the user, look at their Profile associated with that user, and then find what the default Record Type is for that user. So if that Profile has three Record Types and the second Record Type’s the default, that’s the Opportunity Record Type that’s going to be set on Lead conversion.

The next thing I want to talk about is using the Data Loader. A lot of System Admin’s do this, are uploading Leads but when you have multiple Record Types, the question comes in play, how does Salesforce know which Record Type to use when importing from the Data Loader. So a couple things can happen: if you do nothing and just import the Leads, Salesforce is going to look at the user that’s importing the spreadsheet on the Data Loader, find that user’s Profile, and then find what the default Record Type is for that object, for that user. So if you’re the System Admin, it’s going to be your default Record Type. If you want to specify a Record Type, you have to add a column to your import spreadsheet and use the Salesforce Record Type ID, which is a 15 or 18 character ID, to set the ID for each record that’s going up in the imports. So just be careful, it might default to you on an import.

The next thing is, when you have multiple Record Types enabled for an object, you have a Record Type field that you can put on a page layout. So, if you’re doing the page layout editor, it could be Account Record Type, Lead Record Type. It’s usually the object name – Record Type. You can drag that field onto the page layout. If the user has access to more than one Record Type, that field allows the user to flip it after the record’s been made, which is kind of helpful in some situations. A tip, and this varies by different System Administrators, but when you start as a System Admin managing multiple page layouts and multiple Record Types, some people like to make a "master" page layout that has all the fields available. So maybe you have an object with 100 fields, and Record Type one has a unique page layout with 30 fields, Record Type two has a page layout with 40, an admin wants to go and flip the Record Type themselves and see if that field exists on a page. So a lot of times, Admins will make a "master" Record Type page layout that has all the fields, so a System Admin can check to see if a record has a field populated. They can quickly flip the Record Type to the "master," and go, "Yup, that field’s available," and flip it back.

One of the last tip is Workflow. So something you may not know is, you can use Workflow through a field update action to set the Record Type. So let me give you an interesting scenario. Let’s say that we’re going through our sales process that we talked about before and maybe when you need to create the proposal or demo performed, when you get to that Stage you could have Workflow fire, flip the Record Type, which also flips the page layout. So you could start a sales process that has a page layout with 20 fields but they get to a certain Stage, use Workflow to flip the Record Type and you could expose more information as you go through the sales process. So just real life little tip, you could use Workflow to set the Record Type. Okay, so that wraps up our segment on Record Types.

I hope you enjoyed how to make different flavors of Salesforce records, assign different page layouts, and segment your pick list with Record Types. We’d love to hear your feedback and how we’re doing. You can reach me a couple different ways. I’m out on Twitter @shell_black, and you can also email me at Thanks so much for tuning in. I hope to see you on another episode.

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