Salesforce Optimization Guide: List Views

One useful feature of Salesforce is being able to view numerous records within an object at once via a feature called List Views.  List Views can be customized, filtered, and modified extensively to allow Users to view all or subsets of object records from a single location.  Users can even, in some cases, make updates to multiple records at the same time via a List View, eliminating the need for excessive clicks and navigation.  All of this can be done without the need for constructing complex reports or custom components, ensuring your Users can see what they need to and do their job effectively without delay.

Challenge: A User needs to be able to view and interact with a subset of records for a given object in Salesforce.

Solution: List Views, of course!  List Views are available by default for any standard or custom object in Salesforce that has an accessible tab for the User (see screenshot).

Objective: We will be creating several example list views of varying complexity and types for the Account object in Salesforce, though these principles can be applied to any object, standard or custom, in the system as long as it has an object tab accessible to the User in the Navigation Bar.

Step 1: Select the Object

First, we need to select the tab from the Navigation Bar for the object we want to build our List Views for; in this case we will be using the “Account” tab.

Once you click on the Account tab, you will be brought to the default List View for that object.  In Salesforce the default List View for most objects will be the “Recently Viewed” List View, which shows the most recent set of records that the User has accessed for that object (see screenshot).

NOTE: If you have not accessed any records for the object you have selected, you may see no records in the “Recently Viewed” List View, which can sometimes create the illusion there are no Accounts in the system.  You can resolve this by selecting the caret icon next to the “Recently Viewed” List View name and selecting another List View, such as “All Accounts”, which will display all visible records under the Account object for the User, whether they have been accessed or not.

NOTE: You don’t have to have the “Recently Viewed” List View be your default List View.  Instead, you can opt to have another default by selecting another available List View from the caret dropdown menu, such as “All Accounts”, and clicking the “pin” icon so that when a User clicks the Account tab, it will display “All Accounts” instead of “Recently Viewed”.  Please note that this ONLY sets the default List View for the logged in User, NOT the entire org (see screenshot).

Step 2: Create Your Custom List View

Now that you know what object you want to view, you can either create new List Views for your needs or clone existing List Views and modify them.  To do either of these actions, we need to use the menu options in the right-hand side of the screen (see screenshot).

From Left to Right, the Menu Options are as follows:

List View Controls: Various options for modifying the List View - New, Clone, Rename, Sharing Settings, Edit List Filters, Select Fields to Display, and Delete

Display As: Determines the format for the List View - Table (default), Kanban, Split View

Refresh: Refreshed your List View to pull the latest data from Salesforce

Edit List: Allows you to in-line edit records in the List View for mass updates

Charts: You can insert a custom chart into the List View to represent the data visually

Filters: Allows you to filter the records returned from the object based on your specifications

NOTE: To create our new custom List View, we could use the “New” option and start from scratch, but it’s faster simply to clone an existing List View and perform modifications to it.  Either method gets you where you need to be – for our example we will be cloning the “All Accounts” List View by selecting “Clone” from the List View Controls menu (see screenshot).

Give your new cloned List View a name and select its visibility – depending on your User Permissions you may have the option of having the new List View visible only to you or to all other Users in the system.

Step 2:
Customize the Fields Displayed

Once we have our new custom List View, let’s add some new fields and filter it to our tastes.  You can add new fields to the List View by clicking on the List View Controls cog, then “Select Fields To Display”.  You can then move fields from the left-hand “Available Fields” section to the “Visible Fields” section to display the field(s) in your List View (see screenshot).

For our example, we selected: Account Name, Active, Type, Annual Revenue, Industry, Employees, Billing State/Province, and Phone (see screenshot).

Step 3: Filter Unnecessary Data

With our fields added and updated on the List View, we are starting to see more of the data we care about, but there are some Accounts in the List View that don’t have a lot of data in them.  Accounts like Test, sForce, Test Trigger, etc. are lacking data in the Active, Annual Revenue, and other fields.  How do we get rid of them and only look at the more complete records?  With filters!

You can add new fields to the List View by clicking on the List View Controls cog, then “Edit List Filters” or you can select the funnel icon on the far right-hand side of the menu to open the Filters menu (see screenshot).

The default filter for my List View is “All Accounts” which means all records I can view in the Account object will display.  If I wanted a subset of records, I could add one or multiple filters to narrow down the records I see.

For example, I’m going to filter my List View by the Active field being “Yes” and the Annual Revenue being greater than $10,000,000.00.

By clicking the “Add Filter” button, I can quickly add these filters to my List View (see screenshots).

When I’m done with my filters, I can click the “Save” button to save them and view the results in my List View.

You can utilize numerous filters if you desire and can even customize the filter logic to ensure you are only seeing the exact subset of records you want to see.  For example, you could say you want to see all Accounts where Active = “Yes”, Employees is greater than 500, Billing State/Province = CA, IL, and TX, and Industry = Construction.  That would show you all Active Accounts with 500 or more Employees in California, Illinois, and Texas that are in the Construction Industry.  This is just one example, so feel free to play with filters to determine your results accordingly!

Step 4: Edit and Update Multiple Records from a List View

You can not only filter List Views, but update records in the List View if desired.  Let’s say that the GenePoint Account in our List View has the wrong Billing State/Province assigned and Pyramid Construction Inc. has the wrong phone number.  Formerly, I would have to click into each of these Accounts and update them manually, but thanks to in-line editing I can make updates to the records directly from my List View!

To complete this, click the pencil icon next to any field you wish to edit, update the field(s) on the record(s), then click the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen to update all the records at once (see screenshot)!

NOTE: If the object you are working with utilizes Record Types, you will need to filter the List View by one of the Record Types for the object before you are allowed to in-line edit and mass update.

Step 4: Pimp My List View!

Make Xzibit proud by adding some fancy flair to your List Views utilizing Charts and the “Display As” menu.

There are three types of List Views you can leverage: Table, Kanban, and the relatively new Split View!  See screenshots below to see examples of each type.

Table: This is the standard view for List Views and will display your results in a tabular (i.e. basic columns and rows) format.

Kanban: This format allows you to group records together and move them based on certain record attributes.  For example, we have a custom Account field called “On-Boarding Status” that shows where an Account is in the process of becoming an Active customer with our company.  I can use the Kanban view to not only see where each Account in my List View is in the process, but I can also drag and drop the records into different columns to reflect changes in their On-Boarding Status.  Basically, this allows you to update the statuses of multiple records quickly and effectively, without having to click into records and leave the List View.

Split View: This view allows you to both view your List View records in the left-hand panel and view/edit entire selected records in the right-hand panel.  This view allows you to both see your list of records while also clicking into each record and not leaving your List View behind.  This view is fantastic for productivity when working in detail with multiple records.



Split View

Finally, you can click the chart icon to add a convenient graphical chart to your List View to better help you visualize your data.  For example, I can configure my Account List View to show me all Accounts grouped in a pie chart based on their Annual Revenue (see screenshot).  You can even scroll over the chart component to view detailed information if desired.

Conclusion: As you can see, List Views are a versatile and incredibly useful tool in Salesforce to allow you to view and analyze your object data quickly, without the need for reports and dashboards.  There are plenty of ways to employ the features we covered and this is by no means exhaustive, but should give you enough information to start creating and making your own List Views.  Thank you for the read and good luck!

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