Tag Archives: Salesforce Issue

10 Excel Features Every Salesforce Admin Should Know

Excel SFDC Logo

In this post, I highlight the 10 Excel features I use often when formatting record inserts/updates and doing analysis on metadata.

Special thanks to Scott Lewis, an Excel wizard who had the misfortune of being my cube neighbor for a couple years and enduring countless “How do I do this in Excel” questions from me.


1) VLOOKUP search & match data

  • Use Case: Comparing two lists or appending data, obtaining User ID’s for a file containing only user names.
  • How To:  In this example, I pulled a Salesforce report of all Users with ID’s and placed them on the 2nd tab.
  1. Create blank column where you want the matches to be.
  2. Insert VLOOKUP formula into first cell
    • Lookup_value:  the first cell of the column you need to match, in this case “A2”
    • Table_Array:  The source columns you’re using to match, you can just highlight them.
    • Col_Index_Num:  In your array, which column are you bringing?
    • Range_lookup:  I always put “False”
  3. Copy the formula for the entire column, it will automatically update cell numbers.

**WARNING**  VLookup is not case sensitive, so using 15 digit ID’s can create mistakes.  Always use the 18 digit ID’s when working with records in Excel.


2) CONCATENATE: Combining Values from multiple cells into one

  • Use Case: Creating a file of test records, loading multi select picklist fields.
  • How To: Formulas – Text – Concatenate.  Enter Cell followed by a symbol or space, the quotes are automatically added for you.
Concatenate Multi Select Picklist
Stop staring, this one is not a GIF : )



3) SUM Formula: Counts & Totals

  • Use Case: Formatting test records. You need to load 1,000 test records, but each one must contain a unique ID.
  • How To: Formulas – AutoSum – Sum.  In this example, I’m starting with 111 and inserting the Sum formula directly below it to create a set of unique numbers in increments of 10.




4) Text To Columns:  Breaking one cell into multiple cells (the opposite of Concatenate)

  • Use Case:  Singling out one relevant part of a string.  You pulled a report or copy/pasted a webpage and need to remove the junk.

  • How To:  Highlight Column –  Data – Text To Columns – Delimited – Choose Symbol, punctuation, or space  – Next – Finish

Note: Insert  blank column to the right, otherwise you could overwrite data in neighboring columns.

Text To Columns

5) Removing Objects: Highlight and delete all objects on sheet

  • Use Case:  Cleaning up a list that was copy and pasted form a source containing objects, If you copy and paste an object field list, you may end up with check boxes that need to be removed.   (This can be avoided by pasting to match destination formatting instead of Source formatting)
  • How To:  Find & Select – Go To Special – Objects.  The objects will then be selected, then hit Delete.

Delete Objects

6) Highlight Cells Rule: Highlights cells that are duplicates or contain specified text

  • Use Case: Finding duplicates or cells that contain a certain value, a business unit name perhaps.  If your report is not easily filtered in Salesforce, you can use Highlight Cells Rules to further break down your data.
  • How To: Conditional Formatting – Highlight Cells Rules – Text That Contains/Duplicate Values

Highlight Cells

7) Removing Duplicates

  • Use Case:  Drilling down a large report to only see the unique values.
  • How To:  Data – Remove Duplicates – select one or multiple columns.

Remove Duplicates

8) Double Click Auto Fill

  • How To: Double Click lower right cell corner to auto fill to end of rows.   NOTE:  Cells ending in numbers can sometimes autosum.   Example, a cell ending in 12 would end in 13, 14, 15, and so on.

Auto Fill Cells

9) Changing Formula Values To Text

  • Use Case:  After using a formula, you’ll need to change those cells to text before inserting/updating in Salesforce.

  • How To:  Select Column – Copy – Right Click – Paste Special –  Paste Values – “123”


10) KeyBoard Shortcuts That Save Scroll Time

  • CTRL + Up or Down Arrow:  Goes to last row
  • CTRL + Right or Left Arrow:  Goes to last column
  • Shift + CTRL + Up or Down Arrow: Goes to last row and selects all
  • Shift + CTRL + Right or Left Arrow: Goes to last column and selects all


A Better Study Guide For The Admin (ADM-201) Exam


I’ve taken the Salesforce Certified Administrator from Salesforce and made it into a true study guide by listing the topics by test weight and providing links to material to study.

My Tips For Acing Salesforce Certification Exams
A Better Study Guide For The Advanced Admin Exam

If you’re really new to this, you may want to start with the basics to help put everything else into context.  Learn Salesforce Basics PDF

And finally, I highly recommend Salesforce Trailhead  as part of your exam preparation! 2015-Trailhead-Flogo_FINAL-1



Standard & Custom Objects 18%

1) Describe the standard object architecture and relationship model

2) Explain how to create, delete, and customize fields, page layouts, and list views for custom and standard objects

3) Given a scenario, determine the appropriate fields and page layouts for custom and standard objects

  • See Above

4) Explain how to create, delete, and customize record types for custom and standard objects

5) Given a scenario, determine the appropriate record types and business processes for custom and standard objects

  • See Above

6) Explain the implications of deleting fields

7) Describe when to use and how to create formula fields


Security & Access 15%

1) Explain the various organization security options

2) Describe the features and capabilities of the sharing model

3) Given a scenario, apply the appropriate security controls

4) Describe the various profiles controls

6) Given a scenario, determine the appropriate use of a custom profile


Reports & Dashboards 13%

1) Describe the options available when creating or customizing a report

2) Describe the impact of the sharing model on reports

3) Describe the options available when creating and modifying dashboards

4) Describe the capabilities of custom report types


Data Management 11%

1) Describe the considerations when importing, updating, transferring, and mass deleting data

2) Given a scenario, identify tools and use cases for managing data

3) Describe the capabilities and implications of the data validation tools

4) Describe the different ways to backup data



Sales Cloud Applications 9%

1) Given a scenario, identify the capabilities and implications of the sales process

2) Given a scenario, identify when to apply the appropriate sales productivity features

3) Describe the capabilities of products and price books

4) Describe the capabilities of lead management

5) Given a scenario, identify how to automate lead management

6) Describe the capabilities of campaign management

User Setup 9%

1) Identify the steps to set up and maintain a user

2) Given a scenario, troubleshoot common user access and visibility issues

Service Cloud Applications 6%

1) Describe the capabilities of case management

2) Given a scenario, identify how to automate case management

3) Describe the capabilities of solution management

4) Describe the basic capabilities of Communities

5) Describe the capabilities of the Community application, such as Ideas and Answers

6) Describe the capabilities of Salesforce Knowledge


Workflow Automation 7%

1) Describe when workflow rules are evaluated

2) Describe the capabilities of workflow rules and actions

3) Given a scenario, identify the appropriate workflow solution

4) Describe capabilities and use cases for the approval process


Activity Management 3%

Describe the capabilities of activity management


Content & Folder Management 2%

1) Describe the capabilities of Salesforce Content

2) Describe how folders can be used to organize and secure communication templates, dashboards, reports, and documents


Desktop & Mobile Administration 2%

1) Describe the capabilities of Salesforce1 and SalesforceA

2) Describe the installation and synchronization options of Salesforce for Outlook


AppExchange 2%

Identify use cases for AppExchange applications


Organization Setup 1%

Describe the components of the company profile


Global User Interface 1%

Distinguish between and identify the implications of the various user interface features that an administrator controls


Chatter 1%

Describe the features of Chatter



Your feedback is welcomed! Leave a comment below.

Fixing a List View That Times Out

           You try to access a list view, and…



When a List View is timing out, it’s usually caused lack of criteria, which is making the query look through too many records.  

Here’s how to get into edit mode and fix it. 

1) Make a note of two list view names, the one you’re trying to fix, and any other that is working.  


2) On your Object page, right click and ‘view page Source

View Page Source


3) In that code, there will be a section of your list views with their names and ID’s. Copy the ID of the broken List View

Page Source


4) Go back to Object Page, open a working list View, and click Edit.


5) In the URL, replace the ID of the working list view with the broken list view, then hit Enter. 



6) You’re now in edit mode of your broken list view. From here, you can make the changes needed to prevent it from timing out. 




Savvy Salesforce Admins Know Where To Search When Stumped

Internet Kid

I’m 4x certified, but not a day goes by that I’m not searching for a little help. Your ability to find the answer when you don’t know can make a huge difference in your success as a Salesforce Admin.

I’ve listed these in order by the path I would usually take to find an answer.  All headings are hyperlinked.



  • This is my first stop, as a search will almost always lead me to one of the other sources listed below.
  • Tip: Use the word “Salesforce” in your search. Ex: “Salesforce Problem/Question/Feature” 



  • This was pointed out to me after I published this post. I just tried it out and highly recommend, definitely an awesome search engine for all things Salesforce.


  • This is where you can find a variety of great content for every feature Salesforce has to offer.
  • My favorite part is the list of related topics at the bottom of every article.  “I just came in for an overview of this feature, but what are these considerations & limits?”



  • I use Twitter specifically for Salesforce (@RyanLorenzen) and there are thousands of other Salesforce Admins that do too.  So follow us.  We’ll follow you back and when you tweet a question, you’ll get an answer.  My Twitter feed is a constant stream of awesome Salesforce information. 


Success Community: Answers

  • There are tons of really smart people who love answering the questions posted here.  


Success Community: Groups

  •  Got questions? Someone in a user group probably has the answer.  Find one here
  • Bring questions your local user group meeting


Salesforce Stack Exchange

  • Salesforce Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Salesforce administrators, implementation experts, developers and anybody in-between. It’s 100% free, no registration required.



  • If you don’t know Reddit already, I feel a little bad for introducing you…it’s addicting. Reddit is used for a lot of things, and Salesforce is one of them. Post a question, start a discussion, comment, etc…


Salesforce Tip Sheets & Implementation Guides 

  • Some of these guides are huge, so if you use ctrl + F, you can usually find you topic pretty quickly.


Salesforce Blogs


  • The next time you’re on YouTube watching cat videos, you should check out the Salesforce channel.   Everything from Product Demos to Dreamforce sessions are there.  There are a ton of user uploaded videos as well.
  • YouTube is usually where I find my answer when it involves an AppExchange App.


  • There is absolutely no better place to get answers to your questions than Dreamforce. I try to write down as many as I can before I head out, because I know they’re all getting answered.


  • I have to mention Trailhead here.  While it’s not an optimal source for finding answers, it’s a top notch tool for learning about a process end to end.



“What The Heck Does This Error Mean?” Simple Explanations of Common Errors

Apex Error

If you know how to troubleshoot a few common Apex errors, you can resolve issues faster.  Technical Architects and Developers will love you for not asking them as much.

Furthermore, If you can teach your users what some of the Apex and other common errors mean, they might be able to resolve something on their own without coming to you.  

Here are some phrases to look for.

 “Attempt to de-reference a null object”

  • Most often, this means that a record involved in the process is missing a key piece of data referenced in the code.

  • It could also mean the user who triggered this process doesn’t have access to a field, object, or record type.



  • There is a validation rule preventing the record from being updated.


“System.LimitException: Too many query rows: 50001

  • You get this error when when Apex Code tries to query more than 50,000 records, which is the Salesforce limit for Apex.
  • Solution:  Try to use more filters in the search. A code update may also be needed


Other “Exceptions”


“Insufficient Privileges”  

  • The user doesn’t have access to edit or view a record.
  • Could also happen due to a lack of user permissions


“Insufficient access rights”  -or-  “Invalid access rights on cross reference ID”

  • Basically, this is the Data Loader version of Insufficient Privileges.


“ID value of incorrect record type”

  • Another Data Loader error, caused by a funky ID on your source file.
    • Check your ID’s, are they valid?
    • Could also be that you mapped a text column to the Salesforce ID column.


“Your account has been disabled”  (The dumbest error)

  • It happens on Approval Processes and has nothing to do with the user who received the error, but they’ll think it does and come to you quite concerned.

  • What it actually means is that one (or more) of the steps on an Approval Process contains an inactive user on the approver list.


Did I leave any out? Any other tips for troubleshooting errors?  Comment below.