Pro Tip: Boost Note-Taking with Enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience


Tune into the Lightning Experience Pro Tip blog series to learn about setting up Lightning Experience and how to avoid common gotchas along the way.

One of the benefits of moving your company to Lightning Experience is how much more efficient it is to do everyday functions. Your users already rely on notes to stay organized. So take things to the next level. With enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience, everyone can create better notes, faster, from anywhere. Voilà, better productivity!

Let’s look at how to set up and optimize enhanced Notes, and ensure a smooth transition for your users by converting their classic notes to work with the new tool.

What Puts the Enhanced in Enhanced Notes

Need some convincing that switching to a new note-taking tool is worth it? Here’s a quick review of the benefits that users get with enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience.

Users can:

  • Highlight important details and enhance meaning with rich text formatting like bold and italic (1).
  • Organize information with bulleted and numbered steps (2).
  • Add clarity and memorability by embedding pictures or images (3).
  • Share notes with people or groups (4).
  • Expand the visibility and impact of important information by relating a note to multiple records, such as relevant opportunities, accounts, and contacts (5).   
  • See earlier versions of a note, and revert to an earlier version if necessary. (When viewed from Notes home page only)
  • Keep sensitive information to themselves with private notes. Or selectively share private notes with the right people. (Available with the Winter ‘18 release)
  • Work on notes seamlessly between Lightning Experience and the Salesforce1 mobile app. For example, jot down reminders and action items after a customer meeting in Salesforce1, then follow up on the note back in the office from Lightning Experience.

With Lightning Experience, you can integrate these enhanced note-taking features into all aspects of your users’ workflow. We’ll walk through how to do this in the next few sections.


Enable Enhanced Notes

First things first, make sure that the enhanced version of Notes is turned on.

  1. From Setup, enter Notes in the Quick Find box, then select Notes Settings.
  2. Select Enable Notes, then click Save.

Make Enhanced Notes Available from Records

Now add the related list for enhanced Notes to page layouts (including Account, Asset, Campaign, Case, Contact, Contract, Lead, Opportunity, Product, Quote, Solution, and Custom Objects) so users can create and manage notes that are related to their records.

The Notes related list appears on records in Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience. Which is great because you can transition all of your users to enhanced Notes at the same time instead of waiting until your company is fully moved over to Lightning Experience.  (We recommend moving your org off the classic notes tool as soon as possible so you can limit the number of old-format notes that you’ll need to convert to work with enhanced Notes. But hold that thought…we talk about converting notes later on.)

To add the Notes related list to your page layouts:

  1. From Setup, click the Object Manager tab.
  2. Pick an object. Let’s start with account pages.
  3. Click Page Layouts.
  4. Edit each desired page layout.
  5. Select Related Lists in the page layout editor’s palette.

Note: If you don’t see the Notes related list in the palette, you must have skipped ahead. You need to enable enhanced Notes first.

      6. Drag Notes to the Related Lists section, then save your changes.

Why Do I Have Two Notes Related Lists Now?!

After you add the Notes related list to your page layouts, your users are probably seeing double.

That’s because enhanced Notes uses the Notes related list while the classic notes tool uses the Notes & Attachments related list. Both of these related lists appear in both Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic.

Having two notes related lists on the same page isn’t an ideal long-term situation, obviously.  But until you finish the transition to enhanced Notes, the Notes & Attachments related list is the only way users can access classic notes. So we recommend keeping the old notes related list around temporarily.

When transitioning to enhanced Notes, smooth the way for everyone (yourself included) with these best practices.

  • Instruct all users to create enhanced notes only, regardless of the user interface they work in. This ensures that everyone adopts the new tool at the same time and stops the proliferation of more old-format notes that you’ll just need to convert.
  • Give your users an overview of what they can and can’t do with the classic and enhanced Notes tools, in Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic.

As you can see from this table, your users get the best, full-featured experience using enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience. Just another reason to make the move to Lightning Experience as soon as possible!  But even for users still working in Salesforce Classic, enhanced Notes offers a better experience than the old notes tool.

More Arrows in Your Quiver

With Lightning Experience, you can greatly improve your org’s productivity by embedding enhanced Notes into other areas of the interface. Include note-taking actions in the Lightning Experience header, the highlights panel on records, and Lightning app utility bars so users can jot down notes from anywhere in the app, without switching away from other work in progress. And add the Notes item to your Lightning apps so users have access to the Notes home page where they can work with all of their notes.

Create Notes from Anywhere in Lightning Experience

Users can create notes from any page using the Global Actions menu in the Lightning Experience header.

The New Note action opens a composer window. Because this is a global action, users can create enhanced notes that aren’t related to any specific record. But they can also opt to add a note to one or more records, without having to navigate there.

The Global Actions menu displays global actions from the Salesforce1 and Lightning Experience Actions section of the global publisher layout. If New Note is missing from the menu, make sure that enhanced Notes is enabled and that the New Note global action is added to the global publisher layout. If you’d like step-by-step help doing this, see Let Users Create Notes from the Chatter Publisher, Global Actions Menu, and Salesforce1 Action Bar in the Salesforce Help.

Create Notes for the Current Record

Help your users save time and scrolling by including a note-taking option in the action menu in a record’s highlights panel. Action menu actions are object-specific, so notes created this way are automatically related to the current record.

A record’s action menu is populated by the Salesforce1 and Lightning Experience Actions section on the object’s page layout. If New Note is missing from the menu, make sure that enhanced Notes is enabled and that the New Note object-specific action is added to the appropriate page layout. If you’d like more help doing this, see Customize Actions with the Enhanced Page Layout Editor in the Salesforce Help.

Note: When enhanced Notes is turned on, all object-specific New Note actions anywhere in Lightning Experience or Salesforce Classic switch to creating enhanced notes. The only way to create a classic note is to switch to Salesforce Classic and use the New button on the Notes & Attachments related list.

View and Create Notes from Anywhere in a Lightning App

Make enhanced Notes a fixture in your Lightning apps with a utility bar. A utility bar is a fixed footer that provides quick access to productivity tools, including the Notes utility.

As of Winter ‘18, the Notes utility combines Notes list views and the New Notes global action into a panel that users can pop up anytime. This super handy panel stays open until the user wants to close it, meaning they can navigate around to other pages while keeping an eye on their notes and jotting down new notes as needed.

To edit a note in a list view, just click it and a composer window pops up.

To add the Notes utility to a new or existing Lightning app, go to Setup in Lightning Experience. Enter App in the Quick Find box, then select App Manager. For step-by-step help, check out Add a Utility Bar to Lightning Apps in the Salesforce Help. If you don’t see Notes in the list of standard utilities, make sure that enhanced Notes is enabled.

Manage Notes from the Notes Home Page

The Notes home page is the place where users can see and manage all of their notes, whether they’re related to records or not. The home page includes several list views so it’s easier to find specific notes. And when viewing notes from the home page, users can review previous versions to see what’s changed, or revert to a previous version if needed.

Access the Notes home page from the Notes item in the App Launcher. But you can make it easier for users by including the Notes item in the navigation bar of your Lightning apps.

From Setup in Lightning Experience, enter App in the Quick Find box, then select App Manager. For more details, check out Lightning App Navigation Bar Items in the Salesforce Help.

Let Users Take Enhanced Notes in Salesforce1

Imagine the time savings if a rep can whip off a quick note about a customer meeting before heading back to the car. Or the benefits of recording a store display issue by snapping a picture and adding it to a note instead of typing up the problem. Give your Salesforce1 users a huge boost by making sure they’re set up to use enhanced Notes on the go.

In addition to the setup tasks we’ve already covered, there’s one extra step to include enhanced Notes in the Salesforce1 navigation menu.

  1. From Setup, enter Navigation in the Quick Find box, then select Salesforce1 Navigation.
  2. Move Notes from the Available list to the Selected list.
    We recommend adding Notes above Smart Search Items so it displays above the Recent Items section in the navigation menu.
  3. Click Save.

Convert Classic Notes to Enhanced Notes

You’re almost finished transitioning your org to enhanced Notes!  The last step is to migrate your users’ classic notes so they work with enhanced Notes.

Think that sounds like a lot of work? Don’t worry, we have your back! We’re hard at work on a Notes and Attachments Migration tool that you’ll be able to download from the AppExchange. The tool will do bulk conversions of classic notes to enhanced notes. (The tool won’t support converting private notes just yet, but that option is on the roadmap.) Keep an eye on the Release Notes Changes section in the Salesforce Winter ‘18 Release Notes to see when the new tool is available.

Want those old notes converted yesterday? See if this Open Source conversion tool from Douglas Ayers will do the trick.

Close the Book on Classic Notes

Remember, because enhanced Notes is available in Salesforce Classic, you don’t have to wait until you’ve moved all of your users to Lightning Experience to disable the classic notes tool. Disabling classic notes is as simple as removing the Notes & Attachments related list from all of your page layouts, which removes the last remaining interface for creating notes in the classic format.

But a word of caution! Just like the name says, the Notes & Attachments related list includes attachments as well as notes. Before you remove this related list, make sure users have an alternative way to access the info in their attachments—which you do by converting attachments to Salesforce Files.

Converting attachments to files just happens to be a subject in the next topic in the Lightning Experience Pro Tips series, so stay tuned. Or skip ahead and get started now with the Attachments to Files conversion app on AppExchange.

Additional Resources

And check out other tips for setting up and customizing Lightning Experience by following the Pro Tip series:


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