How I Solved This: Intuitive Record Links


Welcome to another post in the “How I Solved This” series. In this series, we do a deep dive into a specific business problem, and share how one #AwesomeAdmin chose to solve it. Once you learn how they solved their specific problem, you will be inspired to try their solution yourself! Let’s take a look at how Adam Kramer was able to create a custom object called Affiliations and adjust the naming structure to make it intuitive for his users to find the correct Affiliation record to a contact.

Key business problem: 

Salesforce uses autonumbers and auto-generated names for links to records, which need explanation and training for the end user, especially for custom objects. I want my users to be able to click into a record without needing training on how to do it. 


When setting up a custom object, you need to either use a name or an autonumber for the object. Many objects from packages on the AppExchange opt to go with autonumbers, as do many custom objects set up by Salesforce Admins. This helps with the problem of having to create a name for each of these records manually, guarantees a unique name, and saves time when creating a new record. Unfortunately, this autonumber is the direct link to the record when a user wants to get there from a record detail page, related list, or report. This causes some confusion. 

I’m using the custom object, Affiliations, that comes with the Nonprofit Success Pack. Affiliations are a child object of the Contact object. The name of the Affiliation record is an autonumber, which is what my users would use to get to that record. My users want to see the Affiliation record of a contact, and I want to make it easy and intuitive for my users to get there.

Affiliated contacts sample screenshot

How I solved it:

I solved this problem with a simple formula field on all objects that needed an intuitive way of getting a user to a record without explanation of autonumbers or auto-generated names. 

In setup, go to Object Manager, then go to the object you want to add this to (in this case, Affiliations). Then, go to Fields & Relationships:

Object manager Fields and Relationships selection screenshot

From there, create a new Formula field with a Return Type of Text. You don’t need to add it to your page layout. 

Creation of new custom formula field with text return type

In this case, I have given it the name “Affiliation View” so that it doesn’t get confused with other object “View” links if I pull multiple into a report. It is always a good idea to put the object name into the field label when creating the same type of field on multiple objects.

The formula itself is very easy to write; it is simply the HYPERLINK function, the ID of the record, and a friendly name that will be displayed for the user to click. In this case, it is simply HYPERLINK(“/”+Id, “View”).

Formula field options with HYPERLINK("/"+Id, "View") in text field

Additionally, it is always smart to put in a description of the field for yourself and future admins, and Help Text to help guide your users on what the new field does. In this example, the Description is “So users can click on this hyperlink instead of the object name,” which will help me remember why I built this field in the first place and will help anyone who is also an admin in this org or future admins down the line. The Help Text is “Click here to get to the Affiliation record,” so that users will be able to figure out what clicking on the field will do if they can’t figure it out from context, and will hopefully save you questions about why it is there.

creation of field label with "Affiliation View" in the field label and name text boxes and "click here to get to the affiliation record" in the help text box

Once this field is created, your old related lists will still show the old, unintuitive Affiliation Name. So, the next step should be to update the related lists on page layouts.

screenshot of "Affiliated Contacts" list

In this example, let’s go to the Account object and then Page Layouts. Edit any layouts that have the related list Affiliations by clicking on the gear.

Affiliated Contacts

Then, you can pull in the new “Affiliation View” field and remove the old “Affiliation Name” field.

Add column for "Affiliation View"

Now, your related list will look much better and be far more intuitive to users as to where they should click to see the Affiliation record itself.

Updated Affiliated Contacts list showing Affiliation View column

You can also replace the old, unintuitive Affiliation Name in all of your reports that pulled it in. Going from this:

unintuitive Affiliation Name report view

To this:

new Affiliation Name column report view


Let us know what you thought of this solution, and tell us how you want to use it with #AwesomeAdmins #HowISolvedThis.


Trailhead Module: Data Management for Engagement with Nonprofit Success Pack

Trailhead Module: Donor Management with Nonprofit Success Pack

Trailhead Module: Formulas & Validations

Trailhead Project: Customize a Salesforce Object

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