Using External IDs

For those of you that have set up a few custom fields, you will be used to seeing the ‘External ID’ option on certain field types. But how many of you have used it or know exactly what it can do? Ok, put your hands down, because I am going to tell you anyway.

Firstly, I have used this option a lot when doing migrations from other systems. It is always wise to be able to check your import has worked as planned, so being able to compare two records in the two different systems is a good sense check. When you import John Smith from somewhere like SalesLogix, add the SalesLogix record ID, to a custom field in Salesforce called ‘Legacy ID’…and make that field an ‘External ID’. Note that this option is Step 2 in the process of creating a new field.
External ID

If in the future you want to update these imported fields, then you can use DataLoader,, or Salesforce Wizards etc to UPSERT by matching on this External ID.

And finally, here is a little known fact, using External ID can change the results of your record searches in Salesforce! When you go to your search box in Salesforce (top left of your screen), the results only cover a certain amount of fields, here is the full list for those of you that care. So if there is a field that is key for your data, such as a ‘Favourite football team’ text field, Edit the field as above to be an External ID. Then you can search for ‘Manchester United’ and get 659million results (or something).

Note there are some restrictions on the number of External IDs you can create, usually a maximum of 3 per Object.

Dreamforce – San Francisco 

I am happy to say that I have booked my ticket for Dreamforce in November, so drop me a line if you are going and we can say hi! Note for anyone else interested in booking, the price increase from June 4th, so get on this site now for more info and to book your place.

Have a great weekend!