Hands-On With Page Layouts and Record Types

PREFACE: This post is part of the Zero to Hero series.

Hands-On with Page Layouts and Record TypesMaking your way through Salesforce workbooks and tutorials are nice but I personally had a hard time relating to the exercise because it wasn’t my company and what I was building was not something that I could use in my everyday life.

That is why together, we are going to build a household management app in Salesforce!

If you are new to the concept of building an app, be sure to read the posts leading up to this on. They will cover important basics of Salesforce that are important to know before jumping in.

Also, be sure that you’ve created your free developer org. This is where you’ll be building this app.

This workshop will take place over the course of a few posts in order to keep this manageable.

What We’re Building

Almost everyone has a vehicle, but we don’t often know when the last oil change was or the name of the part they replaced a few months ago. So, I thought that it would be interesting to use Salesforce to track auto repairs and lifetime repair costs. I created this app and have been using this app in a developer org for about a year now and it has been a great way to keep track of my repair bills and total cost of ownership of our vehicles.

This is what we are going to build today as the first part of our family management application. Here is the overview of what we’re creating.

  • Create and customize the Account object to track repair shops
  • Create a new custom object to track vehicle details
  • Create a new custom object to track repairs on vehicles

Here is a visual of what we’re building.

Vehicleforce_Schema

The schema builder allows you to get a visual of your objects and even allows for the creation of objects fields. However, today we will be using the standard process of creating these data points.

Today, we are going to focus on modifying the standard Account object with a new page layout and record type and some custom fields. Over the next few posts, we’ll build the remainder of the custom objects and fields and even customize Salesforce1 for mobile use!

Understanding Record Types & Page Layouts

Record types allow you to segment a particular object for specific uses. So, since I’m a visual learner, I created the below image to help us understand this concept a little better.

Record Types

Think of the account object as a large packing box. Within this box, we can place and organize smaller boxes which contain records that are similar, but different. In the above image, the Account is the object and represents the larger box.

Within that box of Accounts, record types allow us to break down the different types of accounts such as customers, competitors, and prospects. The types of data we’ll work with on these records will be similar, but record types also allow us to modify page layouts with fields and field values which may vary between each type.

In the family management app we are going to build, Accounts will be the basis for several types of records. For example, they will contain information related to repair shops and doctors offices.

Since the information we will collect on these types is so vastly different, we’ll customize the record types and page layouts so that when we are looking at a repair shop record, we don’t see fields related to the doctors office and vice versa.

If you are still confused about record types and page layouts or you want to a more in-depth training, check out this video by my friend Shell Black.

Modify the Account Object

First, let’s focus on modifying the account object. For our purposes, we’ll be using the account object to track the repair shops. Because the account object can track multiple other types of data (like a doctors office location), we first need to create a record type.

Create a Page Layout

Page layouts and record types work together. A page layout is the visual representation of a record type. Page layouts contain fields, arrangements and properties such as if a field is required or read-only.

We’ll create a page layout first then after creating the record type, we’ll match these two together.

  1. Click Setup | Customize | Accounts | Page Layouts
  2. Click New to create a new page layout.
  3. Choose an existing page layout if there is one that you want to copy values from. For our purposes, we’ll leave this picklist blank.
  4. In the Page Layout Name field, enter Repair Facility into the box.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Next, we are going to add some standard fields to the page layout we’ve just created. Using the layout editor, add the following fields. If you need help, see the gif image below or download the instructional guide with screenshots below.
    1. Phone, Billing Address, Shipping Address, Description, Created By, Last Modified By
  7. On the page layout editor, click Save. Since we haven’t created any fields, there is nothing to arrange on the layout editor but we’ll be back to arrange this page soon enough.

Here’s a demo showing how to use the drag and drop page layout editor.

How was that? It’s a pretty quick process. Now that this is completed, let’s create the record type!

Create a Record Type

Salesforce doesn’t come standard with any record types. Let’s create our first one.

  1. Click Setup | Customize | Accounts | Record Types
  2. Click New to create a new record type.
  3. Choose a master record if you want to duplicate the values of a similar record type, otherwise, this can be left blank.
  4. Give the record type field a name by filling in the Record Type Label field. For this record type enter Repair Facility.
  5. Hit “Tab” on your keyboard or click into the Description field to fill the Record Type Name field. This is the Salesforce API name which will be referenced in formulas and via the API.
  6. In the Description field, enter Used to track car repair facilities.
  7. Check the box Active to ensure that the record type is accessible to users.
  8. At the bottom of the page, check the boxes for each profile that should have access to this record type.
  9. Click Next.
  10. This next page is where we’ll assign the page layout to the newly created record type. Leave the default selection of Apply one layout to all profiles and select the newly created profile from the picklist of available page layouts.
  11. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save.

Get excited folks – you did it!

It’s time for a little happy dance!

Best Practices

Now the Account record is setup and ready for us to enter data. That’s all we are going to cover today but before we go, here are some best practices and helpful tips when it comes to working with record types and page layouts.

  •  Before building anything in Salesforce, think about the impact to reporting. How does the business want to see the data? This will impact your configuration.
  • Depending on the business requirements, you may not need to use record types for certain functionality. Occasionally, a single-select picklist will work just as well as a record type (again, think about reporting).
  • Make it easy on yourself; for every record type, create a matching page layout.
  • Arrange fields into sections.
  • Try to arrange the fields in a logical order. This is where you’ll want user feedback for sure. Sometimes, users want the most important (or required) fields towards the top. Do whatever works for your business but make sure it’s arranged logically.

What’s Next

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please post them below. Don’t forget that we have a Chatter group on the Success Community which is a great place to ask questions as well. Click here to join the AdminHero.com Chatter group.

We’ll be focusing on building the rest of this app over the next few Zero to Hero posts to stay tuned!

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16 Comments


  1. Sid

    March 18, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Hello,

    Thank you very much for your contributions to Salesforce Beginners.

    Waiting for next Chapter 🙂

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      March 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks Sid! You won’t have to wait too much longer! Monday will be a new Zero to Hero post!

      Reply

  2. Mark Deuel

    April 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Why didn’t I think of using a developer org to track car and house repairs? I’ve been using a Google Doc for three years. Genius! And practical. Win-Win. Thank you sir.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      April 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

      You bet! I wish that I had known about Salesforce Dev orgs when searching for a job (this is pre-Salesforce Admin of course). It would have worked wonders for that as well!

      Reply

  3. Mark Deuel

    April 29, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Great stuff Brent, great way to learn.

    one note though, I don’t see where you showed how to create the address information section. Unless that was covered in a different post?

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      April 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Mark – you are the lucky winner! Looking at the post, I didn’t add in the details for how to do this. Take a look at the .gif image in the post and you’ll see in the section which houses the fields for the object (where the Address fields are coming from), there are two other fields at the top of the list: Section and Blank Space. Section is the one that I used. Pull it into the layout just like any other field and you can name it and update the properties to match what is needed. I hope that makes sense! Let me know if you can’t find it.

      Reply

      • Mark Deuel

        May 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

        I knew how to do it, just wanted you to be aware in case you wanted to update it.

        Reply

  4. Simon B

    June 7, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Finding your site extremely useful Brent. Just starting out with Salesforce and hoping to become an admin. Thanks from London:)

    Reply

  5. Manohar Kumar

    June 9, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Brent, your tutorial is very good. i am getting started with salesforce and find your tutorial vey useful.thanks for wonderful explanation.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      June 10, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you Manohar. I appreciate you reading!

      Reply

  6. Lisa Silva

    September 10, 2015 at 9:20 am

    #4. Give the record type field a name by filling in the Record Type Lable field. (should be Label)

    Again, thank you sooooo much for these tutorials!! I’m enjoying them & it feels great to have a bit a success along the way! Even if in baby steps…but it feels great knowing we have your guidance as we wend our way thru the learning curve! Lisa

    Reply

  7. Mike Sabel

    December 7, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Hi Brent, I was wondering, at what point/threshold do you decide to create a custom object instead of a new record type in your scenario? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      December 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Hi, Mike. It really comes down to the purpose of the object and how that information will relate to other objects based on the business process. The decision to create an Automobile and Repair object was due to the type of information being tracked, and the way I wanted the data to be represented. While you could technically create a record type for each under the Account, the it’s difficult or impossible to create the appropriate relationships.

      Record types are great when you’re tracking different information for the same type of record. For example, it would make sense for an Account to house information on potential customers, actual customers, and competitors. They are all business entities, but the information tracked for each may be different. In that case, a record type and page layout make sense.

      I hope that helps! If not, let me know. Be sure to check out the first post in the Zero to Hero series where I talk about a relational database (if you haven’t already).

      Reply

      • Mike Sabel

        December 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks Brent! That helps.

        Reply

  8. Jaswinder singh

    October 21, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Owesome….

    Reply

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