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Before making a change to a field in Salesforce, ops teams and admins need to look up the field to see where it’s being used in their org. Making one minor change to a field can cause ripple effects throughout your instance, creating negative downstream impacts. You can’t blindly make a change and expect everything to work out the right way.

To help mitigate some of these issues, Salesforce introduced a “Where Is This Used” button that helps locate where a custom field is referenced. While helpful in some situations, this button has some clear limitations.

Why Salesforce admins and ops teams use the button

Prior to the addition of the “Where Is This Used” button, making a change in your Salesforce org was a shot in the dark. There was no easy way to know how a custom field change would impact things like reports, flows, and APEX classes. It was near impossible to avoid issues without investing the time into creating intense documentation, building a data dictionary, or relying on the long-term memory of your ops team.

The introduction of this button and functionality empowers Salesforce admins to confidently see how a change to a custom field would create an impact. It’s now easier to make more educated decisions and reduce the number of issues and surprises a field change can cause.

Adding this functionality was a no-brainer. But there are still some limitations.

How the ‘Where Is This Used’ button works

The most important thing to note is that the “Where Is This Used” button only applies to custom fields, not standard fields. You’re unable to view dependencies for anything available in Salesforce out-of-the-box with this button.

If you’re looking for all references to a custom field—in all types of objects—the “Where Is This Used” button is a good place to start. The list of references Salesforce returns can include any of the following:

  • Active validation rules
  • Layouts
  • Formula fields
  • APEX classes and triggers
  • Field sets
  • Flows
  • Process Builders
  • URL buttons
  • Lookup filters
  • Reports

This list only returns clickable field references, types, and labels—it does not include a downstream impact assessment.

Change Intelligence can give deeper insights into custom fields

“Where Is This Used” is great for sifting through a list of the items impacted by a custom field change, but it doesn’t provide the deeper insights you need to make effective and educated decisions. Plus, the more advanced your org gets and the larger it grows, the more you’ll need to rely on those deeper insights.

Sonar helps you:

How Sonar helps other ops teams go beyond the ‘Where Is This Used’ button

Meet Olivia B., the CRM Data Administrator at a financial services company. Olivia was tasked with cleaning up her company’s Salesforce instance and deciding whether to retire or keep certain fields. For one specific field, she needed to determine what the impacts of retiring the field would be, and what kind of lift that was for her team.

Her first move was to look up the field using the “Where Is This Used” button in Salesforce. It returned a lot of locations where the field was used, but the list was rather long and unorganized.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of reports listed because this field was a default field in our report types,” Olivia told us. “It was difficult for the ‘Where Is This Used’ button to know which reports to prioritize.”

With Sonar, Olivia is able to get a deeper look at the list of affected items. Unlike in Salesforce, she is able to see priority, whether something is active or inactive—and all in one dynamic view instead of multiple pages.

Now, not only can Olivia get the full picture of the impacts a field change can have, but she can more easily share that information with her team, too.

View all the insights you need for your custom fields

Sonar can help you see the impacts of a change throughout your Salesforce org and eliminate any surprise issues. Find out how Sonar can help you today.