Reporting Tips and Tricks for New Admins

Within Salesforce, unfortunately, Reports & Dashboards are as robust as they are non-intuitive. Many of us struggle to create reports. We often spend too much time formatting the report. These tips and tricks will make your job easier and drastically cut your time developing reports.

When first creating a report in Salesforce, you must select the type of report you will create. There are two types of reports in Salesforce: Standard reports and Custom report types. Salesforce provides a collection of standard report types but there are limitations to the standard functionality.

When creating a custom report type, select the relationships and the objects to include. Select the Primary object, and the wizard will easily allow you to select its related child objects. In a Custom Report Type, you can add fields from objects outside of your primary report type object. However, you are limited to spanning 4 object relationships.

How to create a custom report type?

  • Define custom report type template
  • Select related object
  • Specify the layout to display custom fields in custom report type
  • Create a report from the custom report type template to verify that the object and field definitions are correct

Cross Filters

Cross filters allow you to include or exclude records based on related objects and their fields. It is also fantastic for deduplicating data in reports. Cross Filters allow you to drill down into your report without requiring formulas or coding.

How to create a Cross Filter in the Lightning Experience Report Builder:

  • From the Filters tab, click | Add Cross Filter
  • Choose whether to show your primary object with or without a secondary object. Then, choose the secondary object
  • To add a filter to the secondary object, click Add Secondary Object Filter
    • Choose a field from the secondary object
    • Specify an operator and values for the secondary object filter

Historical Trend Reporting

Historical trend reporting can be particularly useful to organizations that need to track small day-to-day or week-by-week changes. Historical trend reporting uses special custom report type designed to highlight changes between five snapshot dates. This data can then be viewed in the same row to see the changes over time. You can also visually present the data changes in charts and dashboards. For organizations created in winter ‘14 or after, historical trend reporting is active by default. If your organization is older than that, you must activate it in Setup.

Joined Reports

A joined report is combining two different report types to build a holistic view of your data. It can contain data from multiple standard or custom report types. You can add report types to a joined report if they have relationships with the same objects. It’s not as commonly used, but can be effective when discovering distinct differences between accounts. Think of Joined Reports as separate block reports where the data can be optionally grouped to “join” the data.

How to create a Joined Report:

  • Choose a report type: The report type you choose becomes the joined report’s principal report type. The principal report type determines how common fields shared by different report types in a report are named.
  • To turn it into a joined report, in the upper left corner of the report builder, click Report | Joined Report | Apply
  • To add another report type to the joined report, click Add Block
    • Choose a report type
    • Click Add Block
  • Customize the joined report with columns, groups, filters, and formulas

Analytical Snapshots

Analytical snapshots capture data at scheduled points in time which allows you to build historical reports. Without analytical snapshots, seeing long-term trends in your data would not be possible with standard functionality. Salesforce allows you to load data from a Custom Report to a Custom Object on a regularly scheduled basis. This allows you to create Reports and Dashboards based on the data in the Custom Object. For example, if you need to answer the question: “How many cases are open within a certain time period?” You will use an analytical snapshot.

How to create Analytical Snapshots:

  1. Step one, you will need to create a source report that will contain the data that you historically trend on.
  2. Secondly, we need to create a custom object. This custom object is used to hold data from our source report. When you set the snapshot to run it will load all the data into the new object as a new record. This will allow us to report on this object and its data.
  3. The last step consists of creating the snapshot: Naming the snapshot, selecting the source report, selecting the target custom object, and settings the frequency.