What are List Views in Salesforce?
List Views within Salesforce give users the ability to create and, more importantly, customize a list of records on an object. The list allows filters to be used to simply create a list of just the records that fit within one or multiple filters, or just to see a list of all records.
Within that list, the desired fields (displayed as columns) can be selected and rendered. One of the powerful features of list views is that they can be used across any object in Salesforce, allowing users to curate their own list of records and fields to easily compare data.
As the user moves across different objects, or even within different list views on the same object, the columns will change to reflect the settings for that particular list view.
Besides allowing users to create a customized list of records, list views can also allow users to edit multiple records at once using inline editing. This requires specific permissions to be enabled in your org, but opens up the ability for users to make edits to multiple line items at once.
For more information on customization, check out Salesforce Trailhead here.
The Benefits of List Views in Salesforce
Curated lists of records
Benefits of list views include allowing users to pull back a specific list of records that fit a criteria. This can help pare down a list of 100s or 1000s of records, to a handful, or a single record, depending on the number of filters used.
Quick switching between lists
List views can be saved for quick access later on, enabling lists to be quickly accessed as needed in the future. Filtering these lists allows for a small time investment up front to pay off later in your projects by having the desired views already built and waiting.
List view buttons
Within list views, buttons can be added to the top of the list that allow actions to be performed on the list that is being accessed. These are configured on an object-by-object basis, but can leverage powerful automations such as Flows or even Apex.
In addition to those already mentioned, other benefits of list views include:
- The ability to build a report-style chart based on the list view records
- An intuitive way to customize the fields (columns) that are visible
- A way to pin a favorite list view for a consistent starting point
- The ability clone list views as starting points for iterating on a favorite to further customize
Salesforce List Views vs Reports
Another powerful Salesforce feature is reports. At the outset, it can be a little difficult to know the difference between reports and list view, so how do we know which tool makes the most sense?
When to use Salesforce Reports
Reports make sense when a list of projects is the end goal. Filtering and adding columns functions very similarly to List Views and the end result, as seen above, is very similar. A chart can be added to both as well and the hyperlinked fields function very much the same way.
Some Salesforce report features are not available in list view, including the ability to subscribe to a report to have it delivered on a set cadence; and the ability to export a report as a spreadsheet or .csv file in order to leverage other powerful analytical tools.
When to use Salesforce List Views
List Views though are considered a more dynamic tool than reports. Where a report is giving us a snapshot in time, the List View is actually giving users the ability to modify fields across multiple records without having to leave the current view.
This is a powerful tool for managing our groups of records. Add in the ability to use list view buttons to leverage automations we’ve built on the list of records and List Views are an excellent tool for a Salesforce user to have in their toolbox.
How to create a List View on Salesforce
One of the other major benefits of List Views is for custom applications to take advantage of them and extend the benefits of their functionality within custom User Interface elements. For example, Cloud Coach leverages list views in several different locations that enable a user to see very dynamic views of their record lists.
One example would be the Cross-Project View in the Projects app of Cloud Coach:
The Cross-Project View within Cloud Coach allows users to interact with the same list view they’re already comfortable using on other records within our dynamic UI.
This provides users the ability to see a Gantt view of Start and End Dates plus completion percentage across that same list of projects.
Sub-tabs within this UI allow Project Managers to focus on other elements of their projects without losing the filtered list of records they’re working with currently.
This provides users with the ability to customize the field shown on the Project List the specific Health metrics that they’d like to track, and on the higher Cloud Coach tiers, track Stage Gates and Milestones on those projects.
Users also have the ability to leverage a powerful side panel feature within this view. This side panel allows us to push the capabilities even further, utilizing features such as Field History Tracking, Salesforce’s Chatter functionality, and time entry within Cloud Coach.