Back to Basics: Building Reports

back-to-basics-with-titles-10Welcome to the sixth edition of the Back to Basics series!  The Back to Basics series comprises the topics that will help get you to get started in your Salesforce journey but will also serve as a reminder for seasoned users who want to revisit Salesforce core functionality.

Last week I wrote about Search Options.  This week’s edition is an introduction to creating Reports in Salesforce Classic.


With the wealth of information in your Salesforce Org, it is vital that your Users know how to view the data relevant to them and important to them.  One of the most valuable functions in Salesforce is the reporting function.  Not only do you have access to a whole host of pre-built Reports which you can run as is or customize, you have the ability to create Custom Reports specific to Users’ requirements.

There will undoubtedly be requirements for Users to have access to Reports and Dashboards and to use this information as the basis for meetings with managers.  The first step to complete before building any Reports or Dashboards for Users is to find out what their reporting needs are.  Start at the top: what do the C-suite want to see?  What do the Managers want to see?  By starting at the top, you will cut out having to create unnecessary Reports for teams/Users further down the Org hierarchy.

A particular group of Users for whom Reports and Dashboards are of the highest importance are Sales teams.  They need accurate, up to date information at their fingertips and they need to be able to access that information quickly and easily.  It is likely that they will want to access certain Dashboards while they are on the road or just before a client visit.


Luckily, there are numerous standard Reports already created for you in your Org.  These Reports are great and will give you the information you need.  Note that you can edit these Reports and save them under a different name in a different folder.

For this scenario, I want to create a new Report to show Contact records with a Last Modified Date of 120 days ago.  The purpose of this Report is to help with a data quality task I’m working on in which if the record hasn’t been modified within the last 120 days, then I need to follow up with the Contact Owner to get clarification on the current relationship.

To begin working on Reports, go to the Reports tab [Note: if you don’t see the Reports object in your Tab bar, click the + icon to access the object that way].


Next, click New Report [1]


We now need to select the Report template that will be the basis of this new Report.  For this scenario, lets choose the Contacts & Accounts Report Type [1].


After clicking Create, you will be taken to the Report Builder.


This is where you bring your Report to life with filters!  Let’s start by ensuring that the results will be for all Accounts by selecting All Accounts from the Show field drop down menu [1] then selecting the Last Modified Date from the Date Field drop down menu [2].  Our scenario is for Contact records that were last modified a year ago.  To add this filter, I change the Range from Custom to Previous CY using the drop down menu [3].


I want to ensure that I’m only looking at records which have been tagged as Active using a custom field.  To do this, I need to add an additional filter.  Using the Quick Find search box in the Fields pane I search for “Active” then drag the field to the Filter area and complete the Filter by adding “equals True”.


When I click OK, the results will begin to populate even though we are still in preview mode.

To simplify this Report so that only key fields are visible, I’ll remove all the address and phone fields [Tip: hold down Ctrl and click all the fields you want to remove then drag them to the Fields pane on the left].  Now, if like me you like to see that your filters are working correctly, you can add the fields you’re filtering on to the Report for a quick visual confirmation.  So I’ll add the Active and Last Modified Date fields to the Preview pane.

In order to add a Chart to this Report (which will be used when we create a Dashboard) we need to change the Report Type from a Tabular Format to a Summary Format.  I want to group by the Last Modified Date so I hover over Last Modified Date, click the arrow and select Group by this Field.  Note the change results in the Preview pane.


We now have the Add Chart option available to us.


For this scenario, I want to add a vertical bar chart with the title “Contacts Last Modified 120 Days” [1].  The Chart should be displayed at the top of the Report page [2].


Click OK to add your Chart to the Report then click Run to see how your Report is looking.  If you have a lot of records in your results, you may want to click Hide Details to collapse the results so only the summary header is visible (in this case, the Last Modified Date).

So there we have it, a Report to show active Contact records which were last modified within the last 120 days.

There is a long list of standard Reports available which can be found here:

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Back to Basics edition.  Look out for the next Blog of this series titled “An Introduction to Building Dashboards”.

Useful links:

Trailhead Getting Started with Reports and Dashboards –

Using the Drag and Drop Report Builder –


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