Anyone who’s been working with the Salesforce platform will be aware of at least a handful of ways to share a Salesforce record – certainly anyone who has studied for the Certified Administrator exam!
There are 25+ ways to share record access in Salesforce, which may lead you to wonder why there is such a mind-boggling number of methods to choose from… Salesforce can cater for any record sharing use case, no matter how granular sharing frameworks need to be. Admins have great control over how to design their org privacy.
How Can You Share a Record in Salesforce?
First, what do we mean when we say “share a record”? “Share” could have three different interpretations, depending on who you ask. It could mean:
- Granting access to records for Salesforce standard/custom objects (which a Salesforce Admin controls).
- Granting access to records either based on record criteria or by choice, i.e. on a case-by-case basis (admins and users with permission).
- Drawing attention to a record (which any end-user with access to the record can do).
Before we split off into each of the three sections, here’s the list in full:
|Permission Sets||Personal Groups|
|Permission Set Groups||Manager Groups|
|Org-Wide Default||Sharing Sets (Site-Specific Sharing)|
|Role Hierarchy||Share Groups|
|Master-Detail Relationships||External Account Hierarchies|
|Record Owners||Super User Access|
|Sharing Rules (use Roles and Public Groups)||Apex-Based Record Sharing|
|Delegated Group (Delegated Administrator)||Report Subscribe
|Salesforce Queues||Dashboard “Viewing As”
|Account, Opportunity, and Case Teams||Print a Dashboard
|Enterprise Territory Management||Share a Record via Slack
How Admins Can Share Records in Salesforce (Access to Objects + Records)
Salesforce Admins sit at the ‘control center’ where they use a mixture of permissions (Create, Read, Edit, Delete, and field-level security) to make object access spot on for what their users should be able to view and edit. The way data relationships are formed can also grant access to additional records as a result.
This framework can get very granular, which is why a skilled Salesforce Admin is so valuable, not only to keep track, but also to optimize.
- Profile: Control what users can do in your Salesforce org. This can be referred to as CRED (Create, Read, Edit, Delete). For example, you may want some users in your org to read and edit Leads, but not delete them. CRED enables you to mix and match what a specific user can do with each object.
- Permission sets: Consider these add-ons for profiles. They offer flexibility in how you add certain permissions (objects, field-level security, page layouts, record types, apps, tabs) to certain users – almost like you are tagging an individual user or a small subset of users such as Super Users.
- Permission set groups: These allow permission sets to be grouped together and assigned to users.
- Org-wide default (OWD): The baseline visibility set for each object in your org. This determines the data visibility for Roles, opening up access to Salesforce records.
- Role hierarchy: This enables you to supersede (push past) the OWD, further opening up access to Salesforce records. It may help to think of roles being arranged into a hierarchy, following how users relate to each other in a hierarchy, e.g. the ‘VP of Sales’ is above the sales managers.
- Master-detail relationships: A strongly coupled relationship that allows the parent record to control child record attributes such as sharing and visibility. Whichever security setting you chose for the parent record, the child record inherits.
How to Share a Record (By Criteria or Choice)
This section applies to capabilities that grant access to records either based on record criteria or by choice (i.e. on a case-by-case basis). Both Salesforce Admins and end-users with the correct permissions can do this.
- Record Owners: Every record in Salesforce has an owner, which can be a specific user (or queue – featured later). Record ownership ‘stamps’ the name of the user responsible/owns the relationship clearly on the record. In terms of additional rights, becoming a record owner enables the user to share records. As you will realize reading this list, record owners are foundational to many of the other record-sharing frameworks.
- Sharing Rules (use Roles and Public Groups): This enables you to supersede (push past) the OWD, further opening up access to Salesforce records (just like the role hierarchy). You can create rules to open up access to records by either who owns or by the criteria of the record itself.
- Manual Sharing: Enables you to grant access to the specific record. There are important considerations to this type of sharing.
- Delegated Group (Delegated Administrator): Members of the Delegated Group are able to log in as other users without needing to be a System Administrator, for example, to troubleshoot user issues. Delegated Administrators are assigned limited admin duties to some of your users, allowing you to focus on other tasks.
- Salesforce Queues: Prioritize, distribute, and assign records for teams who share workloads – like holding areas in your CRM, where records wait for a user to pick them up. Admins can choose which users can become queue members; any queue members or users higher in a role hierarchy can take ownership of records in a queue.
- Account, Opportunity, and Case Teams: A group of users who work on an Account/Opportunity/Case together. Team members and their team roles are displayed in related lists (that are added to the applicable page layouts). There is the option to enable default teams that will add users automatically to accounts that a specific user creates or records that are transferred to them.
- Enterprise Territory Management: “Manage and maintain your company’s sales territories. Create territory types, build a model, and then add account assignment rules… assign users to territories that belong to models”. This is an advanced feature with many implications on user permissions, which must be reviewed carefully.
- Public groups: “A group can contain individual users, other groups, or the users in a particular role or territory. Administrators can create public groups. Everyone in the organization can use public groups.”
- Personal groups: Same as above, “a group can contain individual users, other groups, or the users in a particular role or territory. Each user can create groups for their personal use.”
- Manager groups: “You can use manager groups to share records with your management chain, instead of all managers in the same role based on the role hierarchy.”
How to Share a Record With Experience Cloud Users
- Sharing Sets (Site-Specific Sharing): “Grants site or portal users (in Experience Cloud) access to any record associated with an account or contact that matches the user’s account or contact.” Read more here.
- Share Groups: “Apply across Experience Cloud sites and are associated with sharing sets.” Read more here.
- External Account Hierarchies: “Work like Salesforce role hierarchies. Account records, owned by users with roles in child accounts that are part of an external account hierarchy, share data with the parent accounts in that hierarchy.” (Requires a Partner or Customer Community Plus license.) Read more here.
- Super User Access: “Grant this access to partner users to access more data and records, regardless of sharing rules and organization-wide defaults” (requires a Partner or Customer Community Plus license). Read more here.
How to Share a Record With Pardot Users (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement)
- Marketing Data Sharing Rules: These determine which records should sync to Pardot from Salesforce, and therefore become visible to Pardot users in the Pardot Lightning App.
How to Share a Record with Apex (Programmatic)
If all of the options you’ve read so far still aren’t enough to fulfill requirements, then code can be used (leveraging a developer’s skillset) to achieve highly complex sharing frameworks.
- Apex-based Record Sharing
Alternative Ways to Share Record Data
Thinking beyond the system ways to open or restrict access to objects and records, there are a handful of ways users can share record information by drawing attention to the records.
- Chatter: A collaboration tool built into the Salesforce user interface. Its features boost collaboration between users, mirroring that of a social media platform, by posting updates or comments on a record and drawing the attention of other users by tagging, @mentioning, and more.
- Subscribe to a report: Receive an email containing a report snapshot at a frequency you specify. Other users can create these reports knowing that they are automatically sharing the information with you.
- Dashboard “Viewing As”: Dashboards have a viewing user. The data that’s displayed on the dashboard is determined by that user’s security settings.
- Print a dashboard: Prefer old-school paper handouts? Here’s another way to share records with others that’s not so obvious.
There you have it – over 25 ways to share a record in Salesforce. From permission sets to super user access, Salesforce offers huge versatility; it caters for every possible sharing use case to give you greater control over the visibility and accessibility of your org.
How many of these methods have you used previously, and which are new to you? Let us know in the comments.