Creating Reports in Salesforce

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Following on from my post 5 Killer Salesforce User Tips; Creating Reports in Salesforce is probably my favourite and the one I would recommend users of Salesforce to concentrate most on. There are a few reasons for this, the only other ways to get specific data out of Salesforce is List views and Searching. List views are fine for small chunks of data but you cannot see specific stats, e.g. revenue total of pipeline. Searching to find data can obviously only find singular records or groups of records linked by a common name or similar. Reports on the other hand can find all the records you want to see, you can run stats, see visual graphs, put this data onto Dashboards and of course will update themselves as data in Salesforce changes. Over my years speaking to Salesforce users quite a few of them take a looks at the reports tab and give up after just looking at the daunting screen, others give it a go but never really go further than creating a few basic reports that doesn’t really show them what they want. This is completely understandable as if you are never shown then how are you to know, but hopefully this guide can explain a few key bits about how to use reports. HINT – It’s seriously easy.

Creating Reports in Salesforce

Most of you are probably familiar with the Reports tab, if its not along the top as a tab, then you can click on the + sign which will take you to All Tabs, you can find reports there. Once there you can click on New Report and you will be presented with this screen. Here you can select which Objects you would like to report on, you can see a few examples below. If you wish to report on Custom objects then you might have to ask your administrator to enable this for you. You can only report on Objects that are related to one another, if you cannot find the particular report you would like to work on then its best to ask your administrator. Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 19.56.20Once you have selected your report and hit next you are confronted with that dreaded report screen, at this point quite a lot of people just hit close and ask someone else to do it! Once you understand what the different sections of this screen do, its dead easy to throw together a report in less than 5 minutes and give you the exact stats you are after. I’ll dissect each section of the screen below as each part has different functions that all work together. EditedReport 1. The first section is pretty straight  forward. This is a list of the available fields that you can report on from your selected objects. You can drag and drop these fields into different areas on the report page to add in filters and columns which I will talk about a bit later. The icons next to the fields indicate what kind of field it is (It helps you identify fields if you have the same name). The “a” represents text, the “#” a number and the calendar symbol is a date/time field.  If you cannot find a particular field then you might not have permissions to view it or you might need to ask your administrator to add it in. 2. The second section is the filter section. This is where you can filter your report to only show the records that you need. There are a lot of different options here and they can differ depending on the Object you are reporting on. I’ve chosen Opportunities as an example as this has the most variables. In the image below you can see the different filters available to you, from the drop down this is where you can filter whose records you see, everyones, your teams or just your own. You can also filter by Probability Percentage e.g. Below or above 80% etc. Also Opportunity Stage (Open, Closed, Closed Won) you can also drag and drop Opportunity Stage into the section below if you wish to report on more stages. Lastly you can report on the date ranges which is probably the most important. You have two choices here, a fixed value which you can input manually or create a report which is a bit more dynamic, if you click on the drop down which in the picture has Current FQ you can choose between values like Today, Yesterday, Last Week, Month, Year etc…. Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 20.54.57 3.  This is the preview section. This area will give you a preview of your report if it is over 50 records, if its under 50 records it will pretty much show you your whole report. You can interact with the preview area by dragging and dropping fields in from section 1 in the place where you would like them to appear. You can also interact by the fields by hovering over them and clicking the drop down menu, here you can sort the fields, group the fields and also Summarise. Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 21.49.57


Different types of reports

There are four types of reports you can create in Salesforce, Tabular, Summary,Matrix and Joined Reports. Each are best suited for showing different types of data depending on what you want out of a report. Tabular – The images that I have shown you in this post have all been from a tabular report. This is the simplest of reports and is suited to just showing lines of data and nothing else. If you just want to show data with no preference to seeing totals, calulations or groups of data then this is the report for you just to keep it simple. It is also best to use this report type if you are planning to use it to export data. Summary – As soon as you click “Group by this field” as shown in the above image, you will turn the report into a summary report. Summary reports are probably the most commonly used and are great for showing groups of data e.g. If you want to see your recent accounts opportunities they will be grouped by account and you can see each opportunity under the account. From then you can do calculations, you can see the total amount of sales under an account, you can see the maximum, minimum and also average amount. You can also sub group fields by dragging them under the initial group. Matrix – Matrix reports are very similar to Summary but they allow you to group by rows as well as columns to see different totals. Matrix reports aren’t commonly used unless you have to display lots of complex data. Joined Reports – Joined reports allow you to create two separate reports so that you can compare data. Again not most commonly used.

3 thoughts on “Creating Reports in Salesforce

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for providing this information! However, it’s not intuitive what types of reports will provide what type of information. I have been wracking my brain and effing about with Salesforce for hours, in order to produce what I thought would be a fairly straightforward report, showing Accounts within a given time frame, where the Owner changed from one of our SDRs to a BDM and back to the SDR (due to a cancelled / no-show webinar Event.)

    Using the given fields, I have been unsuccessful in creating this in Account Reports (where it would be, logically) nor in an Activities report.

    Given the info above, can you advise which type of report would provide the stats I’m looking for? Thank you! (Happy to promote / share your blog in exchange.)

  2. Avatar

    Hi, Ben, is there a row number limitation in SF reports? A report on All Accounts we tried to create showed an error message saying there is more than 2000 lines and report can not be completed. Is this some kind of setting or general limitation/rule? Thanks

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