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Salesforce Classic vs. Lightning: Is Anything Still Missing?

By Lucy Mazalon

Organizations using Salesforce Classic have been slowly reducing since Salesforce Lightning was released in 2016. While Salesforce have gradually phased out their development efforts and customer support for Salesforce Classic, customers were taking even longer to transition. The main reason for this is that Salesforce Lightning was not on par with Salesforce Classic, resulting in temporary functionality gaps and admin bugbears.

This article was originally published in February 2021, amid the Spring ‘21 release, and opened with the relief that manual sharing had been deployed to Lightning. As one of the most highly requested features, the “Sharing” button allows users to share a record with a user or group of users. While missing from Salesforce Lightning, users were switching back to Salesforce Classic to do what they needed.

On the other hand, some features were left behind in Classic. These have now been replaced by even better iterations of their predecessors. For example, account contact roles are now ‘contacts to multiple accounts’, which undoubtedly represents a significant functionality advancement.

As a result, it made me wonder: is anything still missing from Salesforce Lightning? Has it achieved parity with Salesforce Classic?

Salesforce Classic vs. Lightning: Background

In releasing the Salesforce Lightning Experience, 2016 was marked as a key milestone in the platform’s history – a complete redesign of the user interface that was touted to truly modernize Salesforce and to support Salesforce for the next 20 years.

Lightning is not an extension of Classic: “not a reskinning, updates of font and colours…moving to Lightning is a change management experience, it’s not a ‘lift and shift’”.

Alongside the enhanced interface, ‘Lightning’ also encompasses the Lightning Design System (HTML framework for building components) and the Salesforce Lightning App Builder (declarative app building and Lightning interface customization).

Compared to Salesforce Classic, its predecessor that had served Salesforce users for over a decade, Lightning supercharges admin/developer capabilities, is scalable, and… sexy.

Salesforce customers were tasked with migrating to Lightning by running the Lightning Readiness Assessment. The transition turned out easy for some; however, organizations with tons of custom code and Visualforce pages found themselves bogged down and unable to switch. Other reasons to resist were performance issues (i.e. page loading times) and – of course – functionality gaps.

Which Salesforce Classic Features are Missing from Lightning?

If you are looking for an in-depth comparison, this is the resource you’ve been hoping for. What I found mostly interesting was not where the gaps lie, but what we have gained with Salesforce Lightning! Features like path, activity timeline, kanban, news, row-level formulas, dashboard themes, and palettes are just a few examples of what we’ve gained with Salesforce Lightning.

If you want to take the investigation a step further, this page links out to “What’s Different or Not Available in Lightning Experience” for a number of categories, updated with each release.

Performance in Lightning vs. Classic

According to one respondent, the loading time for certain setup pages is longer in Lightning Experience compared to Classic: “Page loading time for some setup pages, like Profiles, takes more time in Lightning than in Classic”.

A True to The Core Live session revealed that this has been a focus for the platform product development teams over the past four years. And it will continue to be – you only need to read the “Lightning Speed Please” to see how hot this topic is.

READ MORE: How Salesforce Develop Their Platform (True to The Core)

But there’s some positive news. Over four years, median page load times improved by 60% – as this is a median figure, some orgs have seen even greater improvements! According to a Salesforce employee, the median time to load a Lightning page was 1.4 seconds – and in many cases, page load times in Lightning are as fast, or even faster than Classic.

While the teams work tirelessly to improve this, some of the responsibility has been handed to Salesforce customers. Admins now have the ”Analyze” button to identify how to improve page load speed, keeping within the bounds of best practice page composition.

READ MORE: The Analyze Button: Improve Your Salesforce Lightning Page Load Speed

And yes, it’s not just Salesforce’s responsibility. Users’ browser speed, network latency, and number of cores are all contributing factors that Salesforce can’t control.

Salesforce Reports and Dashboards

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Lightning report builder. From my experience, I seem to be able to find all the functionality much more easily compared to Classic. Would you agree?

This thread on the Trailblazer Community airs some grievances, which include making changes to the existing reports with formulas and errors being unexpectedly thrown, and the steps to add row limits being more long-winded than Classic.

Previously, someone flagged that they were not able to ‘follow’ reports. Instead of following reports, users can ‘subscribe’ for report notifications and ‘favorite’ reports in Salesforce Lightning.

The following report and dashboard features were available in Classic, but aren’t in Lightning:

  • Pie Chart in report charts.
  • Product standard filter for the Opportunities with Contact Roles and Products report type.
  • Visualforce components on dashboards.
  • “Select a Campaign” on the “Show Me” filter for Campaign report types. Instead, using “Campaign Name” as a filter.

Report and Dashboard Performance

Everyone knows that Reports and Dashboards are one of the major selling points of Salesforce. Personally, I love the Lightning report builder – compare it to Salesforce Classic, and it’s day vs. night to me.

“I want to love Reports and Dashboards in LEX but they are too damn slow! The amount of times I’ve switched back to Salesforce Classic recently to run reports is shocking.”

Again, Salesforce took a step in the right direction the “Update Preview Automatically” toggle. The open-ended question here is whether users consider this enough to embrace Lightning reports as equals to Classic reports?

Edit Page Layout Directly from the Record

In Classic, admins could launch the page layout edit directly from the record – rather than going into Setup, locating the object, going to the page layout section, and locating the specific layout. That’s many clicks. This shortcut was especially helpful when there were many layouts and record types.

The good news is that Dynamic Forms will mostly solve this, which is now available for select standard objects. Multiple page layouts will become a worry of the past once Dynamic Forms are available for all objects.

READ MORE: Salesforce Dynamic Forms: Overview & Deep Dive Tutorial

Sales Cloud

Since we last asked what’s missing in Lightning, now we have Opportunity split details available in the Opportunities list. The main differences that still stand are:

  • Similar Opportunities: Not planned; however, there is a Salesforce Labs app available for free on the AppExchange (the reviews aren’t promising).
  • “Campaign Lookup” field on Leads.

See the full comparison here.

Similar Opportunities setup in Salesforce Classic (image credit)

Service Cloud

When it comes to Service Cloud, the primary differences that continue to exist are:

  • Although Entitlements are in Lightning, they are not like-for-like with Classic.
  • Management of Entitlements and Milestones (and everything related).
  • Service Console: Features such as interaction logs, custom keyboard shortcuts, and ‘forget open tabs’ are either missing or not like-for-like with Classic.
  • Solutions/SOS: SOS was retired in 2019.

See the full comparison here.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Entitlements and Milestones in Service Cloud
Salesforce SOS (image credit)


  • Errors for Apex Classes: Errors are more detailed in Classic, something important for developers working with highly custom implementations.
  • Tasks that repeat every weekday.
  • Search results – Advanced Search/Sidebar Search/Pin Objects: Einstein Search has superseded these Classic search features.
  • Extended Mail Merge: Generates mail merge Word documents with data from Contacts, Leads, and other Salesforce records.
READ MORE: Get Started Today With Einstein Search


Lightning is not an extension of Salesforce Classic. Although, at first glance, one may think it’s a reskinning of Salesforce, the complete redesign of the user interface is intended to support Salesforce for the next 20 years – and with it, the Lightning Design System and Salesforce Lightning App Builder.

As Salesforce release Lightning versions of Classic features, or supersede Classic predecessors with better functionality, we must bear in mind that the product teams have to content with prioritization and dependencies – plus always choosing longer-term benefits over shorter-term gains when faced with trade-offs.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.


    February 17, 2021 3:28 pm
    What about merging duplicates? Not everyone can use Duplicate Management. As an admin, I find that I do have to switch to Classic more than I'd like. Another issue: if a field is changed such as a picklist value is removed or changed, the field is deleted, you cannot open a Lightning Report that had that field. Sure, that shouldn't happen, but it does. Sooooo, you switch to Classic to fix the filters, then switch back to Lightning. I also find myself switching to Classic to create a report if I need to add a lot of fields. Lightning is far too slow. I can grab several fields in Classic and drag them over. Not in Lightning. Running reports is also very slow if you have a lot of records in a particular object. It helps some to switch to Classic. There are others, I know there are. But that's enough for now!
    Cindy Reynolds
    February 17, 2021 3:45 pm
    For Navigation, the top-down tab-key order is not supported in LEX. Last update from SF on tis IDEA was 3 years ago saying it was on the Roadmap. The idea has over 12,000 points - will it ever be introduced?
    Ellen Taussig
    February 17, 2021 3:45 pm
    What about mass approvals? Am I missing new functionality in Lightning?
    Kathy DiMarco
    February 17, 2021 3:51 pm
    I've not yet found an equal replacement to the Account Owner Report in Classic. If you know of something, please share.
    Jess C
    February 17, 2021 3:53 pm
    the ability to merge accounts is far superior in Classic than Lightning.
    February 17, 2021 4:08 pm
    I also find that I couldn’t auto refresh dashboards is this now available? Also I couldn’t access salesforce to salesforce. It’s just super slow as well isn’t it. I hate the fact that I can make page changes and it can take a while for it to show. I hate I ha e to watch a tab in report builder to get it to shoe an example. I find lightning quite disappointing in many places especially due to speed. Making a report is slower in my opinion. Dashboards are way nicer obviously but yep, I couldn’t find a way to auto refresh them without going into lightning but that’s probably a user error. Classic email templates, I’m not sure about that either and how easy that was.
    Kate DiMeco
    February 17, 2021 4:42 pm
    I feel like merging accounts and contacts should be corrected in lightning to be like classic.
    February 17, 2021 5:22 pm
    Unlocking quotes for CPQ still need to be done in Classic
    February 17, 2021 5:44 pm
    Has anyone found account merge in lightning? It is the last thing I switch to Classic for!
    February 17, 2021 6:01 pm
    I’ve been working as a Salesforce admin for about 10 years. Working in Lightning sucks. Navigating and just looking at classic is a million times better.
    February 18, 2021 4:23 am
    When Documents evolved into Files, the Externally Available feature (checkbox on the Document) went missing. To add a Logo or a Signature image to an email template, and have it render in the recipient's Outlook - still required switching to Classic and creating a Document. Has there been developed a solution to that? Or is one on the roadmap?
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:07 am
    Hi Ellen, Do you mean the Mass Transfer Approval Processes option in Setup? If so, this is available in Lightning. Christine
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:09 am
    Hi Kathy, The Account Owner Report is available in Lightning: Christine
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:10 am
    Thanks for your comments Karen! I agree that duplicate management is more difficult in Lighting.
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:16 am
    Hi Jess, Duplicate management in Classic does feel more intuitive and less 'clicks'!
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:19 am
    Hi Scott, Auto refresh appears to have been replaced with just the option to subscribe:
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:20 am
    Hi Kate, Agree that merging in Lightning seems less intuitive and requires more clicks!
    Christine Marshall
    February 18, 2021 9:21 am
    Hi Anna, You can use Duplicate Records Sets to merge Accounts (and other objects). It's a standard object you can find in the App Launcher menu. Best, Christine
    Becky Thomas
    February 18, 2021 7:38 pm
    Ideas does not seem available for Lightning?
    Mary Butlin
    February 19, 2021 3:54 pm
    Brilliant idea for an article, thanks Lucy. Like the others - I don't think there is a way in Lightning to merge two accounts (that you know need to be merged but may not match any auto-rules). Let me know if I'm missing a way to manually merge two accounts (which you know to select) in Lightning - I'm always switching back to Classic for this. I use this a lot for NPSP clients when we want to merge the accounts before merging or grouping contacts. I echo the thoughts around reporting - particularly the ability you have in Classic to multi-select fields quickly, I haven't found a way to do this in Lightning which makes report creation painfully slow (e.g. to pull in all the fields pre-fixed with a particular label).
    Christine Marshall
    February 19, 2021 4:25 pm
    Hi Mary! You can use Duplicate Records Sets to merge Accounts (and other objects). It’s a standard object you can find in the App Launcher menu. Best, Christine
    Christine Marshall
    February 19, 2021 4:27 pm
    Hi Becky! Ideas is not currently supported in Lightning and unfortunately there are no plans to change this:
    Tim Shutteworth
    February 24, 2021 5:12 am
    I was trying to write a Macro to make it easier for some counsellors at a NFP. It just would take away some many clicks but, I can't as you can't assign a task to a queue in a Macro in Lightning. You can do it to an indivdual but, not a queue. Quiet annoying. If anyone wants to help get the issue rectified, please go here:
    February 24, 2021 5:16 am
    How is the account contact roles different than relationships and affiliations?
    February 25, 2021 1:32 pm
    Only in Classic it's possible to configure a single prefix on standard fields like CaseNumber on Case or OrderNumber on Order. It's not possible in Lightning :(
    PJ Maman
    March 03, 2021 3:39 pm
    PJ Maman
    March 03, 2021 3:42 pm
    I miss the logical organization of the NAV (ADMINISTER>BUILD) etc.
    Emma Keeling
    March 03, 2021 11:12 pm
    Great article! I’m glad I’m not alone feeling that the lightning report builder is SO slow, I end up doing almost everything in Classic - except for when I’m training users on report building...why...because the Lightning UI is 100% better, but I need speed day to day!
    Christine Marshall
    March 05, 2021 11:38 am
    Thanks for the great feedback!
    Christine Marshall
    March 05, 2021 11:39 am
    Hi! Are you saying that the add notes functionality is still missing?
    Alastair Dinning
    March 09, 2021 3:36 pm
    Knowledge Article Creation from a Case is standard functionality in Classic, but I can't find the how you can take a Case in Lightning as the basis of an article. We may have to resort to Visual Flow to do this.
    March 19, 2021 10:01 am
    Tags are still missing AFAIK
    Christine Marshall
    March 19, 2021 10:11 am
    I think they would probably advise you move to topics:
    Don Lowry
    April 02, 2021 8:28 pm
    Topics just don't compare to tags. Wat CRM doesn't offer tags or keywords these days along with the ability to run reports and create lists from a tag search?
    Jeffrey Sovelove
    April 08, 2021 5:05 pm
    The ability to sort by subtotal on reports and PIE CHARTS!
    Cindy Oberg-Hauser
    April 21, 2021 4:26 pm
    I really dislike the mashup of Classic and Lightning for email templates. The library settings make it very difficult to search for and find even new templates.
    Kaleb Anderson
    June 01, 2021 5:00 pm
    Push notifications or live list refresh is missing from Lightning Console. I've seen it's in the roadmap somewhere, but the fact that the Classic Service Console allows for items to be updated or removed from a list and Lightning doesn't means that many Service Cloud teams will stay in Classic until this idea is delivered: Please vote for it and consider this "missing" in every sense from Lightning.
    Steve Early
    July 20, 2021 11:52 pm
    If I want to get anything done, I go back to Classic. In Classic there are so many ways to get from here to there quickly and make a change. To me, Lightning is 1 step forward and 3 steps back. It might be "pretty" and have "more features", but the path to get stuff done is a rocky road. And page load times? Fughetaboutit!!
    December 08, 2021 5:57 am
    Why solution tab is not reflecting in Lightening?
    Todd Seward
    February 27, 2022 11:51 pm
    What happened to case solutions in Lightning? I find the Lighting interface clunky and simply nonintuitive. (To be honest, sometimes we use a Solution when closing a case, sometimes the details around why the case was closed are in the latest email in the history, and finally, some of our team members use the case comments.) I often use Solutions, as that makes the most sense to me. Where did they go?
    Konstantin V.
    February 23, 2023 4:07 am
    How about every objects Fields & Relationships section - can't tell standard vs custom vs installed package field; last modified date and by whom. Also, the Compact View should definitely apply to this poorly designed set-up page. This cannot be that difficult to add.

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