Salesforce Files vs Notes and Attachments

By Ines Garcia

Salesforce Files were first introduced in the Winter 16′ Release. When Spring ’17 was announced, it was suggested that Notes and Attachments would become obsolete. Instead, Files would be the sharing tool of the future.

Let’s take a look at the update in more detail, from the main benefits to the key differences between Files, Notes and Attachments.

What Are Salesforce Files?

Files were brought in as a powerful way to manage documents in Salesforce. Other options (such as attachments and documents) were not as flexible and needed to evolve with the times.

Salesforce Files allows users to “share and collaborate on files, store files privately, manage version updates, and follow files that are important” to them.

Salesforce Files - Owned by Me

What Are the Differences Between Files and Attachments in Salesforce?

Files are more versatile and provide better functionality than attachments. Most of the innovation and enhancements around content management are being applied to Files. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Sharing capabilities: share a file with users, groups, or records without giving ‘all attachments’ access
  • Size: up to 2GB (other options go from 20KB to 2GB depending on the API used)
  • Version Control
  • Optimized for Lightning
  • Share with multiple records and users
  • Collaboration via chatter feed
  • Preview and options

For reference, here are some key differences between Files, Salesforce CRM Content, Salesforce Knowledge, Documents, and Attachments.

How Do I View Files in Salesforce?

Whether you’re working in Salesforce Classic or Lightning Experience, the Files related list is the way forward for attaching files to records and groups. If you don’t see the Files related list on a record, just add it to the page layout for that record type. In Lightning Experience the Files related list will display attachments too.

We have previously covered some of the great apps available for free thanks to Salesforce Labs: a program that lets engineers, professional services staff, and other employees share AppExchange apps they’ve created, like the Agile Accelerator or the Trailhead Tracker.

So, within the concept of ‘Files are the future’, I just came across this awesome listing in the AppExchange freely available to aid your migration to Lightning: Magic Mover for Notes And Attachments to Lightning Experience.

By installing this app you can do bulk conversions of attachments to Files – it even allows you to convert your attachments to files in batches based upon the record type they are associated with. Thank you Salesforce Labs!


It’s well worth exploring Salesforce Files to see how it could streamline the way you share and collaborate on files. Don’t get stuck in the past; Files are the future, and the future is here.

The Author

Ines Garcia

Ines Garcia founder of , is an Agile Coach, Certified Scrum Professional (CSP®-SM) and a Salesforce MVP, together helps organisations to become more agile.


    October 31, 2017 4:31 pm
    For a conversion app, definitely check out the two on the page below. Doug Ayers did a great job!
    October 31, 2017 4:57 pm
    Does this affect our links to Google documents?
    Deb Van Zegeren
    October 31, 2017 5:34 pm
    Just want to mention that Doug Ayers has also built a couple of really good apps for transferring Notes & Attachments to the new Files and Enhanced notes. I used his app for moving approx 7000 files and it was easy and accurate. Here are links: Attachments to Files: Notes to Enhanced Notes: If you're going to Dreamforce, Doug will be presenting his sure to check it out! Tell him Deb from CLF sent you!
    Alecia Teel
    October 31, 2017 5:56 pm
    Is there a free app that would move attachments to files with the Professional version of Salesforce?
    November 01, 2017 7:12 am
    I'm also interested on the impact of this on Google Docs integration. I realize that SFDC will most like suggest Quip as a solution but that's not a solve for what I need right now.
    Kamal Thakur
    November 01, 2017 4:14 pm
    I was about going R&D about Files Vs. Attachment topic and you drop this post in my inbox. That's timing. Great Article though. Keep it up ben
    Kamal Thakur
    November 01, 2017 4:17 pm
    Great Share, will definitely check out this links.
    Rob Grigorian
    November 07, 2017 8:48 am
    I have the same issue with Professional Edition, I've not found a way around it so have had to leave the 'Notes and Attachments' related list visible for now (and it's impeding the move to Lightning...) If anyone has a solution please let me know!
    Doug Ayers
    November 18, 2017 5:31 am
    Thanks for sharing, Ben!
    Doug Ayers
    November 18, 2017 5:33 am
    Hi Pam, If you are using "Google Docs, Notes, & Attachments" you can convert those to Files by configuring (free) Files Connect to your G-Suite account. Instructions at
    Doug Ayers
    November 18, 2017 6:12 am
    Hi Rob and Alecia, If you can get API enabled for your org, even temporarily, then you may be able to use Salsforce's Data Loader to export your Notes & Attachments then re-import as Files and Enhanced Notes. It wouldn't necessarily be fun but until an ISV creates a PE approved app then I think getting API enabled is best bet. Doug
    Tate Hamilton
    November 20, 2017 4:44 pm
    Hi Ben! Out of curiosity, do you know if Salesforce has any plans to make the Files related list automatically display attachments in email-to-case. Right now we are using the attachments related list on Case because when submitted via web-to-case, any email attachments automatically show there.
    April 25, 2018 3:46 pm
    Im not seeing the option to put in a Google Link on the Files related list. Is there an app or configuration for that?
    May 30, 2018 7:54 pm
    Does anyone know when this is taking place? It's been on our list of "things to do" and keeps getting pushed back due to business needs. We still use Classic and haven't committed to go to Lightning yet. So will this affect Classic too?
    June 22, 2018 2:38 am
    Hi, we have a Email to Case functionality in my org.Attachments coming from emails are not converting to files in Lightning.Is there any workaround for this?Please suggest. Thanks.
    July 12, 2018 8:07 am
    We were using the attachments for a customization which later we switched to files but one thing I am curious is the new file shows up in both notes& attachments as well as files. Any idea about why this shows up in both places. Checked in both classic and lightning its same in both.
    Eric Pohlabel
    June 14, 2019 8:02 pm
    Does anyone know a way to report on "Case with Files", possibly even show some file information (created date, name)?
    Sonam Meshram
    January 16, 2020 1:46 pm
    Hello All, If you want to download all the attachments for certain records, I came across the newly developed app in AppExchange where you can download almost any Attachment or File under one or multiple records all at once. The App also support download of Static Resource & Documents too. Please have a look on:
    Chris G
    April 04, 2022 7:35 pm
    We still have groups using Classic, others in Lightning. Is there any way to show the legacy Classic Notes & Attachments to the Lightning users without them having to switch to Classic? Code/no code options?
    Mcihelle Vose
    May 11, 2022 4:13 pm
    Magic Mover has great potential for converting the attachments. However, I'm struggling with converting attachments for the EmailAttachments object. Each time I think we have it figured out, something else comes to our attention which it seems is not handled by the Magic Mover. Does anyone have any insight on how to convert the attachments for these additional objects?
    five nights at freddy's
    August 26, 2022 8:07 am
    Hi Ben! Do you know whether Salesforce has any plans to automatically show attachments in email-to-case in the Files associated list? We are now utilizing the attachments related list on Case since any email attachments are immediately shown there when sent through web-to-case.
    May 31, 2023 8:17 pm
    Hello Mcihelle, If you use Outlook Plugins and log an email while sending then you will see this under "Activity History" in Salesforce so no need to worry about converting EmailAttachments. Hope this helps.

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