Salesforce Files vs Notes and Attachments

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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.

21 thoughts on “Salesforce Files vs Notes and Attachments

    1. 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.

  1. 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 apps…be sure to check it out! Tell him Deb from CLF sent you!

    1. 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!

  2. 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.



    Im not seeing the option to put in a Google Link on the Files related list. Is there an app or configuration for that?

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Does anyone know a way to report on “Case with Files”, possibly even show some file information (created date, name)?

  8. 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:

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

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