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February 4, 2021

A Fast Guide to Quick Actions in Salesforce Lightning

Taking Action

Quick Actions are a straightforward but underutilized tool in the Salesforce admin toolbox. These nifty actions should be an admin’s best friend—they’re not hard to make, they’re simple for end users to use, and most importantly, they’re incredibly versatile. Generally, quick actions are used to make tasks (like creating records, logging calls, and sending emails) faster and easier for your end users.

The real beauty of Quick Actions is their ability to predefine values on new records, saving your end users from repetitive data entry tasks.

Quick Actions can also be used to launch Flows, Lightning Components, and Visualforce Pages from conveniently-located buttons in Salesforce.

There are two main types of Quick Actions: Object-Specific and Global.

Object-Specific Actions

Object-Specific Actions are exactly what they sound like: Quick Actions that perform a specific function based on a specific object.

Let’s say that your users are complaining about repetitive data-entry tasks. Every time they make an Opportunity type labeled “Recruitment,” they also manually fill out the same Stage, select a Close Date 30 days from now, and pull several fields from the related Account record. With a Quick Action, we can allow them to do all of that with a single click!

In the Object Manager, start on the object where you want this action to be placed (in this case, Account). Click “Buttons, Links, and Actions,” and then click on “New Action.”

From here, you can select “Create a Record” as the Action Type and select Opportunity as your “target object” (the object that will be created). You can write a custom success message if you’d like, which will appear on the screen when the user executes the action. Once the action is created, you can predefine fields to your heart’s content.

The last step is simply to place the Action on the relevant Account page layout under “Mobile and Lightning Actions.” Afterwards, it will appear as a clickable button in the highlight panel of an Account Record Page.

These Quick Actions can also be placed directly on Related Lists and List Views.

Global Actions

Global Actions are simply actions that can be used from almost anywhere within Salesforce. To create them, simply go to “Global Actions” in Setup and then follow the same steps as the Object-Specific Actions discussed above.

For extra accessibility, you can let your end users launch Global Actions right from the “+” in the top-right corner of Salesforce.

To place Global Actions in this menu, find “Publisher Layouts” in Setup. You can create multiple Publisher Layouts and assign them to different profiles so every user has a Global Action menu that is tailored to their needs.

In addition to the Global Actions Menu, these Quick Actions can be placed on Record Pages, Related Lists, and List Views. Be careful about using record-based merge fields in your Global Actions, as they will behave differently across different objects.

They’re Not Buttons

It can be easy to confuse Quick Actions with Custom Buttons, as they can be placed in many of the same places and generally look identical—their functions are different. Generally, an action should be used for doing something within Salesforce, like creating a record or launching an automation. Buttons, on the other hand, should be used to go somewhere, like clicking a hyperlink. Buttons and links, can redirect users elsewhere in Salesforce or even external websites.

Limitations of Quick Actions

Quick Actions are an awesome tool, but they are not a magical cure-all for your Salesforce woes. As with any tool on the platform, there are certain limitations that you might run into. For example, I’ve found that you can’t reference cross-object formula fields when predefining fields in an action. In cases like these, it’s best to find other ways of populating those fields, such as a Flow, Apex, or even the Lightning-friendly, URL-hack alternative that was released in the Spring ‘20 update.

We Can Help With So Much More Than Just Lightning

Bitwise Industries builds tech economies in underestimated cities, driving digital transformation through its Salesforce, DocuSign, and custom SaaS solutions. Developing innovative tech solutions, and training individuals living in underserved communities with in-demand tech skills to improve their standard of living is our mission. Centering our efforts in the heart of the downtowns of these overlooked cities, Bitwise is creating a place for the technology industry to take root and ignite local economies.

This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager for Bitwise Industries. You’ll find her emphatically singing a Backstreet Boys song in her living room as if she were performing on stage at Madison Square Garden.

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