As a new admin, you will soon notice that the entire business relies on you more than you might think. Learning the skills of an admin and really understanding your implementation and the Salesforce platform can take time, so we want to ease the burden for you over the next few blog posts to signpost some important aspects to consider on this journey!
Field History Tracking
Field history tracking allows you to track the changes that are made to fields by users. When you enable it, Salesforce will show tracking logs for the date and time of each change, the user making the change and, in most cases, the old and new values.
Changes will only start to be tracked after you have enabled the feature in the first place and the feature is enabled on an object-by-object basis.
To enable the feature, navigate to ‘Setup’ -> ‘Object Manager’ -> ‘Object – e.g., Account’ and then click on the ‘Set History Tracking’ button.
Check the ‘Enable Object History’ checkbox and specify which fields you want to track. Field history tracking allows you to track the changes on up to 20 standard or custom fields per object.
In the example below, you can see that I am tracking the changes to the ‘Account Name,’ ‘Account Owner,’ ‘Rating’ and ‘Description’ fields.
When you are done, press ‘Save’ and the changes will start getting tracked.
Note, however, that some fields track the fact that changes have been made only. For example, the ‘Description’ field I am tracking above will only track the fact that a change has been made. It will not show the specific changes. This is because the field is a long text area field and tracking changes to this type of field could end up having implications on your storage.
Once you have enabled the tracking, there is one decisive step to do before you can see the tracking logs. You need to add the history related list to the relevant page layouts.
You can do this by navigating to ‘Setup’ -> ‘Object Manager’ -> ‘Object – e.g., Account’ ->
Page Layouts and then selecting the relevant page layout where you want this related list to be displayed.
Then, simply drag the ‘Object History’ (e.g., Account History) related list onto the page layout from the Related List section in the page layout palette and press ‘Save.’
Notice that you cannot customise the related list.
At this point, you are now able to admire your handiwork!
Navigate to a relevant record and note the new related list. As and when changes are made to the fields that you selected to track, you will notice the logs populate accordingly. Field history tracking has so many valuable use cases ranging from compliance and auditing, having accurate visibility of customers data and history, and even assisting the troubleshooting of simple record update errors. We recommend that you keep track of changes on your most important fields from the outset. For example, the record ownership fields on the main objects are of particular importance as it allows you (or managers) to understand accountability of a record. Another thing to consider when setting this feature up are any fields you use for tracking the ‘stages or lifecycle of a record and any fields that are needed for audit or legal purposes.
Finally, be aware that you can report on field history tracking by using the object history report types.
For more on Field History tracking, be sure to check out the Salesforce documentation at Salesforce Help – Field History Tracking.
Kevin Paul is Head of Professional Services at Ribbonfish. He has over a decade worth of experience in Information Technology in a variety of roles including consulting & implementation, training, business analysis and project management.
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