Creating Salesforce Custom Reports

You probably arrived at this piece as a result of a search for how to create Salesforce custom reports. One of the most frequently requested tutorials on their own website has been for a walkthrough of creating custom reports. For a long time, there was no easy way to do this, and it relied on third party extensions like a Crystal Reports integration or the like, to get it to work the way people would expect.

Well, in fairly recent times, Salesforce custom reports have become a native feature of Salesforce, as long as you’ve got the newest interface loaded (if you have access to Chatter, you have the new interface). Now, you’re looking for a tutorial for how to create these, but it’s so easy to do that I actually have room to cover that in just a paragraph or two, and then give you some advice on using this wisely. So, you get a bonus this time, because this is that simple. This is a five step process, and since we’ve covered making normal reports in the past, I’ll skip the handholding for every single task in the GUI this time.

So, first, go to create a new report for leads’ (do not select activities with leads’). Set up your usual dates, ownership filters etc. as we do with regular, non-custom reports like schedule reports salesforce suggests. So far, it’s no different, right? Well, it starts changing a tad after this point.

You may notice a triangular button on the right hand side of the normal  add’ button. This will summon a pop up menu with options like leads’, changing to without’ and changing to  activities’. With this, you can set combinations of cross references, data conversions and columnar editing, which allows you to design custom reports with a little bit more leeway than the standard report creation does, but it follows the same logic and conventions. So, if you’re used to regular report creation, this is just the same thing with a little more control.

Now, as for using this wisely … with this kind of control over report generation, it’s easy to get into a habit of excessive data, complex conversions and accumulations and the like, because you can. However, that’s a bad idea, because just as is the case with form creation, being concise with your data, rather than excessive or too processed reduces the confusion and makes the experience for the user more efficient all around.

Along with this, remember also that you need to tell people about these reports, so that those who would need them are aware they’ve been created. Also, make sure nobody else has created the same thing, because redundancy is wasteful of space and time alike.

You see, creating reports in salesforce is really no more complicated than creating standard reports. People continue to ask for this functionality because they are unaware it’s there and simple to use, because honestly, the way to get to it makes it less than blatantly obvious that it exists until someone points it out as I did. I hope this makes some of your lives easier, since it eliminates the need for some third party proprietary reporting formats once and for all.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.
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