create great salesforce reports through custom report types

Standard Report Vs Custom Report Types and their Limits

As a Salesforce Admin, you can either create standard reports or build custom reports that can meet the exact needs of the users in your organization. Reports help our users visualize and assess data. However, often times the Standard Report types have limitations, such as its 4 object limit and it can only handle very specific reporting scenarios that you can only view the related list of records for the object at the bottom of the hierarchy.

standard custom reports diagram

However, with Custom Report types, you have up to 60 object references that will allow you to move up the data architecture hierarchy and navigate to almost all of the objects you have in your system.

custom report types graph

Now, let’s create a Report with the use of a Custom Report Type

1. Setup a Custom Report Type
  1. From Setup, enter Report Types on the Quick Find box, then select Report Type
      • new custom report type
    1. If this is your first time accessing the Report Type page, you will be prompted with an introduction as to what a Custom Report Type is. Simply click on the “Don’t show me this page again” checkbox if you don’t want to be prompted again, then click Continue.
      • setup sf report tutorial
    2. Click the New Custom Report Type.
      • new custom report type
    3. Based on the architecture hierarchy above, start from the bottom, and choose the primary object that you would like to set up a report with.
      1. Enter the Report Type Label and the Report Type Name. The label has a 50-character limit. If you enter more than that, the name gets shortened because the name is used by the SOAP API.
      2. Add a helpful description for your future reference. This field has a 255-character limit, hence create a meaningful description that will give your users an idea of the available data in this report. For example: “Opportunities Report. Report on giving records with related accounts, contacts, and campaigns” If it’s more than the allowable limit, then your description gets automatically shortened.
      3. Select the category you want to store this report.
      4. For the development status, you can mark it as “In Development” until you’re ready to make it available for your users.
        • sf report type development
    4. Click Next.

According to Salesforce, here are some important Tips to remember:

  • You can choose from all objects—even those you don’t have permission to view. This lets you build report types for a variety of users.
  • Once you save a report type, you can’t change the primary object.
  • If the primary object on a report type is a custom or external object, and that object is deleted, the report type and reports created from it are deleted.
  • If you remove an object from a report type, all references to that object and its associated objects are removed from the reports and dashboards based on that type.
  • The name of the primary object is derived from the plural label field. The names of any related objects are derived from either the related list label field or the custom field that defines its relationship to the primary object.
2. Define your Report Records Set.
  1. Based on the data architecture hierarchy above, we recommend starting from the bottom to have access to almost all data related to the primary object. There is no need to add Child Objects in defining your report records set but you can still do so if you want to be specific with the relationships in the custom report being created.

For this example, leave the Primary object as it is and then click Save.

defining sf report records

  1. However, you have the option to add Child Objects to your Custom Report Type. You can do that by following the next steps.
    1. Click the box under the Primary Object
    2. Select a child object. Note that only related objects shown.
    3. Select any of the following criteria:
      • Each “A” record must have at least one related “B” record. Only parent records with child records are shown in the report.
      • “A” records may or may not have related “B” records. Parent records are shown, whether or not they have child records.
        • a b records salesforce
    4. You can add up to three child objects depending on the objects you choose
    5. Click Save.
3. Design the Field Layout

You can create the sections and specify the standard and custom fields you want to display in your report.

  1. On the Fields Available For Reports Section of the Custom Report Type you created, click Edit Layout.

Note: Regardless of your permission, you will see all fields and objects related to your report but you can only access or see the data you have permission to view and access.

    • design sf field layout
  1. You can Create Sections to group the fields on your report. Scroll down to the end part of the Setup page and click Create New Section.
    • create new sf section
  2. A pop-up window will appear where you can enter your Section’s Name, then Click OK.
    • edit sf section
  3. A new section will now appear where you can add fields to
    • new sf section
  4. Select the additional fields you want to add on your report by selecting them from the View box found on the right-hand side of the setup page and just easily drag them to a section on the left. Optionally, you can click the Add fields related via lookup, where you can add fields via the lookup relationship the object selected in the View drop-down list has to other objects.
    • add sf related fields
  5. You have the option to arrange the fields in the section by just dragging the fields.
  6. You can rename the fields added via look-up to shorten their field names on the report. For example, the Address field will Display As: “Opportunities: Primary Contact: Address”.
    • sf lookup example
    • You can rename this to just display as “Address” on your report by clicking on the field, then click the Edit Properties button. A pop-up window will appear for you to edit the name. Click OK.
    • edit field information in salesforce
  7. You can also set which fields are selected by default for users.
    • Select one or more fields and click Edit Properties.
    • Click the Checked by Default checkbox next to one or more fields.Fields selected by default automatically display the checkbox icon () on the field layout of the custom report type.
  8. You can click Preview Layout to preview which fields will display on the Select Columns page of a report customized or run from this report type.
  9. Click Save
    • field layout properties in salesforce
4. Manage Custom Report Types

After the custom report type is created, you will be able to customize, edit, and delete it when necessary.

  1. From Setup, enter Report Types on the Quick Find box, then select Report Types.
  2. If this is your first time accessing the Report Type page, you will be prompted with an introduction as to what a Custom Report Type is. Simply click on the “Don’t show me this page again” checkbox if you don’t want to be prompted again, then click Continue.
  3. You can create a list view to easily group the custom report types you created.
    • Click Create New View to create your own custom view.
    • Click Edit when editing a previously created list view. Select first the List View from the drop-down box before clicking edit.
    • all custom report types example
  4. Click Edit next to a Custom Report Type’s name to edit its name, description, category, and deployment status.
    • edit custom opportunities in salesforce
  5. Click Del next to a Custom Report Type’s name to delete.
    • Note that All the data stored in the custom report type will be deleted and cannot be restored from the Recycle Bin and any reports based on it are also deleted. Any dashboard component related to a deleted custom report type will display an error message when viewed.
    • confirm custom salesforce report type delete
5. Creating reports using the custom report type you created
  1. Click the Reports
  2. Click New Report.
    • creating new custom type report
  3. Search for the Custom Report Type you want to use. Select it and click Continue.
    • search sf custom report type
  4. You will now be routed to the Report Builder’s page where you can set up the report your users need.
    • sf report builder page