• Renee Jones-Sparks

Salesforce Picklists vs Global Picklists

Updated: Nov 12, 2019



Here’s a scenario: you need to add a field in Salesforce with a defined set of values. You do a little research and it’s suggested you use a picklist, but which one? What’s the difference between a picklist and a global picklist? Don’t worry, we can help you decide.


What is a Picklist?


A picklist is a field that allows a set of values to be displayed in a drop-down menu. Picklists only allow you to pick one value from the list.


What are the benefits of using a picklist?


· Allows users to confidently report against a field

· Restricts the values allowed in the field

· Standardizes responses to maintain accurate data


What is a Global Picklist?


Global picklists are not a field type. A global picklist value set allows you to create one set of picklist values that can be used by multiple picklist fields across multiple objects. Adding, editing or removing values can all be done in one place.


What are the benefits of using a Global Picklist?


· Picklist value additions, changes or deletions are made in one place and can be updated across all fields that use the global picklist or specific fields on specific objects.

· Picklist fields that exist across multiple Objects can use the same picklist value set which makes managing the values easier.


What’s the difference between a Picklist and Global picklist?


Picklists are fields and global picklists are value sets. While picklist fields are created on individual objects, global picklists are created from the Picklist Value Sets option in Setup (Setup > Search in Quick Find Box “Picklist” > Select “Picklist Value Sets”). Once you’ve created your global picklist value set you can then assign the global picklist to the custom fields across objects.


When to use a Picklist vs Global Picklist?


So, you’ve been asked to create a territory field on the Account object to align your Accounts with your Sales territories. You also need to track this information on Opportunities, but users need to be able to change the territory on Opportunities if needed.

Since territories are defined, you want to use a standard set of values. That means you need to use a custom picklist field for those values. There are two questions that need to be answered:


1. Will the field need to exist on multiple objects with the same picklist values?

2. Should you use a picklist or global picklist for this request?


If the answer to question 1 is YES, you should use a Global Picklist. If the answer to the question is NO, you should use a Picklist.


Simple as that. Choosing the correct picklist doesn’t have to be a headache. It all depends on where you need to view the set of values. Once that’s established, you can create the right picklist for your needs.


NOTE: If you created a custom picklist field and you find in the future that it will need to exist on multiple objects, you can always promote your picklist to a global picklist. Please see our article How to Promote a Picklist to a Global Picklist to find out how.


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