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Salesforce.com offers the indisputably most popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, but that doesn’t mean using Salesforce is always straightforward. Salesforce is capable of so many tasks it’s easy to get lost in the quirks of its feature set. These five Chrome extensions make the life as a Salesforce user appreciably simpler and more productive.
Every record in Salesforce has a unique 15- or 18-digit alphanumeric ID; copy that ID number into a search box within Salesforce and you’ll be taken to the associated customer record. Sounds simple, right? Not usually, as the record ID is often buried in a complicated URL with lots of additional, extraneous parameters. You can’t always copy the full URL of a customer record and share it, as the extra data in URL could produce some strange or broken results when you navigate to it later, so you must selectively copy the ID out of the URL. (Also, the 15-digit ID is case-sensitive, whereas the 18-digit ID is not.) That’s where Salesforce ID Clipper comes in, as this Chrome extension will copy just the customer ID (15- or 18-digit), or just the cleaned-up customer record URL, to your clipboard for pasting into spreadsheets, emails or chats. It sounds rather basic, but it’s a real timesaver.
Salesforce allows admins (and in some cases developers) the option to log in as another user, both for sales and technical support tasks. The trick to making this functionality work is remembering which user you’re logged in as at any given time (a task that gets doubly confusing if you’re using Chrome Incognito tabs to log into multiple Salesforce sessions at once). The Salesforce Quick Login As extension simplifies this task by keeping a running tally of every Salesforce user that has granted you delegated login permissions—and it lets you log into any individual Salesforce page as any of those users. Just pull up a menu of your eligible user IDs and instantly view a Salesforce page as that user. You can toggle between user views quickly and keep support overhead to a minimum.
It sounds simple, but for anyone running a Salesforce Sandbox (a non-production test copy of your Salesforce application, where you can play with custom code) in one tab and the real Salesforce in another, it’s easy to forget which is the real Salesforce and which is the fake. The Salesforce Sandbox Favicon extension changes the icon of any Sandbox instance to include a handy little S-imprinted version of Salesforce logo, so you always know if you’re playing with test data, or the real production environment. Embarrassingly useful.
Salesforce formulas are like spreadsheet formulas—only more complicated, because they can execute actions that change customer records or cause the Salesforce platform to advance workflows in one direction or another. In other words, getting formulas right is serious business; too bad the Salesforce formula editor is ultra-minimalist in its formatting and features. Thankfully the Enhanced Formula Editor extension adds such vital features as color-coding formula functions, data fields and mathematical operators; matches sets of parentheses; adds a find-replace function, and enables fullscreen editing. If you build Salesforce formulas on a regular basis—or are ready to dip your toe into Salesforce formulas by adding formula fields to a couple of Salesforce objects—you need this Chrome extension.
Force.com Utility Belt
Force.com is where developers go to build custom Salesforce applications; it’s both the platform that runs advanced custom Salesforce apps and the knowledge base that developers use to guide their Salesforce coding efforts. Unfortunately, Force.com documentation and the Force.com dev environment are very separate, even though you often need access to one while you’re working in the other. There is no simple way to access Force.com’s reference materials while in the development environment, nor can you easily grab code samples from within the editor. The Force.com Utility Belt extension breaks down that wall by adding links to Quick Reference Topics at the top of any Force.com page, and by adding a search box to scour the full set of Force.com reference materials to help you while you code. And, just for a little extra help, the Utility Belt comes with a converter that translates 15-digit Salesforce record IDs into 18-digit case-safe IDs—because the need comes up more often than you’d expect.