Workflow Rules in Salesforce

A workflow is an automation tool that saves time for the organisations by automating the various internal processes from manual to auto mode. It requires specific criteria to be met to trigger the automated actions. A workflow rule refers to the main container that will perform tasks based on the instructions. The instructions of the workflow rules can always be summed up to the “if/then” statement. For instance, If the person has covid symptoms then they should be staying home. In a nutshell, with the proper functioning of the workflows, the organization can eliminate the labour factor and get rid away from the necessity of keeping track of everything.

What are Workflow Rules in a Salesforce

A workflow rule in salesforce can be broken down into two components i.e. Criteria & Actions. Criteria refer to the “if” part of a statement, i.e. it should be true for the record of the workflow rule so that associated actions can be executed. Actions refer to the “then” part of the statement i.e., what needs to be done when the criteria are fulfilled. 

As seen in the above instance Criteria is to have covid symptoms and staying at home is the action. If the criteria are not met, then the action won't be executed. Therefore the workflow rules are interdependent. The below diagram will give you a glimpse of how the Workflow Rules ideally execute. 


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Components of Workflow in Salesforce

Criteria: It refers to the if part of the “if/then” statement. In simple words, it should be true in the record of the workflow rule so that associated actions can be executed simultaneously.  You can follow the steps mentioned below to set the criteria for the workflow

  • Go to the setup and then select the workflow rules by entering them in the quick find box.
  • Choose the option of New Rule
  • Now, select the object where you want the workforce rule to apply.
  • Select Next
  • The rules should be named along with the description
  • Now, set the criteria for evaluation.
  • Evaluation can be done when the record is created and created and each time it is edited and created and edited anytime to meet the criteria.

Actions: Action refers to the second part of the statement i.e “then”, what will happen if the statement is evaluated as true and needs actions. Following are the four different rules that actions allow in workforce rules.

  • Creating & Assigning a Task
  • Send alert via email
  • Sending an outbound message
  • Update the record

Sending a message is the only action that can be solely executed with the help of the workflow rule when it is written. There is no way to achieve it. Workflow rules are used majorly for generating the task or to send the email alert. Immediate and time-dependent actions are the two types of action that are present in a workflow. Actions that are executed immediately on the creation and edition of the record are called Immediate actions. Time-dependent actions are those actions that will get executed within a certain duration of days but before a record is closed. After this period the workflow rules will re-evaluate the record to ensure that the criteria of the rule are met. If the record matches the criteria then the actions will be performed.

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Create a Workflow Rule

So you now know the basics of workflow rules in a salesforce. Let us learn how to create one!

  • The first step is to log in to your Salesforce account
  • Navigate to the menu on the screen and you will be able to see the menu bar on the left side. Scroll and find the Process Automation tab. Then, under this,
  • find the workflow rules and select them.
  • To create the latest workflow rule choose a new rule.
  • Now, choose the object available in the drop-down menu.  For example, you can now select the option of lead as the defined object.
  • In this step, you will have to configure the new workflow rule. Enter the required details.

Edit Rule:  Enter the rule name.

Evaluation Criteria: Select the required evaluation criteria

Rule Criteria: Choose from the criteria that are met from the drop-down menu. From the field section, choose the field criteria required by you.  You can explore various field types as per your wish.

  • Then, hit the save button and next.
  • Now, a workflow action needs to be added. Choose the option from the drop-down that needs to be assigned and then click on Done.
  • Create an email alert. You need to fill in the following details

Description: As the name implies this text box should have the subject.

Unique Name: This will appear spontaneously and will be similar to the description.

Email Template: This refers to the text that will be present in your email. You can create one or choose from the default options

Recipients: Now you will have to choose all those recipients to whom this mail should be sent.  Don't forget to click on save once all the details are filled.

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Activate the Workflow Rule

To activate the workflow rules that are created by you follow the steps mentioned below

  • Click Done to save the progress of the workflow rule that you created. 
  • Now, click the activate button to ensure that the workflow rule is activated.
  • Select the + (  Add) button and choose the object name mentioned in the list that you created
  • To create a salesforce record click on new
  • Enter all the information required and then choose to save. This screen will appear once you click new
  • When the data is saved a screen that shows confirmation of the data will be seen along with the confirmation on the email

For the Time-dependent workflow actions

  • The first step is to add the Time Trigger. Navigate to your workflow rule page and choose to edit.
  • Now, deactivate the rule and select edit.
  • Then, add the time trigger.
  • Choose the action that needs to be executed i.e number of days, months, and years and then save the data by clicking on it.
  • Now, the trigger has been created, and preferred workflow action can be added. Here you can select the New Email Alert
  • Create the alert for the email as before.
  • Select to Activate it.
  • Workflow is now created and can be executed successfully.

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Salesforce Workflow Limits

The feature of the workflow is only available in developer editions, enterprise, and unlimited. To enable the professional feature you can pay an additional amount. Since salesforce is established on a multitenant architecture, it has a few limitations which are as follows:

In every workflow, you can only have the following

  • Time triggers: 10
  • Immediate actions: 10
  • Actions that are time-dependent as per the time trigger: 10

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For both time-dependent and immediate actions in a workflow rule, it cannot be more than

  • Email alerts:10
  • Tasks: 10
  • Updates of the field:10
  • Outbound messages: 10

The workflow time trigger, on an hourly basis limits for various editions, are:

  • 250 professional edition
  • 500 Enterprise edition
  • 50 Developer edition
  • 1000 unlimited and professional edition

The email limit of the workflow per day is:

  • As per salesforce standard licence: 1000
  • Organisational limit: 200,000

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Hope you have now understood the concept of workflow rules in Salesforce. Two major components i.e. criteria and actions, play an important role to define the rules. To enhance your skills further and make a career in salesforce you can join HKR training where you will receive hands-on training under expert guidance. In case of any queries, comment in the section below.

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Ishan Gaba
Ishan Gaba
Research Analyst
Ishan is an IT graduate who has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. He is a tech-savvy and literary fanatic since his college days. Proficient in Data Science, Cloud Computing, and DevOps he is looking forward to spreading his words to the maximum audience to make them feel the adrenaline he feels when he pens down about the technological advancements. Apart from being tech-savvy and writing technical blogs, he is an entertainment writer, a blogger, and a traveler.

Workflow Rules in Salesforce refer to business logic that automates actions depending on the criteria. The actions will only get executed when the criteria are met and vice versa.

No, the workflow rules cannot create records.

There are two types of workflow available in a salesforce

  • Immediate workflow Rule:  Actions that are executed immediately after the criteria are met are called the Immediate workflow rule.
  • Time Dependent workflow rule: When the criteria are met, actions will take place after a certain period. The time is based on the value the user sets.