how to create a report in Salesforce cover

You have millions of records in your Salesforce Org that are ripe for analysis.

By holistically examining your Salesforce data, you can unlock insights about your business to improve your bottom line.

In this blog post, I will cover how to create a report in Salesforce so you can easily unlock these insights to make better business decisions.

Interested? Take the next 3 minutes to read this guide and become a Salesforce reporting guru.

What Is A Salesforce Report?

A Salesforce report aggregates and visualizes data from your Salesforce environment. This enables you to make informed decisions.

Reports can be created for a single object or include multiple objects if there is an object relationship.

For example, you could report on your Case records, showing cases grouped based on the status.

Creating these reports requires no technical expertise, allowing a focus on actionable insights. Salesforce reports turn vast data into clear strategies to propel your business forward.

How To Create Reports In Salesforce

Creating reports in Salesforce can be confusing when you have never done it before.

But as they say, to become a master at something, you must first be a fool.

By following the easy steps in this section, you will quickly become a Salesforce reporting wizard and minimize the foolery.

Ready to create custom reports? Let’s get into it.

Step 1: Navigate To The Reports Tab

Search for “Reports” from the App Launcher and select “Reports” under “Items”.

You should be brought to the main reports page.

how to create a report in Salesforce using app launcher

Step 2: Select A Report Type

When you are on the Report page, click “New Report” in the top right corner.

You should now see a list of Report Types from which you can choose.

salesforce report creation

To filter down the Report Types, you can pick a category and use the search bar.

Once you have identified the Report Type you wish to use, click the list item.

A fly-out should pop up on the side of the screen.

Click “Start Report.”

Step 3: Select A Report Format

The report format options available are “Matrix” and “Joined”. “Matrix” is used for Tabular, Summary, and Matrix reports. “Joined” is used to create Joined Reports.

In order to choose a report format, click the “REPORT” drop-down menu from the top left corner of the screen. From here, you can select the report format you need.

salesforce report format options

Step 4: Configure Report Columns

The main report column configurations are adding and rearranging.

To add a column, search for the name of the field you wish to include in the report from the Columns tab in the left sidebar. Then, click the field name from the search results, and the column will be added to the report.

how to add salesforce report columns

Rearagining columns in a Salesforce report is very easy and can be done in two different ways. You can either drag and drop the column names from the column tab of the left sidebar, under the columns section, or drag and drop the columns directly on the report in your preferred order.


Toggle the “Update Preview Automatically” to avoid constantly needing to refresh the preview.

Step 5: Configure Report Filters

Once you have added and arranged the columns you need, you can filter the records that must be considered in your report.

Filters can be added by navigating to the filters tab in the left sidebar.

how to create salesforce report filters

From the filters tab, you can filter based on custom conditions. To do this, click in the “Add Filter” search box and pick the field you want to consider in your filter condition.

After selecting the field you want to filter on, use the “Filter By” pop-up to define the filter conditions.

You also have the option to lock a filter. Enabling this prevents users from editing or removing the filter on the report run page.

Step 6: Group Your Data (Optional)

When creating Summary and Matrix reports, you must group your data. You can also optionally group data for Joined Reports.

Row groupings must be defined first when grouping data in a Salesforce report. The process is similar to adding a column.

how to create salesforce report groups

Under the “Outline” tab on the left sidebar, look for the “Groups” section. You should see the “Group Rows” option here.

Click the Group Rows search box, then find and select the row you want to group by. Your report will now show the records grouped based on your selection.

After you have grouped your report by rows, there should now be an option to group by columns. When creating a matrix report, you group both rows and columns.

Adding a column-level grouping follows the same process as grouping by rows. Click the “Group Columns” search box, then find and select the column you want to group by.

Step 7: Save And Run Your Report

At this point, your report should be complete.

You must save and run your report to ensure your configuration is saved and includes the most up-to-date information.

Click the “Save and Run” button in the upper right corner of the screen.

A pop-up form will display where you need to provide the following information:

  • Your desired report name
  • A report description
  • The folder where you want the report to be stored
how to save and run your salesforce report

Once you have entered the details, click “Save” in the bottom right corner of the pop-up form.

And that’s all! To view and edit your report in the future, navigate back to the folder you picked and select the report.

Now that we have covered the basics of creating a Salesforce report, let me show you how to improve your reporting by learning the different types of Salesforce reports and using some of the more powerful native Salesforce reporting features.

Types Of Salesforce Reports

Salesforce enables you to create different types of reports based on the information you are trying to extract.

The four types of reports in Salesforce are:

  • Tabular reports
  • Summary reports
  • Matrix reports
  • Joined reports

Because of this ability, Salesforce users can derive a plethora of insights by leveraging different views of the data in their Salesforce Org.

See below for a detailed breakdown of the available types of Salesforce reports.

Report Type



Making lists


Grouping and summarizing by row


Grouping and summarizing by row and column


Including multiple standard and custom report types at once

Tabular Reports

Tabular reports are the most basic type of report. They are similar to a list view or spreadsheet in that you can see all the report records that meet the filtering criteria. You can define the fields that you want to see and report on. Columns represent the fields, and each row represents a record that matches the filter criteria.

Summary Reports

Summary reports are a type of report that groups rows based on a field containing common value. When grouping rows, you can see totals and subtotals of the number of records in each group. Most of your reports will be summary reports.

An example of this would be grouping all cases with the same status. Doing this allows you to see the number of cases in each status, the total number of cases overall, the average number of cases per status, and so on.

A summary report effectively takes a lot of data and simplifies it so that you can quickly derive basic insights.

Matrix Reports

Think of Matrix reports in Salesforce like pivot tables in Excel, with a column header defined in both the Columns and Rows area. In Salesforce, matrix reports are grouped by both rows and columns.

You create them by first grouping your report by rows and then grouping the columns.

Doing this creates a pivot table-like report that you can use to visualize information at a very high level.

While creating these will not give you much detailed information for each case like a tabular report but, it will quickly give you insights that can guide decision-making.

An example of this could be grouping the rows of a case report by the owner and then grouping the report’s columns by status. Doing this gives you a breakdown of the number of cases in each status for each case owner.

Joined Reports

Joined reports are the most complex type of report in Salesforce to learn. This is because they can contain data from multiple standard and custom report types.

Multiple standard and custom report types can be used because of a concept called report blocks, which are like” sub-reports” within the joined report. Joined reports can contain up to 5 report blocks.

Blocks work the same as a regular report in the sense you can define:

  • Apply filters
  • Sort columns
  • Regular fields
  • Summary fields
  • Standard formulas
  • Cross-block summary formulas

Joined reports in Salesforce are helpful when you want to group and report on data from multiple connected objects, such as cases, accounts, contacts, and vehicles, in the context of AutoCloud.

Taking It To The Next Level: Becoming A Salesforce Reporting Guru

What we have covered so far in this tutorial is more than enough for you to be effective with Salesforce reports.

That said, if you want to be a reporting guru, you’ll want to learn more about some of the advanced Salesforce reporting capabilities.

In this section, I will do just that so you can make the most of your data and make the best business decisions possible.

And hey, who doesn’t like improved decision-making ability?

Using Bucket Columns

Bucket columns are used in Salesforce reporting to categorize records based on defined criteria.

The value populated in the bucket column is derived from the bucket’s definition.

You have different options for defining a bucket depending on the column’s data type you are bucketing.

Bucket Type




Picklist bucket values are defined by mapping picklist values to the bucket column values.

10 different case types (picklist values) can be broadly grouped into 3 themes (picklist bucket column values).

You would map the respective case types to each theme to gain a more generalized view of the themes causing the most cases to be raised.


Numeric bucket types could include data types such as number, currency, or percent.

You can define these buckets based on the numeric range of the data in the column you select.

If you report on the contract object, you could populate the bucket column on the contract value.

The bucket column value for contracts with a value of $50,000 or less could be “Small,” more than $50,00, but less than $500,000 could be “Medium,” and greater than $500,000 could be “Large.”


Text bucket columns function almost identically to picklist bucket columns.

The main difference is that when mapping text values to bucket values, you can type in the value you want to match using the “Enter Values” button.

This is useful when your report has a large volume of records.

You are reporting on the Account object and would like to distinguish between them, so you create bucket columns based on the account name field.

Using the enter values feature, you define a bucket for an account name that has not been created yet, which you know is being migrated into production next week.

Bucket columns are an excellent way to categorize records without using row-level formulas and custom fields. You can filter, sort, and group bucket columns like any other column in a report.

Using Row Level Formulas

Row-level formulas are perfect for running calculations on the fly. You can combine fields and mathematical operations to run calculations for every record in your report.

The result of the row-level formula will reside in a new column in your report. When creating the row-level formula, you define the name of the column.

To create one, click the drop-down menu next to the “Columns” header and select “Add Row-Level Formula.” A pop-up window will appear where you can define the column’s name and its formula.

how to use salesforce report row level formulas

Using Summary Formulas

Summary formulas summarize a report group’s totals and subtotals. This means that the formula considers the records in each group when calculating. You cannot create a summary formula if you do not have any row groupings defined.

To create a summary formula, click the drop-down menu next to the “Columns” header and select “Add Summary Formula.” A pop-up window will appear where you can define the column’s name and its formula.

how to use summary formulas in salesforce reporting

The picklist at the bottom of the formula pop-up allows you to define the type of summary you would like to use.

The summarization options you can use in a summary formula are:

  • Sum
  • Average
  • Min
  • Max
  • Median
  • Unique

Once your formula has been defined, you can choose how you would like the summary values to show.

You can pick from

  • All Summary Levels: Shows the subtotal for each group and the grand total for the entire report.
  • Grand Total Only: Shows only the grand total summary for the entire report
  • Selected Groups: Shows only the subtotals for the report group you choose.

After configuring your summary formula, click “Apply” to add it to your report.

Creating A Salesforce Custom Report Type

You might notice that sometimes you need to report on related objects that do not have a standard report type. When this happens, you must create a custom report type.

Users can use custom report types to create and customize reports not supported by standard report types. For example, you might want to report on cases with activities. This is not a standard report type, so you must create a custom report.

To create custom report types, navigate to setup and search “Report Types” from the quick find box. Then, click on “Report Types.”

Click the “New Custom Report Type” button.

Select a primary object, fill in all the required fields, and click “Next.”

salesforce reporting custom record types

Once you have completed the initial configuration step, you can define the related objects you would like to report on. When creating a custom report type, you can add up to 4 related objects.

create a custom record type in salesforce

Click “Save” to complete the setup.

Creating custom report types is very straightforward and is super useful when you would like to report on related objects which dont not have a standard report type.

Sharing And Visualizing Salesforce Reports

Alright, now you are an expert at creating valuable reports from your Salesforce data.

It’s now time to show them off to your coworkers and send them to your managers.

In this section, I will walk you through how to subscribe, share, and export your fancy reports so the world can see them! You will also learn how to use your reports in a Salesforce dashboard like a pro.

Subscribing To Salesforce Reports

To subscribe to your Salesforce report, first, go to the folder in which your report is located in

Then, click the dropdown menu and select “Subscribe.”

A popup menu will appear where you can define the details of your report subscription.

You can specify:

  • Frequency: How often you want the report to run. Days, Weeks, Months.
  • Time: The time at which the report should be run.
  • Attachment: The format of the report. You have the option to choose a formatted report or details only.
  • Recipients: Only an option when the report is in a shared folder. This is the list of users who will subscribe to the report.
  • Run Report As: The user whose permissions should be considered when running the report.
  • Conditions: Additional user-defined conditions for when the report should or should not be run.
salesforce report schedule

After configuring the report subscription to your needs, click “Save.”

To unsubscribe from a report, open the subscription pop-up, as done before, and click “Unsubscribe” in the bottom left corner.

Sharing Salesforce Reports

You cannot share reports directly in Salesforce. If you would like others to see your reports, you must add them to a folder and then share the folder with the users who should have access to it.

To share a folder, click the dropdown menu next to the folder name and define the user, role, role & subordinate, or public groups that should have access.

Exporting Salesforce Reports

Sometimes, you might want to share a report with a colleague not in Salesforce. This can be done by exporting the report.

To export a report in Salesforce, go to the folder where the report is located, open the dropdown menu, and click “Export.”

how to export a salesforce report

You can either export the report in a Formatted format or with Details Only. The Formatted format will include the report headings, filter settings, and groupings.

The Details Only option only exports the detailed rows. This option is typically used when you are going to play around with the reporting data in another application or system.

Adding Reports To A Dashboard

Using a dashboard widget that references a report is the icing on the reporting cake.

There are 2 ways you can go about adding a report to a dashboard.

The first method you start by navigating to the folder of the report you would like to use in your dashboard.

Then, open the dropdown menu for the report you want to add and click “Add to Dashboard.” You have the option to select an existing dashboard or create a new one.

After picking or creating a new dashboard, you should be brought to a screen where you have the option to configure the component that visualizes your report data. Select the option that best suits your needs and click “Add.”

how to add a salesforce report to a dashboard

In the second method, you need to begin from the dashboard itself. Once your dashboard is open, click the “+ Widget” button and select the “Chart or Table” option.

From here, you can select the report you want to use on your dashboard.

Depending on your workflow preference, both options work great and allow you to quickly visualize your reporting data.

Salesforce Report Limitations

Salesforce reports have many helpful functions. However, they also have limitations.

Here are some of the limitations of Salesforce reports you might encounter:

  • Reports will show a maximum of 2000 rows. You need to export the report if it contains more.
  • You can have a maximum of 20 filters.
  • Summary fields can display a maximum of 21 digits.
  • You cannot filter on text area long fields.
  • Reports will show a maximum of 255 characters for fields containing text.
  • Only 25 report columns are supported by the Salesforce mobile app.
  • Report charts do not support HTML code.
  • Joined reports are not supported by Internet Explorer 6.
  • Reports can have a maximum of 3 cross-filters.
  • Reports can have a maximum of 5 bucket columns.

To see the complete list of Salesforce report limitations, check out Salesforce’s help page.

Final Thoughts

You cannot make the best business decisions without reporting on your Salesforce data.

By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge to create reports that will help guide your decision-making.

Start creating Salesforce reports today and see how your business improves.

If you want to learn more about using Salesforce to grow your business, sign up for my Salesforce newsletter and check out my other Salesforce blogs for insider tips and tricks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the 4 types of reports in Salesforce?

The 4 types of reports in Salesforce are Tabular, Summary, Matrix, and Joined.

What is the difference between a report and a dashboard in Salesforce?

In Salesforce, a report is a detailed collection of data presented in rows and columns that offers an in-depth analysis of specific metrics. It can be customized to show filtered information based on various criteria. Conversely, a dashboard visualizes data from multiple reports into charts, gauges, and tables, designed for quick decision-making and at-a-glance summaries.

Why do we create report types in Salesforce?

We create report types in Salesforce to define available records and fields for reports, allowing users to tailor data views to specific business needs. Custom report types enable reporting on up to four related objects, enhancing flexibility and providing targeted insights for better decision-making.

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