By Jen Keys

With each Salesforce release comes new and exciting features for the Lightning Experience (LEX) user interface. The page loading times often speed up, and processes that were easily accessible in Classic are slowing migrating over to Lightning. Yet, it seems that with this release in particular, Salesforce has gone above and beyond to illustrate just how intuitive, accessible and quite frankly, “beautiful” the Lightning interface is for its user base.

While there are far too many new features to identify, here’s a brief list of my personal favorites or what I like to call the best of Winter ’18 Lightning features for nonprofits:

  • The Look & Feel – With this release, Salesforce has added functionality that allows users to read data more clearly. With less white space, there is more information density and improved legibility (using font size and color) to draw attention to what’s really important – users’ data. There’s better contrast between the foreground and background for easier scrolling. And, there are new colors and an added background image!
  • Ease of Use – Now I know many non-profits are trying to minimize their spreadsheet usage, but Salesforce has added functionality that allows users to work with list-views in a similar fashion to Excel. With the correct permission settings for list-views, you can now edit multiple fields on multiple records. As usual, validation rules are respected, but you can even see formulas being updated based on your field edits right from the list-view. If this isn’t reminiscent of spreadsheet editing then I don’t what is. (Double bonus – fields can now be wrapped when they exceed the length of the column!)
  • Component Visibility – We all know that Lightning has incredibly useful components that allow users to customize what would have normally been dead, white space in Classic. With this release, component visibility or the ability to only show relevant components based on field criteria on the detail page has been added. An example might be to only display the DocuSign component when an Opportunity has reached the “Pledged” stage. Or, perhaps the ability to view the Single Related List component of the Volunteers Hours Related List only when the Volunteer Hours have exceeded 0 on the Contact record.
  • Related List Quick Links – While switching between tabs on a page layout is just one click, it’s undeniable that if we can avoid any extra clicks, we can get to the data we need to access faster. Therein lies the simple, yet highly efficient new Lightning component called Related List Quick Links. With this component, you can now view all of your related lists, their record quantities and related list fields right from the detail page. The information visible from one page layout has now grown exponentially.
  • Enhanced Quick Finds – For all #AwesomeAdmins, another hack that I particularly love is the ability to find items quicker in Setup. You can actually search for a specific field and it will show you which objects have it! Simply click “Search all of Setup” to locate the relevant item for which you might be looking.
  • Activity Timeline Filtering – We all know that it can often be difficult to weed through Activity History records, especially when users are logging lots of interactions (always a plus!). With filtering capability, users can now filter Activities that appear in the Activity Timeline by type and/or duration. Filtering to view all Logged Calls in the Last 30 Days is now a simple, nominal click process.
  • Email Integrations – with Lightning Sync for Gmail, users can now set-up events to sync both ways between Google Calendar and Salesforce. There are a couple of parameters to manage this process, but now it’s easier than ever to make sure your events are synchronized across your Gmail and Salesforce platforms. With Lightning for Outlook, users can also use Classic email templates and set-up tasks. The need to switch from Outlook to Salesforce to add or check off items on daily to-do lists has now been eliminated! Talk about efficiency!
  • Chatter Highlights – for those nonprofits using Chatter, there are some great new features available with this release. Set Out of Office start and end times from your User record after Out of Office has been enabled from the Admin Chatter settings. You can even set a message to be included! When someone in your org references your User record via Chatter, they will automatically see your Out of Office message appear. Bonus: you can also include emoticons now!

Though a short list, easily accessible and robust functionality lies within this list of Winter ’18 Lightning features for nonprofits. These features are ever evolving, so be sure to review the upcoming LEX features that will become available on the roadmap. If you’re interested in digging into the full Winter ’18 Release Notes, visit them here.

Are there additional Winter ’18 Lightning features that you think other nonprofits should know about? Feel free to leave your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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Jen Keys

Jen Keys

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