Defining Dependent Picklists

Use dependent picklists to help your users enter accurate and consistent data. A dependent picklist is a custom or mutli-select picklist for which the valid values depend on the value of another field, called the controlling field. Controlling fields can be any standard or custom picklist (with at least one and fewer than 300 values) or checkbox field on the same record.

For example, you can define a Reason custom picklist on opportunities and make its valid values depend on the value of the Stage picklist as follows:

If Stage is Closed Won, the valid values for Reason are Superior features or Lower price.

If Stage is Closed Lost, the valid values for Reason are Inferior features, Higher price, or Company viability.

To define a dependent picklist:

To define a dependent picklist:

Navigate to the fields area of the appropriate object:

  1. For standard objects, click Your Name | Setup | Customize, select the appropriate object from the Customize menu, and click Fields.
  2. For custom task and event fields, click Your Name | Setup | Customize | Activities | Activity Custom Fields.
  3. For custom objects, click Your Name | Setup | Create | Objects, and select one of the custom objects in the list.
  4. For custom settings, click Your Name | Setup | Develop | Custom Settings, and click the name of the custom setting.
  5. Click Field Dependencies.
  6. Click New.
  7. Choose a controlling field and dependent field.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. Use the field dependency matrix (shown above) to specify the dependent picklist values that are available when a user selects each controlling field value.
  10. Optionally, click Preview to test your selections. If your organization uses record types, choose a record type to test how it affects your controlling and dependent picklist values. The record type controls what values are available in the controlling field. The record type and the controlling field together determine what values are available in the dependent picklist. For example, a dependent value is only available if it is available in the selected record type as well as the selected controlling value.
  11. Click Save.

If your organization uses record types, make sure that your controlling and dependent picklist values are available in the appropriate record types

Consider the following when defining dependent picklists:

Checkboxes

Checkbox fields can be controlling fields but not dependent fields.

Converting fields

Convert your existing fields to dependent picklists or controlling fields without affecting the existing values in your records. Going forward, dependency rules apply to any changes to existing records or new records.

Default values

You can set default values for controlling fields but not for dependent picklists.

Field-level security

Field-level security settings for a controlling field and dependent picklist are completely independent. Remember to hide controlling fields whenever its correlating dependent picklist is hidden.

Import

The import wizards do not consider field dependencies. Any value can be imported into a dependent picklist regardless of the value imported for a controlling field.

Lead conversion

If you create a dependency for lead fields that map to account, contact, and opportunity fields for lead conversion, create the same dependency on the account, contact, or opportunity as well.

Dependent picklists and controlling lead fields can be mapped to account, contact, or opportunity fields with different dependency rules.

Multi-select picklists

Multi-select picklists can be dependent picklists but not controlling fields.

Connect Offline

While controlling fields and dependent picklists are available in Connect Offline, the logic between them is not.

Page layouts

Make sure controlling fields exist on any page layout that contains their associated dependent picklist. When the controlling field is not on the same page layout, the dependent picklist shows no available values.

For visually-impaired users, make sure the dependent picklist is lower on the page layout than its controlling field.

If a dependent picklist is required and no values are available for it based on the controlling field value, users can save the record without entering a value. The record is saved with no value for that field.

Picklist limitations

Custom picklist fields can be either controlling or dependent fields.

Standard picklist fields can be controlling fields but not dependent fields.

The maximum number of values allowed in a controlling field is 300. In addition, if a field is both a controlling field and dependent picklist, it can't contain more than 300 values.

Before defining a dependency, make sure your picklist has at least one value; standard fields like Product Family do not contain any values until you add them.

If a standard controlling field relies on functionality that your organization decides to disable, the dependency rules for the picklist will go away. For example, if your organization disables the Self-Service portal and the Closed by Self-Service User is a controlling field, its dependent picklist will display all available values.

The following fields are not available as controlling fields:

Activity Fields

Call Type

Create recurring series of events

Show Time As

Subject

Task

Type

Contact Fields

Salutation

Contact Currency

Custom Object Fields

Currency

Lead Fields

Converted

Unread By Owner

Record types

The values in your controlling fields are determined by the record type selected. The values in your dependent picklists are determined by the record type and controlling field value selected. In short, the values available in dependent picklists are an intersection of the record type and controlling field selections. For more information on record types, see Managing Record Types.