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New 'Autocomplete lookups' on Airports & Aircraft in Salesforce

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Salesforce “Lightning” and how it’s going to completely overhaul your experience when using the platform. Well, the team here at completely agrees – we’ve had a good look and quite simply, The “Lightning Experience” is incredible. Announced on August 25th, it will be delivered to you as part of the Winter ‘16 release very shortly.

(As always, if you have any questions regarding the release and what it will mean for your business you can contact us for a free chat - just send us an email on [email protected])

This is what your Salesforce experience is going to start looking like - Modern, consistent across every device, and easy to use.

But what about the little details? All those small things that add up to make a big difference to your productivity?

There’s one ‘smaller’ feature in particular we want to focus on that we think you’re going to find amazing and we’re even going to guide you through the steps to set it up.

Autocomplete Lookups in Salesforce Lightning

The notion of ‘autocomplete’ in search has been around for a long while. Essentially, ‘autocomplete’ or 'type-ahead' predicts the records the user is looking for based on just the first few letters. The matching record, and other potentially matching records, then appear for the user to select from.

Awesome right? But somehow, Salesforce has been yet to implement this feature (the current ‘Recent Items’ autocomplete is only useful if you’ve recently viewed that specific record, which isn't useful if you have a database of 22,000 airports to lookup). One of the most frustrating things with the 'classic' Salesforce is that to find a related record (a.k.a. ‘Lookup’ a record), you had to open a new window and click through filters to find the record you want to select.

This is what looking for a related Airport looks like in Salesforce 'classic':


All this is about to change.

Salesforce is introducing the autocomplete feature to rule them all – it autocompletes AND it can show additional information from that record, like ICAO/IATA codes, Aircraft Type, PAX Capacity or anything else you want to see there.

Finding an airport will now look like this in Salesforce Lightning:

Aviation companies typically want to be able to relate things like Accounts & Aircraft to a specific Airport – this in turn allows you to find all the aircraft or all the suppliers based at a specific airport or within a given radius of a specified location.

As you can see from the image, with Salesforce Lightning you can type in something like ‘Chicago’ and it will automatically search for all airports with that in their name. But the really special part of this is that you can then add things like ICAO and IATA codes to the lookup result, so you know right there and then exactly which airport in Chicago you’re selecting.

Or if you’re looking up an Aircraft record and you want to know what Aircraft Type it is, what the pax capacity is or its home-base airport for example – you can now give all that information to your users right in the lookup field they’re typing data in to:

But wait, it gets better.

All this can be done declaratively by a System Administrator.

Previously, enabling both autocomplete (only for previously searched items) AND showing related details was exclusively the domain of developers. Now, it’s so simple that we’ve included the easy steps below.

To specify the ‘related’ information you want to see (e.g. airport codes or aircraft type/pax capacity), you need to:

  • Edit the ‘Search Layouts’ setting of the object being looked up, (e.g. Aircraft)
  • The second item in the 'Search Results' list is what contains additional information from the record (e.g. PAX Capacity, Aircraft Type)
  • If you want to specify just the ‘Aircraft Type’ field, then add that specific field.
  • If you want to specify more than one field, e.g. Aircraft Type AND PAX Capacity AND Homebase Airport, you need to create a formula field, and make that formula field the 2nd item in the 'Search Results' list.

So your search layouts setting will look like this:

And the ‘Details’ custom field is actually a Formula field which contains a formula like this:

Add paragraph text here.

“Aircraft_Type__r.Name & " / " & TEXT(PAX__c) & " Pax" & " / " & Homebase__c”

Which will render like this in the lookup field:

We are very excited about these upcoming features and the efficiencies it will bring to our customers.

Winter ‘16 will be a huge release with many potential business implications to consider. If you’re in the aviation industry, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We understand the aviation business and can help you to maximise your investment in Salesforce.

Here are a few things to think about when Winter ‘16 gets deployed to your Salesforce org in October:

  • Lightning Experience will only be deployed when you’re ready – you have control over when & who it will actually be deployed to so that you can test things out first.
  • Not everything is ‘Lightning Enabled’ yet – checkout the list of Considerations
  • Develop a rollout strategy for your company
  • Full documentation is here 
  • Check the Release Window here:

Winter '16 is a huge release and there’s a lot of things to consider. If you’ve got some aviation-specific considerations, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We understand the aviation business and know how to get the most out of Salesforce.

If you're attending NBAA 2015 in Las Vegas, so are we!

We'd love to hear from you and meet up at the event.

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