In the Winter 16 release, Salesforce introduces a new related list called Files. This new related list shows Salesforce Files (previously marketed as Chatter Files) shared to the record regardless if the file was uploaded directly on the record as you do with attachments.
In the Spring 17 release, Salesforce announces that in Winter 18 release the “Notes & Attachments” related list will no longer have an upload or attach button. Customers will be required to migrate to and adopt Salesforce Files. In fact, if you’re using Lightning Experience then Salesforce Files is the new de facto standard.
The Future is Salesforce Files
Migrating to Files instead of Attachments, or to Enhanced Notes instead of Notes, is a good idea because Salesforce Files provide you much more capabilities around sharing the file (or enhanced note) with other users, groups, or records. It also supports file previews and revisions. It is the future of managing content in Salesforce. Did I mention you can also sync files between Salesforce and your desktop?
The sharing aspect is really important here. With classic Notes & Attachments, you must upload them to a single record and anyone who has access to that record can see the attachment. The only way to share the attachment with others is to:
- compromise your org’s record sharing rules (not recommended), or
- upload the attachment to another record the users do have access to (ugh, creating duplicates now), or
- upload the attachment to a cloud sharing service like Office 365, Sharepoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc., or
- post it to Chatter (see where I’m going?).
By using Salesforce Files, you can share the file with users, groups, or records. If you needed to give someone access to the file but the user didn’t have access to the record the file was originally shared to, fine, just extend sharing of the file to the user and not compromise your org’s record sharing rules, and definitely not create more duplicates of the attachment.
Migrating from Attachments to Salesforce Files
At the time of this writing, Salesforce has not (yet?) provided an official conversion tool from Attachments to Files. (Update 5/6/2017, supposedly Salesforce Labs will also release a conversion tool to AppExchange in Summer ’17. Once it’s available and I’ve had a chance to test it out I’ll update this post)
Since the Winter 16 release I’ve been developing and tweaking my own open source conversion tool. And as of Spring 17 release I’m happy to announce a new free managed package of this popular tool with a much more convenient user interface. Everything is still open source, but now much easier to deploy to production orgs without wrestling with unit tests.
The package includes visualforce pages that let you:
- Configure sharing and conversion options
- Run test conversions
- Enable near real-time or scheduled conversions
Are you really sure I should migrate to Salesforce Files?
Yes, yes I am. But don’t take my word for it, check out these other Salesforce Files advocates:
- Why You Should Add the Files Related List to Your Page Layouts
- Add the Files Related List to Page Layouts
- 5 Reasons to Use Files Related List
- Chatter Files: A Better Option for Attaching Files to Records
- ContentVersion Documentation
- Arnab Bose (@ArBose), Salesforce Product Manager
- Haris Ikram (@HarisIkramH), Salesforce Product Manager
- David Mendelson, Salesforce Product Manager
- Rick MacGuigan, a very helpful early adopter and tester!
- And to everyone who has provided feedback on this project to make it what it is today, thank you!
Although I’ve done my best to test various org configurations with this tool, there’s bound to be an edge case I’ve not yet thought of. If you have any feedback about the conversion tool or run into a problem, please open an issue on the GitHub project. Make sure to check out the closed issues and FAQ section on the project page as your question or problem might have already been answered. Thanks!