Save Time and Clicks with Apsona Grids

May 17th, 2017

And make time for what really matters

Imagine this: it’s 4 pm and you’re wrapping up work to get home in time for your daughter’s t-ball game. Suddenly, in walks your supervisor … who informs you she has just discovered massive data entry errors in a large batch of Opportunities. It’s critical, she tells you, to get them all corrected before the end of the day.

The Opportunities to be updated include both donations and grants — which are different Opportunity record types. And not only do you have to update several fields on each Opportunity, you also need to create missing related Contact Role records.

If you are using standard Salesforce functionality, you might feel like this:


woman screaming.jpg


Thank goodness you have Apsona! You know that with Apsona Grids, you can easily and quickly accomplish your supervisor’s request.

One of the biggest time savers with Apsona Grids is that filtering records, editing, reordering of fields, and even creating new records can all be done right on the same page. And, you can even perform all of these tasks for related child and parent records in the same view!

Here’s a snapshot of how Apsona Grid functionality stacks up against standard Salesforce listviews:

Task Apsona Grids Salesforce listviews
Edit a list of records of different record types green check.png x mark.png
Add new records without leaving the list page green check.png x mark.png
View, update, and create related child and parent records from the list page green check.png x mark.png
Drag and drop to reorder columns without leaving the list page green check.png x mark.png
Create groups and subtotals from the list page green check.png x mark.png
View fields from related records in the list green check.png x mark.png
See a display of the exact record count in the list green check.png x mark.png


Let’s take a quick tour to see how you can easily accomplish your supervisor’s request using Apsona Grids.

Inline Editing

You know you need to update both grant and donation records. Fortunately, unlike Salesforce listviews, Apsona Grids provides an editable list of records of any record type.

From the Apsona Opportunities tab, choose Tabular View

tabular view.png

A list of all Opportunities appears. Simply click in any field to edit it.

Inline Editing.png


Quick and Easy Filtering

If you’d like to limit the list of Opportunities, say to Opportunities where the amount is over $500, use the handy Filter option — again, without leaving the Grid page.

filter and results annotated.png

  • Click the Filter icon (1)
  • Enter your filter criteria (2)
  • Click Search (3)
  • View your filtered results — right on the same page (4)

Need to apply a different filter? Simply update the filter criteria on the same page and click Search again.

Drag and Drop Column Reordering

With Apsona Grids it’s easy to change the column order. Simply drag and drop to place the columns in the order that’s most useful to you.


Rapid Data Entry

Not only can you easily update existing records, you can add new records on the fly — again without leaving the Grid.


add row 3.png


  • Click Add Row. (1)
  • Fill in the values for the new Opportunity name, amount, and any other data in the editable row that appears in the Grid. (2)
  • Click Save. (3)
  • Repeat for as many records as you need.

What a time-saver!


Edit and Create Related Records

Another huge time-saver with Apsona Grids is the ability to drill down to related records, and update or create new child records. Let’s see how you can add those missing Opportunity Contact Roles without navigating away from the Grid.


Click the arrow next to an Opportunity name.


Click to expand.png



In the expanded view, you see tabs for each of the related records; in this case, Contact Roles, Campaign, Organization, Tasks, and Events.


related records.png


Since you want to add a new Contact Role, click Add on the Contact Roles tab, complete the required fields, and click Save:


Add OCR.png


The newly created Contact Role appears.


newly created OCR.png


That’s it! Apsona Grids allow you to update all those Opportunity records and create related Contact Roles in a fraction of the time it would take with standard Salesforce listviews.


Now you can leave work on time — and be there for the things in your life that really matter.



The Power of Apsona Single-Step Reporting

March 31st, 2017

Or, no more banging your head against the wall over standard Salesforce reports

Reports reports reports. One of the critical functions of your Salesforce database is to generate reports that will give you accurate, useful information about your constituents, products, and services.

Standard Salesforce reporting can get you only so far. Sometimes, you need a more complex analysis of your data. For example, take this real life scenario recently posed by a non profit organization:

I am trying to report on how many contacts 65 years of age and older live in households that have received services in the last year.

Example: Jim is 70 years old. His wife Franny is 72. They live with their daughter Sara, who is 50 years old and who received food services last year.

In Salesforce it looks like this:

  • Household Account with three related Contacts: Sara, Jim, and Franny
  • Case record: connected to Sara’s Contact record, and to the Household Account record.

How do I get the report to count Jim and Franny when they are not in the Case loop, so to speak?

Report Scenario.png

First Attempt with Standard Salesforce Reporting

Hmmm, could we do this with a standard Salesforce report? What if we create a report on Account, with cross filters to find Accounts with Cases, and Accounts with Contacts over 65?

Standard Acct report with x filters.png

Standard Salesforce report on Account with cross filters

When we run this report, we want to see a result of 2, since there are 2 contacts over 65 in a household with services.

Sadly, that’s not what we get. Our standard Salesforce report is counting the number of Accounts that meet our criteria, not the number of Contacts:

Standard SF report - results - not quite what we want.png

Standard Salesforce report results — gives us count of Accounts, not count of Contacts.

Darn it. What can we do?

Apsona Single-Step Reporting to the Rescue!

Fortunately, there’s Apsona. Apsona’s incredibly powerful reporting tool will give us exactly the results we want, and then some. Follow along to see how!

  • From the Apsona tab, click on Accounts, and choose Reports.

Account Reports.png

  • Click + New to create a new report

New Report.png

Part 1: Choose Your Columns

Right off the bat with Apsona reporting, we have the ability to choose fields not just from our base Account object, but from any object that has any kind of relationship to Account — without having to create a special report type. All of these related objects are provided right there for you. Think about it — this includes any objects that have a lookup or Master/Detail relationship to Account, as well as any objects that the Account has a lookup to. Powerful!

Apsona report available fields.png

Fantastic, but how do we get the count of Contacts we’re looking for?

First, we’ll need to choose the correct Contact object:

  • In the Available Objects list, choose Contact via Account. The help text shows that this is any Contact record that’s related to the Account via its Account lookup field. In other words, any Contact in the Household Account — exactly what we want.

Available Object - Contact via Account.png

Next, we choose the fields we want. Here’s where the handy “Metrics” feature of Apsona comes into play:

  • Expand the “Metrics” column at the bottom of the “Contact via Account fields” list, and choose # Records

Choose Record Count field.png

That is the magic that will make this report work: displaying the # Records field, and choosing the Contact via Account related object. Of course, we still need to add report filters to make sure we’re only getting Contacts over 65, and only those in Households that have Cases. But how great is it that we can so easily pull metrics such as record count from related objects?

As long as we’re here, why not display the Contacts’ names and ages?

  • Click in the Add column picklist to bring up the Add Column dialog.
  • In Available Objects, choose Contact via Account
  • In Contact via Account Fields, choose First Name
  • Repeat the above steps for Last Name, and Age. (NOTE: , “Age” is a custom formula field that we created on Contact.)

Now our screen looks like this:

Report fields.png

As an aside, another lovely feature of Apsona reporting is the ability to change report column names. Simply hover over the column whose name you wish to change, click on the arrow, and type in the new column name of your choice.

Change Column Label.png

Part 2: Add Filters

Now that we’ve chosen the fields to display, it’s time to filter the report. Again, we only want to see Contacts over 65 that belong to Accounts where someone has received services. Let’s start with the age filter on Contact:

  • On the Filter Terms tab, click the Add Term link.

Click Add Term link.png

  • In the Available Objects list, choose Contact via Account, and then choose Age in the Contact via Account Fields list. (Again, “Age” is a custom formula field that you can create on Contact.)

First Filter Term.png

  • Complete the filter term by adding the appropriate criteria:

Filter Term for Contacts.png

Next we want to make sure we only see Contacts in Household Accounts where at least one Contact has received services, In Salesforce terms, where there is at least one Case associated with the Household Account.

This filter is a little different from the Contact filter, since we’re not filtering on a particular field on the Case, but on whether or not there are any Case records. Apsona easily handles this scenario with Metrics:

  • Click the Add Term link again, and this time, choose Case in the Available Objects list.
  • In the Case Fields list, at the bottom, click the Metrics header

Case Metrics.png

The Metrics options open up.
Metrics options.png

  • Choose # Records, and finish the filter criteria. Since we want both conditions to be true, we’ll leave the Filter logic as is.

Complete filter criteria.png

Part 3: Run the Report!

We’ve chosen the fields to display, and set our filter terms. Let’s test it out!

  • Choose Save and Run to see your report results

Apsona report results.png

Voila! Our Apsona report gives us the results we were aiming for — number of Contacts in households that received services. And, as you can see, you can easily add other fields related to Contacts to verify your data and make your report even more useful.

So stop banging your head against the wall over standard Salesforce reports — and start making use of the power of Apsona reports today!

Take the Headache out of Data Import With Apsona

January 31st, 2017

Picture this: your annual auction has been a huge success. Congratulations! You have a spreadsheet chock full of donors with all their contact information, along with the items they won and additional donations they made. Some of these donors are new to you; some have been loyal fans of your organization for years. Now it’s time to get all that mission-critical data into Salesforce, so you can be sure to thank everyone and keep in touch with them for next year’s auction and other events.

The idea of data import can be daunting. Especially when you know you have duplicate rows of Contacts in your spreadsheet because of generous donors who won more than one item and donated during the Raise the Paddle session. And, some of your donors are already in your database, while some are new to you.

How can you be sure you import only one record for each unique Contact in your spreadsheet, and avoid importing Contact records for people who are already in Salesforce? And how can you match the newly imported or existing Contact records in Salesforce with their donations in your spreadsheet?

Enter Apsona’s Data Import tool. No more manual sorting and filtering — Apsona does all the heavy lifting for you, with some handy features that you’ll want to take advantage of right away. We’ll highlight three of them here:

  • Seamless handling of duplicate records. During the import process, Apsona detects duplicate rows in your spreadsheet, based on matching criteria you provide. Not only that, it checks your spreadsheet against existing records in the database to avoid creating new duplicates.
  • The Echo File: associates new record IDs with each relevant row in the spreadsheet. This means if you have three rows in your spreadsheet with David Smith as the Contact, Apsona will import just one David Smith Contact record — and then return an “echo file” with the new Contact ID filled in for each of the three David Smith rows. This makes import of related data, such as David Smith’s donations, a breeze.
  • Add columns on the fly during import. Have you ever started an import, and then realized part way through the process that you were missing a crucial field? And had to back out and start all over again? With Apsona, you can add missing columns on the fly without having to leave the import screen.

Let’s see how all of this works!

Seamless handling of duplicate records

We’ll begin by importing our donors as Contact records. As we recall, we have multiple rows in our spreadsheet with the same donor.

On the Apsona tab, click on Contacts. From the Tools menu on the right, choose Import/Update.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_6be4971b9c0a7fd6

On this first import screen we’ll choose “Reject” as the option for how to handle Duplicates. This is what tells Apsona that if there are multiple rows in our spreadsheet with the same Contact, it should import just one of them. Not only that, Apsona is sophisticated enough to determine if you already have a Contact record for that donor — and not import another one. What a time-saver!

But what determines if it’s the same Contact? You can tell Apsona what your matching criteria is with the Match Fields picklist. In our Salesforce org, we uniquely identify Contacts with a combination of First Name, Last Name, and Email, so that’s what we’ll choose here:

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_56a664717bd4ed42

Data Import Step 1: choosing options in the Duplicates and Match fields picklists

Once we’ve chosen our spreadsheet as the Data Source, we can click Next and move on to data mapping.

Apsona will automatically detect if the column names in our spreadsheet match the Salesforce field names, and map them accordingly. You can change the mappings, of course, to import into whatever fields you like.

Since First Name, Last Name, and Email are set correctly here, we’ll leave those alone. The Donation related fields — Donation Amount and Type — are also set correctly to Do Not Import. These fields will be handled when we import the donation data in a subsequent step.


Data Import Step 2: Field mapping for Contact Data

If we leave the default option of Stop and Show Errors in the On data errors picklist, this will validate our data and let us know if we have any issues:

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_26e36a065f894ee7

From the Data Errors dialogue, we see that Apsona, as promised, recognizes duplicate rows in our spreadsheet. Not only that, it has also determined that we already have an existing Contact record for one of our donors. Excellent!

Now that we’ve validated our data, we can choose Omit Erroneous Records in the On data errors picklist and click Next to get to the final step of Contact import.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_ea285a8a5b6fe774

Choose “Omit erroneous records” for the data error handling option

The Echo File: associates new record IDs with each relevant row in the spreadsheet.

After clicking the Import button on the final import screen, we have the option to download the import results:


Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_d82982d0858e5c7e

Always click the Download button here to get your import results

Always download the import results! This is your “Echo File,” which contains the Contact IDs that will make importing related Donation records a breeze.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_fc93284895347962

Echo File results

Notice that two columns have been added: Import Result, and Contact ID. And notice that the Contact ID for John Smith has been included for each John Smith row — even though the second John Smith record was not inserted. We also have the Contact ID for Barbara Wells, our existing Contact. And finally, even though we didn’t insert any Donation data on this round, the Donation columns are included in the Echo File.

Since we have all of our Contact IDs included in this handy Echo File along with all of our data, associating Donation records with the right Contact will be a snap. Just use the Echo File as the Data Source to import the Donations.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_3986d3786400af0Donation import: use the Contact ID provided in the Echo File to associate the Contact with the Donation.

Add columns on the fly during import

Now that all of our donation fields are mapped, we’re ready to import. But, when we click the Next button, we see this error screen:

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_d417939245667017

Oh dear, do we have to go back and edit the Echo File to add these columns and start all over? Never fear, Apsona is here! From the Actions menu, choose Add column:

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_88f3c22cb92aeccf

For each missing column, choose the field name and enter a value.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_c560e98744e02562

A new column will be created on the fly, and the value you specify will be filled in for every row in the spreadsheet:

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_9553dd2e487ec8f6

New “stage” field has been added with “Closed Won” as the value for each row

But wait, what about the Opportunity Name field? We don’t want the same value for every row for this field. Apsona has taken care of this too with another handy feature, which allows you to reference the values of other fields in the new field value.

Our organization’s Opportunity naming convention is Donor First Name, Donor Last Name, Amount, and Record Type. For example, the Donation record for the first row would be named John Smith 100 Auction Item.

Simply check the Replace column name references checkbox in the Add Column dialogue, and choose the column names you want to use:


Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_f1e036f3047c5285

Use column name references for the Opportunity Name

Voila! Apsona creates the Opportunity Name column, with the correct values filled in.

Apsona Take The Headache Out of Data Import_html_910a7a2e45358847

As an added bonus, if you are using the Non Profit Success Pack, Opportunity Contact Role records will automatically be created when you import the new Opportunity records. The Primary Contact will be set to the Contact you designated, with the default role of Donor, and the Primary checkbox will be checked.

As you can see, Apsona’s smart Data Import tool make it easy to import spreadsheets of related data, such as donors and their donation records — even when some of the data is duplicated. And with the ability to add columns to the import on the fly without having to edit the original data file, the import is even easier.

Apsona Charts and dashboards

July 10th, 2015

Segment, slice and dice your data at will with Apsona’s Charting and dashboard add-on. This new add-on is the latest entrant to the Apsona suite of products. The question we were frequently asked was, “As Apsona reporting is so powerful, why can we not see the report data as charts and in dashboards?” Now, with Apsona’s Charting and dashboards, you can visualize and analyze your data in real time, right within your Salesforce org in your browser – there is no exchange of data with an external data warehouse.

Apsona charting supports several types of charts – horizontal and vertical bar charts, pie and line charts, KPI’s and Pivot tables. More chart types are on the way. You can create powerful charts with it – charts that cannot be constructed with native Salesforce. One example that comes to mind is a chart with multiple “layers”.  A multi-layer chart is one that contains two or more charts overlaid on each other.  For example, you can create a two-layer chart with one layer containing Campaign and expenditure information, overlaid with a second layer containing Campaign and Opportunity revenue information.  This way, you can get a side-by-side view of two related metrics (expenditure and revenue) in the same chart – even if those metrics are not available from the same report or object. You can also apply filter conditions to each layer if required. Layers can be added to vertical and horizontal bar charts.

Another powerful visualization available is the pivot table. With this device, you can use multiple dimensions in the rows and columns and metrics in the cells. You can also use multiple metrics in the cells, and essentially get all of the benefits of an Excel pivot table right in your browser.

Most organizations set goals and use metrics to measure performance towards those goals. This is where dashboards come in handy. You can now present the storyboard of your data as an Apsona dashboard. An Apsona dashboard is basically a collection of Apsona charts. It can include a combination of charts, and can easily be edited and previewed, and its charts resized and repositioned. You can add an Apsona dashboard to a Salesforce Home page and also as a related list in a Salesforce object.


To try out Apsona Charting and dashboards, please click the Feedback link in Apsona for Salesforce and send us a request. We look forward to feedback and suggestions on this add-on.



Fundraising Reporting with Apsona Multi-step Reporting

February 27th, 2015

Constituent reporting on individual donors and their giving histories is invaluable information for a non-profit organization. One such report requirement was posted on the Power Of Us Hub where the user wanted to find the increase or decrease in donation amounts by their donors. Here is the question:

  • My fundraising team wants to know how many donors increased their donation size from the last donation to the current one. I told them I could do Total Gifts This Year vs Total Gifts Last Year, but not Current Gift vs Previous Gift. Can you all think of a way to measure an increase (or decrease) in donation amount from one to the next?

Reading the responses it became obvious that this report is not possible to create with the native Salesforce reporting. However, with Apsona Multi-step Reporting, this report can be built in a few minutes. This report will require two query steps and one calculated step. Let’s take a look at how to build out such a report.

For the query steps, you first get the donors and filter them by campaign name or opportunity close date depending on the required criteria. Next, retrieve the opportunities to the donors, filter by close date and Role. Multi-step has the ability to get ranked data, which will need to be applied when querying for the opportunities. Limiting the 2 donations in descending order will give you the last two donation amounts to each donor. The steps will be woven together with the contact ID.

As there is no direct link between the Contacts (donors) and Opportunities (Donations), data for the two query steps will come from the Opportunity Contact Role (OCR) object. This object is best suited for this task, since it is treated as a stand-alone object in Apsona, and is also the junction between Donors and Donations. Therefore, you retrieve fields from the Donor (Contacts) as well as Donation objects (Opportunities) as they are both have lookup relationships from the OCR. Thus, you can retrieve the contact ID in both the steps and weave them together. Unlike in Salesforce reporting, you can use the same object more than once in Apsona Multi-step with different filter criteria and is ideal for this use case.

Now that you have the donors and their last two donations, you will need to find the difference between the amounts. For this you use a calculated step and add a formula as follows – {!Last 2 Donations 1.Amount} – {!Last 2 Donations 2.Amount}. Once you save and run the report will see the donor information, the last 2 donations amounts to the donor and the difference between the donation amounts.

When you run the report, you will also want to see the two donation amounts to each donor in a single row to make the comparison.

In a multi-step report, you have the option to display the output of a step as a sequence of blocks of columns instead of the usual row layout. Below is an image of the final report.


Donor Adam Dunn has donated $250,000 and $ 300, 000. You also see the difference in the Amount column as $50,000. The reason the amount is showing in parentheses is because the formula in the calculated steps is set to subtract Donation 1 from donation 2.

This shows how you can combine two important operations – transposing rows to columns, and using calculated values – to produce the result you want.

We hope you found this blog useful and try out Apsona Multi-step Reporting.

Updating data without VLOOKUP with Apsona

January 31st, 2015

Apsona for Salesforce has built-in tools that can highlight data quality issues, which you can find and replace when ever the need arises. Most businesses are aware that bad data quality can be a huge drain on their productivity and profitability. If you have an active Salesforce org you will always need to update data on a regular basis. Phone numbers, email addresses or mailing addresses of contacts and leads might need updating from time to time. Such mass updating cannot be done natively in Salesforce, but can be done with Apsona.

Here is a real use case. After running a mailing campaign, a user obtains a list of mail recipients who have unsubscribed. So she needs to remove the email address from the corresponding a set of contact records and replace the field value to null. She also wants to update the “Email Opt Out” checkbox for all the mail recipients. The recipient list is a CSV file with just the email addresses that have to be removed. Contact ID’s or even a First and Last name are not available.

With Apsona, you can match such a set of data records in a CSV format against your Salesforce data, and obtain the record ID for each record, if one is available. In this case, you use the email addresses CSV file as the data source and take advantage of Apsona’s import tool. You will be able to match the CSV data records against Salesforce data in steps 1 and 2 of the import/update process. In step 3, instead of clicking the Import button, you will need to click the ‘Download match results’ link. The resulting download will contain your data (the email addresses) with an additional first (leftmost) column containing the unique record IDs of the matched records. So we already not have the ID’s with just a few clicks. Half way there already.

Now for the replace part. In the downloaded file add another column called Email (Null values) and leave the cell values blank. Use the import tool again and choose the update action. Use the Contact ID as the look up field in step 1 and map the Email (null values) columns to Email in step 2. Complete the update in step 3 and you are done.

In the example, we saw how to find the unique ID’s and replace the field data values with a few clicks without having to go though the tedious VLOOKUP function in Excel.

Download Apsona for Salesforce from the AppExchange and try out your use cases. The app had a 30 day free trial.

Happy New Year from the Apsona Team

December 31st, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought you’d be happy to hear from the two Apsona elves that are hard at work creating new features to serve you better. So here are some features you might like.

  • The field selector for creating filters and for adding fields to reports is now easier to use as well as searchable for both objects and fields. You might look at the screen shots in our documentation, and better yet, try it out!
  • Administrators can now manage their Document and Mail merge licenses from within the Apsona application.
  • Document and Excel merge actions can now be invoked directly from either a detail page button or a Salesforce sidebar component, e.g., from the left side of your Salesforce home page. Visit our website for more information about this.
  • You can now generate address labels from the document merge tool.
  • As always, if you see bugs or glitches, or have questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Thank you for supporting the Apsona apps. Wish you the very best for 2015 and beyond.

    The Apsona team

    How To Generate Documents and Emails with Apsona

    April 29th, 2014

    Apsona’s new merge tool allows you to quickly generate Word, Excel and email directly from your Salesforce org. You can generate end-of-year tax summaries and thank-you letters to your donors, or a proposal or quote to your customer, as a Word document. You can choose to send donors an email via a HTML template if you want to go paperless. And you can also render your pledged and posted donations into a multi-sheet Excel report, complete with charts and pivot tables. All of this functionality is included in one package – Apsona Document and Mail Merge.

    Here are some of the key benefits of the Apsona merge add-on.

    • Entirely browser-based:  The merge process works entirely within your browser, and has no interaction with any external services. So your data never leaves your browser. This is unlike many competing products, which typically ferry your data over to the vendor’s server and carry out the merge process there.
    • Flexible field naming in templates: Template building is quick and easy: you don’t need to adhere to any particular naming convention of Salesforce field names. When you create the template, you simply make up any field names you want, and Apsona will discover those names and let you match them with data fields.
    • Compatible with existing templates: If you have already created document templates for competing products, Apsona’s merge tool can usually use them directly with no change.
    • Powerful data retrieval ability: You can leverage Apsona’s powerful reporting capabilities as the data source for the merges. Data can be retrieved directly from a Salesforce object, or from any Apsona report – single step or multi-step. Thus you can combine fields from multiple objects into one template. You can even include calculated (aggregate) fields such as total donation amount in the last six months, or the most recent gift date last year – calculations that might not be available through roll-up fields. Filters can be added to an existing merge on the fly.
    • Integrated with Salesforce buttons: The merge add-on integrates into Salesforce detail pages via custom buttons. Setting up a button is simple: Generate the code for the button from within Apsona and paste the code into the button’s JavaScript area. No need to mess with template IDs, query IDs or URLs, unlike competing products.

    Example: Sending a thank-you letter. A thank-you letter typically includes merge fields from the Contact object, such as the name and address. It might also include merge fields for sub-lists, e.g., a list of donations by that contact, containing the date, amount and campaign of each donation. To create such a merge:

    • To include a list of donations by the contact, you can build a table in the document template. The rows of the table might contain Donation merge fields, such as amount, payment method and donation date. As with other similar products, the leftmost cell in the table should include the TableStart field, which specifies a record group name following a colon. The rightmost cell in the table should similarly include the TableEnd field. These two markers indicate the region of the document that must be replicated, once for each Donation.
    • The data source for a template can be obtained from pre-built Apsona reports, or directly from an object. For example, the Contact information can come from the Contact object, and the list of donations can be obtained from a Donation report. Before running a pre-built merge template, you can also apply additional filter terms that are not specified in the Donation report.

    You can also generate customized emails using email templates stored in your Salesforce Communication Templates. As with documents, the tool can recognize merge fields in the email template and generate customized emails from the corresponding data. It can even attach a generated Word document with a generated email before sending it off. It can also handle email templates made with letterheads.

    A system administrator can set up merge actions using templates and their data sources, and all that the end user has to do is run an existing merge action whenever the need arises. The administrator can also manage merge actions, e.g., identify unused ones and delete them.

    You can try out the Document merge, Excel merge, Email merge and Email and Document merge when you download the Apsona for Salesforce app from the AppExchange. For more details, please visit our website or email us at

    We would like to thank Idealist Consulting for hosting this blog entry.

    How to find your top donors across multiple campaigns

    March 4th, 2014

    Building Salesforce reports can sometimes be very challenging. You start building a report and you realize you cannot access the objects you want, or use the appropriate lookups, or apply the relevant filter criteria. Apsona Multi-step Reporting (MSR) addresses some of these problems. This reporting app lets you build reports spanning any number of objects, native or custom.  It lets you traverse dependencies in either direction (parent-to-child or child-to-parent), and can handle multiple dependencies between the same pairs of objects. For example, you can create a report spanning the Campaign (parent) – Opportunity (child) – Opportunity Contact Role and back up the chain to Contact (parent). Another plus with Apsona MSR is the ability to run reports without having to create report types.

    A few key concepts to bear in mind:

    • Reports are built in steps.
    • Each step retrieves data from one object.
    • Each step carries its own filter conditions, independent of the other steps, and these conditions can be cross-object.
    • Steps are linked to previous steps via lookup fields or picklist values.

    We will use an example to illustrate these ideas. Frequently, non-profit organizations need to identify their top donors and learn their interests, so that the organization can target the right people in future campaigns. In that context, they often need to identify donors who donated in multiple campaigns, or those who have donated to two or more specific campaigns.

    As a simplified example, suppose we are conducting a dinner gala, to which we would like to invite our top donors from the Kids Literacy and the School supplies Campaigns. So we want a list of those donors who have contributed in both the campaigns. Intuition suggests that we can produce this report by first creating two lists of donors, one for each campaign, and then identifying the common ones. And this is precisely how you would build a multi-step report for this purpose. The Opportunity Contact Role (OCR) object is the basis of this report, since an entry in that object tells us the existence of a donation by a donor. The Donation object has a lookup to Campaign, and therefore accessible from the OCR object. So here are the three steps of the multi-step report.

    1. Find the donors for Kids Literacy. From the OCR object, get the Donor/Contact look up field. From the Donor object, get the donor’s Full Name. In the filter terms, select the Campaign field from the Opportunity object and select Kids Literacy as the value. Save the step.
    2. Find the donors for School Supplies. Clone Step 1 and just change the filter term value of the Campaign to School supplies. Save the step.
    3. Find the donors in both campaigns. From the Contact object, select the Contact ID field (required for linking to the previous steps), Full name and any other Contact fields you require for the report. Click the linkages tab. You will now see that you have two linkage options, one from each step. Notice that this is where we use the lookup field values retrieved by the previous two steps. You will need to select both the linkages, to enforce the condition that you want contacts from both campaigns. Save and run the report, and you have your desired results.

    Notice that this report retrieves data twice from the same object (Opportunity Contact Role), with different filter criteria. This capability is needed frequently in real-world situations. In addition, Multi-step Report data can be visualized in charts, groups, and pivoted matrices.

    We would like to thank Idealist Consulting for the opportunity to contribute this article to their blog.

    Blog Category:

    Managing file storage in your Salesforce Org

    February 21st, 2014

    Apsona for Salesforce now supports Attachments, Notes, Tasks and Events for all objects of Salesforce, native and custom. You can now import, export, update and delete data into these objects. So, why is this functionality different, when it is already supported for the existing native and custom objects? Apsona treats Attachments, Notes, Tasks and Events as linked to specific Salesforce objects. For example, the Contacts object in Apsona, has its own Contact Notes, Contact Attachments, Contact tasks and Contact Events objects. Similarly, any object that has associated Task records in Salesforce has its own “surrogate” Task object in Apsona. This is extremely handy as when you import notes or tasks to a contact – it is automatically linked to the contact. All you need to provide is the Contact ID or Full name during the import. Similarly, you can manage the Task records associated with any object simply by using its associated surrogate Task object in Apsona.

    With this functionality, the Apsona app is very useful to users for managing the organization’s file storage. Storage in Salesforce can be of two types – file and data. File storage includes files in attachments, the Documents tab, the Files tab, the File field, Salesforce CRM Content, Chatter (including user photos). The file storage limits for a Professional edition user is 612 MB, and for the Enterprise user, it is 2 GB. From what we have seen, Tasks and Attachments use up the storage limit rapidly. You might choose to treat this data as obsolete after a few years, and wish to delete it. The System Administrator can take stock of all the attachments, documents and archived tasks as they all count against storage. With the surrogate objects in Apsona, searching and filtering data to be deleted can be achieved with a few clicks. For example, let’s say you want to delete Contact tasks which are 3 years or older. Isolating such data from the Activities table in Salesforce – a single table which has all the tasks of all the objects in Salesforce can be very tedious. With Apsona, this task is simple, easy and quick. Here is how you would go about it:

    • Go to Settings – Configurations, and bring the Contact Tasks object to the menu bar as described here.
    • Create a filter by created date and user.
    • Click Tools – Delete All
    • Done!

    You can now comb through each object for their Notes, Attachments, Tasks and Events, and free up a lot of used storage place, thus cutting down your costs.

    Similarly you can manage your Documents too. A common use case with Documents is when a user leaves the organization and you want to transfer ownership to another user. You can do this with easily with Apsona. Get the Documents to the menu bar. Run a filter by author name. Click Tools – Update All. When you choose the Author field all the users in the org will dropdown as values. Select the user and click Update All. All the Documents will now have the new owner as the author.

    These are just a few use cases we have covered in this blog. We hope you find this functionality useful and we would love to hear about your use cases. If you have not installed Apsona for Salesforce, do download it from the AppExchange and try it out.