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Managing and sharing filters

Filter creation

Apsona for Salesforce includes a feature for sharing filters between users, so that a filter created by one user is accessible to other users of the organization. So an expert or power user can develop the precise search criteria for extracting a specific set of records of an object, e.g., "Accounts with new Opportunities" or "Cases with no activity this week". She can then save the search criteria as a named filter that others can use. Or an administrator may create a pre-built set of filters and make them available to all standard users in the organization. Those filters are then available in the "Filters" dropdown for other users, who can then simply click on the filter name to invoke the filter.

The filters in the dropdown are shown in two groups, according to ownership. Ordinarily the groups are named "My filters" and "Others' filters." The filters you see in the "My filters" group are the ones that you own, and the ones in the "Others' filters" group are those that you do not own.

In each object, the Tools - Filters menu item shows a list of the filters available for that object.

When you click one of the filters in the list, you will see the details for that filter. You may then edit that filter if own it; otherwise, instead of a "Save" button, a message is shown that you do not own the filter. Also, when you hover your mouse cursor over the name of a filter that you own, a delete icon appears to the right, that you can use to delete the filter. The delete icon will not appear if you do not own the filter.

Filter sharing levels

When there are many users in your organization, and each creates their own filters, the presence of too many filters in the filter list can become confusing. So Apsona offers three modes of filter sharing for a particular organization:
  1. Share all filters: Every filter created by a user is available to every other user. This is the default setting, and it is usually appropriate for small teams of users who would like to share their work. This is the default mode for all organizations.
  2. Share only public filters: In this mode, if you are an administrator, you can create a filter and mark it "public". You do so by navigating to Tools - Filters, clicking the filter in question, and checking a box (see the screen shot below), thus making the filter to be available to other users. In this mode, the filters that users see in the filter dropdown are grouped into "My filters" and "Public filters."  Those in the "My filters" group are the ones you own, and those in the "Public filters" group are filters that others have marked public.
  3. No filter sharing. This mode shows only the filters you own.
By default, all organizations are configured to use the "Share all filters" mode. It is also possible to enable Apex sharing so that your administrator can obtain fine-grain control over which filters are shared among users.

Note: If you are an administrator and you create a public filter, the fields it uses must be accessible to any user who might use the filter. This is a concern if, for example, you have set up a user's Apsona configuration to hide one or more fields of an object, but you have used one of those fields in the filter. If you do so, when that user tries to use the filter, an error message appears that some of those fields are not available.

Viewing and deleting your filters

The Tools menu for each object contains a Filters menu item. Clicking this item displays a list of the filters for that object. You can then click any of the filters to edit it. Hovering over a filter displays a delete icon via which you can delete the filter.

Copying or replicating a filter

When you select a filter from the filters dropdown, its terms are shown in the filter builder area. You can immediately click "Save as filter" and provide a different filter name to save the filter under a different name. You can, of course, also modify the filter terms as needed before saving. This provides a simple way to create new filters based on existing ones.

Note that you cannot save the filter with the same name as an existing one. If you try to do so, Apsona displays a warning message and refuses to save it. This is to ensure that you don't end up with a lot of filters with the same name.

Changing filter ownership

As an administrator, you would sometimes want to change the ownership of one or more filters, e.g., when you wish to hand off your work to another user or administrator. To make this happen, you can use the "Apsona items" list. All of the filters in your organization, as well as all reports, console view layouts,  are stored as records in the Apsona Item object, accessible via the Settings - Apsona items menu item. (Note that this menu item is only available to administrators.) Clicking this menu shows all the Apsona Item records in your system, in a console view, with the list of items on the left and detail on the right. To change the ownership of a particular filter, you simply find the filter's record among the Apsona items, click it and edit its owner via the detail panel on the right. You can even perform a mass reassignment of ownership of all filters you own, just as you would with any other object in Salesforce: Just find the filter list (by filtering the item list to show the filter items that you own), click Tools - Update all, and change the Owner field to the new owner.

Initial filters

Usually, when a user views an object’s records in either tabular view or the console (“All records”) view for the first time, Apsona shows (the first pageful of) all the records in the object, along with a count of the number of records in the object. This behavior is not always desirable, for a few reasons: To address these issues, Apsona provides the ability to set initial filters. An initial filter is a filter that is automatically applied when the user selects either the console view or the tabular view for the first time. An administrator can set up initial filter for each object and each profile. For example, the Sales profile might be provided an initial filter Contacts in California for the Contact object, and the Service Agent profile might be provided an initial filter Open cases for the Case object. With this arrangement, the user will see the filtered list of records when she first visits the console view or tabular view. Note that the initial filter is intended only as a convenience, in that the user can always reset the filter (by clicking the “Reset” link in the filter box) and view all the records in the object.

Setting up initial filters

When an administrator logs in to Apsona and navigates to Tools - Filters in any object, a "Set initial filters" button is displayed, as in the screen shot below left. (Note that this button is not available to non-administrators.) Clicking the button produces a popup window, as below. You can use this popup to select the initial filter that should apply to each profile in your system. When you click on the dropdown next to a profile, you will see all the saved filters for the object. These include the “My filters” (the filters you own) and “Public filters” (the filters owned by other users). If a certain profile does not need an initial filter, simply choose "(None selected)" as the option for that profile.

Administrator notes