Build Your Own Salesforce Custom Report Types

Salesforce Reports analyze data that is stored on Salesforce Records that belong to Salesforce Objects that are related to one another, or not. That’s a mouthful. And so are Salesforce Reports. Depending on how the data has been set up and structured in your Salesforce org, you’ll need to craft your reports in a corresponding fashion. Salesforce doesn’t leave you alone. They give you ready-to-use Standard Report Types. And if you can’t find what you need you simply build your own, meaning Custom Report Types. Let’s discuss the differences and when to use what type.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

What are Salesforce Standard Report Types?

Standard Report Types are provided by Salesforce out-of-the-box. They come with Salesforce’s Standard Objects such as Accounts, Opportunities, Cases, Leads and so on. You will find the corresponding categories from which you can choose the available Report Types from.

Plus, when you create a Custom Object and tick the “Allow Reports” checkbox, Salesforce will also create a Report Type for you automatically. You’ll find it under “Other Reports”.

Which Standard Report Type Should You Use?

Let’s use the “Opportunities” Category as an example. This is where you find Reports related to the Opportunities Object and their associated Objects such as Products or Contact Roles etc.

The Standard Report Type “Opportunities” will include fields from the Details tab of these records.

A Report Type like the “Opportunities with Products” will include fields from the Details tab as well as fields from the related Object, in this case the Product details.

TIP: Report Types that include details from related records like Products, will only give you a subset of the records (=AND condition). In our example only Opportunities that do have Products attached. You will not be able to include Opportunities without Products.

That’s where Custom Report Types come in.

What are Salesforce Custom Report Types?

Whenever you can’t find a suitable Standard Report Type or need something more complex, that’s when you need to build your own Custom Report Type.

For example: Opportunities with our without Products (=OR condition)

How To Build Custom Report Types

Custom Report Types (CRTs) are created from the Setup menu. You need to select the Primary Object, choose a meaningful Report Type Name and Description. And, you can choose a Category, though you can’t create new categories.

These steps are pretty straight forward. BUT, what the heck is a Primary Object? The question should rather be: What is the main focus of the Report? The Primary Object will determine your Filter Options in the Report.

For example: CRT on Accounts with or without Opportunities. The main focus is on Accounts for which you want to see related Opportunities details. Users will be able to filter by Account to identify those that do or do not have Opportunities.

CRTs typically contain information from multiple related Salesforce Objects, such as “Accounts with Opportunities with Products with Schedules”. Or: “Accounts with or without Opportunities with or without Products with or without Schedules”. The latter would be the most comprehensive.

This means, you can add up to four related Objects, the Primary Object being your first one. You can choose between AND or OR conditions.

AND example: Accounts with Opportunities

OR example: Accounts with our without Opportunities

Awesome Custom Report Types Features

CRTs have another huge advantage over Standard Report Types: They allow you to tailor what will be available in the Report Builder.

You can organize the fields from each Object and group them into logical sections. You can even rename field labels, especially when you have duplicate field names like the “Created By” field. AND: You can add fields from related parent records, meaning Lookup fields. For example: On Account records, you’d have Lookup fields to the Account Owner (= User Object).

You can also specify default columns which will auto-populate when Users create a new Report of this Report Type.

Benefits of Salesforce Custom Report Types

CRTs have many benefits. You can even use them to improve Standard Report Types, though you’ll have to re-create them first as a CRT.

CRTs help you to:

  • Remove clutter from Reports that Users don’t need to see or should not be using
  • Make building Reports easier for Users
  • Standardize the Report building process across teams and departments

Did You Know?

You can hide Standard or Custom Report Types which are redundant. Instead of deleting a Report Type (CRTs only) which would delete all associated Reports, you can simply hide the Report Type.

NOTE: This is currently only possible through the Salesforce Classic UI. However, Salesforce is planning to make this available to Lightning in Spring’23. (Refer to Release Notes!)

If you want to learn more about creating Standard and Custom Report creation, it’s included in our all of our Salesforce Certification Courses. Understanding the data setup and structure is a critical component. That’s why we recommend learning about Reports in context of the bigger picture. This will make you the better Salesforce Admin or Business Analyst.

Plus, all study materials, such as Video Tutorials and Study Workbooks contain awesome checklists, flow charts, diagrams and best practices. You can even download and pin them to your office wall. 🤓

Let me know in the comments what types of Custom Report Types you have created or which ones you would like to try out.


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