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I was configuring DataLoader to export a list of Opportunities, and I went to select the “Owner Name”. However, only OwnerID is available on an Opportunity.

“No problem!” I think to myself, as I go and create a Custom Field with a formula equal to Owner.Alias.

“What?” I say in surprise. “It won’t let me access a field on the Owner object!”


Mmm. This is strange. Then a Google Search reveals an 18-month old Ideas request to Make “Owner Id” Look up fields available for formulas.

Oh dear.

Well, that’s a shame, but it’s easily solved! I created:

  • A field called Owner_Link__c of type Lookup(User)
  • A Trigger to copy OwnerId to Owner_Link__c when the Owner is changed
  • A test for the Trigger


trigger Update_OwnerLink_on_Owner_Update on Opportunity (before update, before insert) {

  // When 'Owner' field is changed, update 'OwnerLink' too

	// Loop through the incoming records
	for (Opportunity o : {

		// Has Owner chagned?
		if (o.OwnerID != o.Owner_Link__c) {
			o.Owner_Link__c = o.OwnerId;


public with sharing class TriggerTest_OwnerLink {

	static TestMethod void testOwnerLink() {

		// Grab two Users
		User[] users = [select Id from User limit 2];
		User u1 = users[0];
		User u2 = users[1];

		// Create an Opportunity
		System.debug('Creating Opportunity');
		Opportunity o1 = new Opportunity(CloseDate = Date.newInstance(2008, 01, 01), Name = 'Test Opportunity', StageName = 'New', OwnerId = u1.Id);
		insert o1;

		// Test: Owner_Link should be set to user 1
		Opportunity o2 = [select id, OwnerId, Owner_Link__c from Opportunity where Id = :o1.Id];
		System.assertEquals(u1.Id, o2.OwnerId);
		System.assertEquals(u1.Id, o2.Owner_Link__c);

		// Modify Owner
		o2.OwnerId = u2.Id;
		update o2;

		// Test: Owner_Link should be set to user 2
		Opportunity o3 = [select id, OwnerId, Owner_Link__c from Opportunity where Id = :o2.Id];
		System.assertEquals(u2.Id, o3.OwnerId);
		System.assertEquals(u2.Id, o3.Owner_Link__c);

This then gave me a new Owner object on my Opportunity on which I could create Formulas:


I could also use it in the DataLoader by referring to Owner_Link__r.Alias.


Easy to solve, but it’s a shame it was necessary.

The Bottom Line

  • Formulas can’t access Opportunity.Owner fields
  • Create a ‘shadow’ field to hold Owner and populate it via a Trigger
Tags: formulas

I wanted to add a Link to a related list, which would take the user to an external system.

Problem was, if I used a URL field, wanted to show the entire URL within the Related List. This was so long that it drowned-out the other information.

With a bit of experimenting, I managed to create a Formula that produced a very small link.

How’d I do it? By using the HYPERLINK function.

HYPERLINK("" & Activity_ID__c, "View", "_blank")

This lets me build a URL based upon some partial information in a record (eg ID number) rather than having to store the entire URL within the record.

The Bottom Line

  • Use HYPERLINK to make a URL instead of creating a field of type URL