Lights, Camera, Global Actions!

In Summer ’13, Salesforce made Publisher Actions generally available. For a brief overview:

The publisher actions feature lets you create actions and add them to the Chatter publisher on the home page, the Chatter tab, and record detail pages. It also allows you to customize the order in which the standard Chatter actions appear, including Post, File, Link, and Poll.

Actions let users do more in Chatter, like create records directly in the feed. There are two general types of actions: create actions and custom actions.

  • Create actions let users create records. They’re different from the New button on object tabs and the Quick Create and Create New features on the home page. Create actions respect your validation rules and field requiredness, and you can choose each action’s fields.
  • Custom actions are Visualforce pages with functionality you define. For example, you might create a custom action to let users write comments longer than 1000 characters.

So, in short, these publisher actions are essentially going to be an extension of Chatter that is customizable. There have been some really well written articles that talk about Publisher Actions associated to a specific object. In this article, we are going to take a look at Global Actions.

You can locate the Global Actions link under the Build > Create section:

takes you to:

Let’s click New Action.

Right off the bat, we can see two different Action Types. The two action types include:

  • Create a Record

    • A Create action allows users to create records in the publisher.
  • Custom Action

    • A Custom action is a Visualforce page.

For this example, we will focus on Create a Record. Next thing we need to take into consideration is the Target Object. The Target Object is the type of object record this action will create, such as an account in this scenario. We just need to provide a Label, Name, and Description next. Finally, the Icon, which only appears when you use the action through the API, is defaulted to the currently selected object. You can override that icon by clicking Change Icon, but for this scenario the default Account icon is fine. We get something that looks like:

By clicking Save, we are taken into the Action Layout editor.

The Action Layout editor is similar to the normal Page Layout editor. You can drag and drop fields onto the page. You can make fields Read Only and Required. You can rearrange fields. With that said, there are also some differences. The layout is much simpler forcing a two column layout with no sections. The only entities you can add are the object’s fields.

After we save our layout, we are taken back to the Global Actions page.

If you click the label, it will take you back into the View page.

Here, you will notice a related list called Predefined Field Values. This will allow you to set formulas to default certain values of the related object to when it is created as part of a Publisher Action. Let’s go ahead and create one.

The next thing we need to do is set up our Global Publisher Layouts. These can be found under Customize > Chatter > Publisher Layouts. Now, in my test org, there was already a Global Publisher layout set up, but you may have to create on yourself. I will simply use the one that was already created.

When I click Edit on the Global Action already created, I am taken to the Global Publisher Layout Editor.

It works just like every other layout, so all I need to do is drag and drop the New Account action into place. On this page, you can also reorder your actions or even remove actions you don’t want your users to have. Now, when I save this layout, there is an important note to remember. This handles your global layout so it will modify your Chatter abilities on your Home page, Chatter tab, and User Profile. All of your Chatter widgets will now look like:

The important thing to note here is the fact that More is now an option. When you click More, you will see our newly created New Account action.

Just to repeat, it is important to remember that this functionality is now on your Home page, Chatter tab, and User Profile. It is not specific to a page. When you click New Account, your screen will automatically expand to expose the layout you set up for creating your record. In our case, it is the account. All your users have to do now is specify the values they want, and click Create.

As soon as that object is created, it is instantly posted to your Chatter feed.

When you view that Account’s detail page, you will notice that the predefined value we gave to the Description is automatically set up. It is important to recognize that those predefined fields do not need to be a part of your Global Action Layout for the values to be set when creating the record with a global action.

There you have it! A user can now automatically create an Account quickly using Chatter and it only took minutes to set up. A final important thing to note is that Global Publisher Layouts are profile specific, so you can set up different layouts per profile to provide different functionality.

For other articles detailing out the other functionality of Publisher Actions, check out:


  1. Tips To Promote Chatter Adoption | Jesse Altman - September 30, 2013

    […] Finally, it is crucial to continue expanding your Chatter usage. You may never get to 100% usage, but the only way to get more users involved is to continue to expand the use of Chatter. Thankfully, Salesforce recently launched Publisher Actions. […]

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