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What Is Controlling Field in Salesforce?

Have you ever encountered a large drop-down list where you struggle to find a value among the numerous choices available? It might be a trivial thing, but it can be a real hassle to some customers engaging in business with an entrepreneur online.

To help with this dilemma, Salesforce conceptualized the Field Dependencies feature. And under this we will find Controlling Fields. What is a Controlling Filed, and how does it help in picklist management? Find out in this short article.

Defining Controlling Field

Controlling Field is a type of picklist field that controls what values will become available on its designated dependent fields. It plays a crucial role in linking together two sets of Salesforce picklists. Controlling Field is an important part of Field Dependencies, a feature that lets users filter picklist field values depending on another field’s contents.

You can use any custom or standard picklist with less than 300 values, or any checkbox field within a single record as a controlling field.

Controlling Field in Action

Here is an example of how to use controlling fields to make it easier to understand its concept.

You want to create a picklist where users can choose the type of industry they work in. But each industry has several sub-industries underneath it. How do you use controlling fields to streamline this large picklist you want to create?

You will first create two separate fields – Industry and Sub-Industry. Now, you will create field dependencies between these two separate fields to link them together. The more dominant field is Industry since the other fields’ contents will be dependent upon it. Hence, you can classify Industry as your Controlling Field. It controls the contents of the other fields where it is linked to.

Your Sub-Industry filed will then become the so-called Dependent Field; its contents are dependent upon the values listed under the Controlling Field. You now populate your Sub-Industry field with values related to your Industry fields.


Salesforce Controlling Fields are used to link two related fields together and help tone down a large amount of values while creating picklists. These fields are part of the Field Dependencies feature that lets users make valuable linkages between fields to simplify picklist creation and management.

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