Understanding the salesforce.com URL

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Understanding the salesforce.com URL

salesforce.com URL
Applies to: Classic

As a Salesforce Administrator, it’s important to understand the basics of the salesforce.com URL.  The better you understand the URL, the better you’ll be able to leverage it to give your users a better experience.

Before I begin, I need to make it clear that Salesforce does not support what you’re about to see.  Please do not contact them for help and expect support for what I’m about to show you.

Nearly everything in Salesforce is a record of some sort and as such they have an ID number.  These IDs have a structure to them so let’s take a closer look:


The Server Instance:  This represents the server your Salesforce data is hosted on.  Salesforce is frequently adding servers so these numbers are always increasing.  The alpha portion of the instance represents a global region, while the numeric portion represents the server number.  If you use a custom domain, you’ll see your domain name here.

The highlighted portion represents the record ID and it’s made up of several parts, which are:

The Object Code:The first three characters represent the object the Id belongs to.  In this case it’s “001”, which means this is an Account ID.  The table below is a quick reference of the most common objects.


The Pod/InstanceIdentifier:  This two-digit value represents the server instance the ID was generated on.  There are a series of numbers here that link back to the server instance.  We could have a separate discussion on this, but its not relevant for our purposes at this time.

Reserved:  This single digit value is reserved for Salesforce’s use should it ever be needed.  I’ve never seen it be anything other than a zero for now.

ID:  The next nine digits makes your record unique from everyone else.

Not shown in the URL, is an additional three digits that makes the ID case insensitive.  Anytime you reference the 15-digit record ID, you must keep the capitalization the same.  If you use the 18 digit ID, the capitalization doesn’t matter.

Action Codes

Now that we understand the makeup of the URL, lets explore some fun things we can do with it.  By editing the URL as shown below, different pages will appear.


Here are a couple examples:

https://na11.salesforce.com/001/o will display the overview page for the Account object.  This is the same as clicking on the Account tab.

https://na11.salesforce.com/001G000000q0Ipg/e will display the Edit page for the record ID shown in the URL.  This is the same as clicking the Edit button on a record.


Next, we’ll build on the simple Action by adding parameters to the URL to give us additional flexibility.  The table below shows a few common parameters you’ll see in a Salesforce URL:


retURL:  This tells the Edit page what page to display after you save or cancel the edits.

clone=1:  This is the same as pressing the Clone button when viewing a Detail page.

followup=1:  This is specific to a Task record and will tell the page to display a follow-up task in addition to the typical Task record.  So, you get two Task records on one screen.

As you navigate around Salesforce, review the URLs that are presented.  You’ll find a variety of parameters you can use.  Another one I didn’t list, that is also specific to a Task is:

IsReminderSet=1:  When this parameter is set to 1 the Task Reminder checkbox is marked.  If it’s set to 0, then it will be disabled.

When using parameters, the very first parameter will be prefaced with a “?”.  Then any additional parameters will be separated with a “&”.

Below are some examples of what the URL should be to perform the actions listed:


Sometimes, you’ll see “%2F” in front of a Salesforce Record ID.  “%2F” simply denotes how a browser sees a “/” mark.  I’ve always been able to remove that indicator when building custom URL buttons, but if you’re having trouble, you might try using this technique.  For more information on how to create custom buttons, see my post on URL Hacking for Salesforce Automation.

Have fun trying things in the URL line on your browser and see what happens.  As you learn more about the URLs, you’ll be able to create button and links to simplify processes for your users.

Terry Miller
Terry Miller
Terry has spent over 20 years focused on business leadership and information technology. As an independent consultant, he enjoys working with a variety of customers to help them solve business problems using the Salesforce® platform. His ability to quickly identify bottlenecks and provide understandable solutions has gained him the trust of his customers. If you're looking for expert guidance on your next Salesforce® project, click here to contact Terry today.

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