Admin Tips

A Quick Guide to Quick Actions and Global Actions

What are Quick Actions and Global Actions and how to make the most of them?

Last Update:
July 19, 2021

Table of Contents

One valuable feature across a lot of Salesforce’s products is the ability to hand some of the responsibility and repetitive work functions over from the users to the system itself. Salesforce has developed a number of tools to achieve this with Salesforce - Process Builder, Flows, and Workflow Rules are tools that Admins have at their disposal to configure the system to allow users to be more hands-off while ensuring things are still done properly. One feature that’s often overlooked among all the new and flashy tools is Quick Actions. 

What are Quick Actions?

When people think of Quick Actions, they’ll essentially think of the ‘Lightning Button’, which is partially true. Buttons in Classic were upgraded to Actions in Lightning, but that’s not all an Action is - in fact, they’re quite useful to customise your User Interface! 

From creating records, to sending emails, to calling custom Lightning Web Components, Actions are quite versatile. 

Global vs Object Specific

There are two kinds of Actions - Quick Actions (which are Object Specific) and Global Actions. The main difference between these two is that Global Actions are available for use across Salesforce and are not restricted to a single Object or page. They sit within the Global Publisher Layout.

Global Actions Salesforce

Object Specific Quick Actions are created against a specific object. Some examples of Object Specific Quick Actions are that you may need a Quick Action that your Users can use to quickly create a new Contact against an Account, or a method of quickly updating some key fields on an Opportunity, or making a Screen Flow quickly available to your users on the Lead Page.

Types of Actions

Object Specific Quick Actions have multiple Action Types:

  • Create a Record
  • These create new records that can be automatically related to the parent record (ie. if the Action is created on an Account and is a Create Contact Action, it will automatically be related to the Account record it is called from).
  • Send Email
  • Specific to the Case Object, this allows the user to send an email using a simplified Case Email Feed action
  • Log a Call
  • Make it easy for Users to record Activities against a record.
  • Custom Visualforce
  • Load a Visualforce page and pass through the record’s Id
  • Update a Record
  • A small form that allows the User to update the record they called the Action from
  • Lightning Component
  • Load a Lightning Component and pass through the record’s Id
  • Lightning Web Component
  • Load a Lightning Component and pass through the record’s Id
  • Flow
  • Load a Flow and pass through the record’s Id

Global Actions have different Action Types to Object Specific Actions:

  • Create a Record
  • Similar to the Object Specific Action, except the new record won’t be related to the old record
  • Send Email
  • Only available in Lightning Experience, this Action allows the User to quickly send an email
  • Log a Call
  • Make it easy for Users to record Activities against a record.
  • Custom Visualforce
  • Load a Visualforce page that Users can use anywhere in the system
  • Custom Canvas
  • Load a canvas app that Users can use anywhere in the system
  • Lightning Component
  • Load a Lightning Component that Users can use anywhere in the system

Building an Update Quick Action

Let’s create an Update Quick Action on the Contact record that allows a User to quickly update the Email, Phone, and Mobile on a Contact record.

To get started, head to the Object Manager in Setup and find the Contact Object. Open the Buttons, Links, and Actions menu.

Contact Button and Actions

Click the New Action button. Set the following values on your new Action:

Action Type: Update a Record

Label: Update Contact Details

Name: Update_Contact_Details

Enter Action Information Salesforce

Click Save. You’ll be brought to the Update Action’s layout editor. Remove all fields except Email, Phone, and Mobile. You’ll be shown the following error message, which isn’t relevant in our situation - Click Yes. 

Warning on Save Quick Action Salesforce

Fantastic! Your Update Record Action is complete. The next step is exposing it to your Users.

Amending a Lightning Page with an Update Quick Action

Remember the previous article where you read about Dynamic Forms, and how they were limited to Custom Objects? What if you wanted to highlight some key fields separate to the rest of your Page Layout on a Standard Object like Contacts? Luckily, you can achieve a similar result using Update Actions. 

To do this, navigate to a Contact record within your org, click the cog icon at the top and click Edit Page.

Salesforce settings dropdown - edit page

Drag the Related Record Component onto the screen, wherever you’d like the Contact Details to show up. Ensure the Update Action is set to the Update Contact Details Action you created earlier, and Lookup Field is set to Use This Contact.

Related Record Example Salesforce

Make sure to Save and Activate your Lightning Page. Now when you head back to the Contact record, you’ll see the three fields from your Update Action available in a separate panel on the Lightning Page. 

Salesforce Contact Page Example


In this article, you’ve learnt about the difference between Object Specific Actions and Global Actions, and what Action Types are available to each. You’ve gone through the steps to create an Update Action and how to apply it to the Lightning Page to make it behave in a similar way to a Dynamic Form on a Standard Object.

Jump into a Sandbox or Developer org and have a play with some of the other Action types!

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