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Salesforce Winter 20 Features – Communities, Chatter, Quip, myTrailhead & Files

Winter 20
1. Salesforce Winter 20 Features – Lightning Sales Cloud, Einstein Sales Cloud and Force
2. Salesforce Winter 20 Features – Service Cloud, Einstein for Service and Field Service Lightning
3. Salesforce Winter 20 Features – Communities, Chatter, Quip, myTrailhead & Files
4. Salesforce Winter 20 Features – Community Security Enhancements
Winter 20 Release
Winter 20 Release

As I mentioned in our part 1, we’re a little late with the write-ups this release due to Labor Day and then our Gears Annual Company Meeting. We’re typically ahead of the release, but this weekend the last of the instances were updated and everyone is now on Winter 20. To catch-up we’re going to do a twofer today and post part 3 and part 4 at the same time. As a reminder, in Part 1 we went over all of the Sales Cloud and platform features and in Part 2 we went over Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning features. With this post we’re going to dive into all of the collaboration features: Community Cloud, Chatter, Files and Quip. With Part 4 – which is our usual rotating post – we’re focusing on the Community Security changes as there is a ton there. Our very own Community Specialist Taylor Grimes will be tackling that one.

Speaking of Communities, if you’re a big fan of Community Cloud and want to work on super cool and challenging projects leveraging it, we are looking to add a couple of Community Specialists to the team. We were just recently placed within the Top 10 for Best Small Consulting Firms to work for (voted on by our employees, which makes me incredibly proud to achieve) and we are an entirely virtual, work-from-home company. We’re hiring for a bunch of positions, but if you want to join a fun group of Salesforce geeks, this is the spot.

Alright, on to the blog post. I have some Modest Mouse fired up (Lampshades on Fire…) and I’m ready to go. As always, no real order to the list outside of what I think is cooler. Also, as with most of the Lightning Community releases, just remember you’re going to need to update your Communities to the latest version to take advantage of these features.

    • Salesforce CMS – Salesforce CMS was one of the big features in Spring 19 and we wrote about it heavily in our write-up, but it was in beta at the time. With Winter 20, Salesforce CMS goes GA and also adds a few new features. As a quick reminder, Salesforce CMS is essentially a way to centralize and manage all of your Community content. It’s not really about asset management, but more about a way to allow your Community Managers and Contributors to provide content when and where it’s needed without having to duplicate content or expose other Communities to your users. With Winter 20 this gets beefed up even more. First off, it’s now available to be used with the old Visualforce + Tabs Communities. Considering a lot of customers are still on this from having built their communities before Lightning was available (if you’re thinking of migrating, we wrote a great post about it here), this is terrific to see. The other bonus on this is that it also works with B2B Commerce. In addition, language functionality has been added to CMS. You can set what languages you need to support within each workspace and manage the translated content from within the workspace. Very cool. Now that this is GA – and especially if you are managing multiple Communities – this is a must-add feature. It’ll make your job as a Community administrator much easier and clearly, Salesforce will keep enhancing this, so you might as well jump in now.
      Salesforce CMS
      Salesforce CMS


  • Role Based Access – Hand and hand with Salesforce CMS, we also get a more user security flexibility with role based access controls. Unlike CMS though, this only works with Lightning Communities. With this new functionality you can now add Users as contributors to your different Community Workspaces and assign them one of the following roles:
    • Experience admin – Basically almost full access. These Users have full access to the Community Builder, can publish content and can manage other contributors.
    • Publisher – Have access to the Builder and can also publish content, but they can’t manage other contributors. They are essentially content super-users without the other access.
    • Builder – This is more for your community designers. They have access to the Community Builder, but they can’t publish and they can’t manage other contributors.
    • Viewer – Perfect for those users that you want approvals from. They have read-only access to the Community Builder, so they can see everything you’re intending to publish, but they can’t modify it, publish or manage other users.

    Overall, this is a great enhancement as you can now get help through-out the community without having to give away too much security. I’d love to see the same concept applied to the Knowledge side as well.



  • Flexible Page Layouts – The page builder just got even more flexible allowing us to build super unique page layouts for Communities. This is almost like creating a table in Powerpoint where you can select how many columns and sections you want and how wide they should be. No more needing to go custom when needing a unique looking page – now you have the flexibility to build those different page layouts all out-of-the-box. In addition to the flexible page layouts, we also now have the ability to set the maximum page width. Each theme can be set differently, but now you can stretch your Community pages or set specific widths to control the look and feel.
    Flexible Layouts in Communities



  • Share Record Files – I love this one! Previously, by default, even if a Community User has access to a record, they do not have visibility to the Files associated to that record. Now Files get a new Customer Access toggle that lets you decide if you want that File visible within the Community and then a drop-down allows you to set if it’s viewer or collaborator access. Lots of great uses for this – but especially with Partner Communities where you are trying to collaborate on Opportunities. Also some great Service uses – especially when you’re exposing Assets, etc. where now you can share all of the surrounding Files for those records.
    File Visibility within Communities
    File Visibility within Communities



  • Navigation Variations – A nice enhancement here that allows us to finally move beyond a single navigation menu option. Now you can set up different navigational menus and use them where needed within the navigation and tile menu components. You can also apply them to different themes. More flexibility is never a bad thing.
    Navigation Menu Variations
    Navigation Menu Variations



  • Customize the Record List Component – As has been the trend lately, a lot of the original lightning components are getting more flexibility added to them. This time it’s the record list component. We now have the ability to toggle on or off the list actions, the list search, the refresh, charts, and filter buttons. We also get more control over the object names and image icons. I think I just said above, flexibility is never a bad thing and that is still true!



  • Case Deflect Component – The Case Deflection component gets a nice upgrade with Winter 20. Now, as the User is creating the Case – as soon as they type three or more characters into either the description or the subject fields – the component begins to suggest articles to them. If the User switches to other fields or stops typing, the recommendations remain. I definitely like the changes, and keep in mind, when those suggested articles are clicked, it’s recorded for reporting purposes to measure the deflection.



  • Hide User Profile Pictures / Protect User Information – A simple change, but an important one. We now have the option to globally control whether your Community Users can post a profile picture. With certain Communities where sensitive information is being shared or discussed, it’s important to keep the users anonymous and this finally allows that out-of-the-box. Similar to this, we also get a setting called Hide Personal Information that allows you to block a list of fields from the User records so that they can’t be seen by other external users. The full list is here, but this includes fields like EmployeeNumber, FederationIdentifier, Username, etc.



  • Einstein Predictions Component – Now you can add your Einstein Predictions into your Community with a new out-of-the-box component. The predictions within the component update real-time and can be dropped into any page layout.



  • Email Address Confirmations – We now have the option to turn on email verifications if a Community User tries to update their email address. This is a great security addition, as it will force the Community User to click on a verification link that is emailed to them which ensures they are the one making the change and that the email is a valid email. I actually didn’t even realize it didn’t do this already. Highly recommend turning this on for your Communities.



  • Fave&Follow 2.0 – It’s not officially part of Winter 20, but we just released Fave&Follow 2.0. Fave&Follow is an app that allows your Community Users to bookmark and save your Community content as well as subscribe to Knowledge articles. It’s a terrific way to keep your Community stickier but also let you report on what content is important to your Users. We’ve received a bunch of great feedback from our customers and this includes two major new features as well as some other updates. The first big feature is that Fave&Follow now supports public unauthenticated Communities. Users can now save or subscribe to your public Community content by providing their email address. Just like for authenticated users, these will be stored so you can report on what is being saved. The other big feature is the ability to pre-load bookmarks. This was a big one we received from customer feedback. Basically, this let’s you pre-load bookmarks for your Users so that when they first come into the Community, certain content is already saved for them. Terrific for Articles or Content describing how to use the Community. Read all about the new features in our release blog post. If you’re interested in this, please reach out and we’d be happy to show you a demo and even install into your sandbox so you can play with it.



  • Google Analytics Update – Google Analytics recently updated to a new tracking standard for its site tags (gtag.js) and all of the Google Analytics integration has been updated to support this now as well. This will let you leverage all the new tracking capabilities that come with the new tags.



  • File Sharing Default – A nice little update allows you to now set the default setting for File Sharing access to inherit the same settings as the record it is being associated to. Previously when you added a file, it was set to Viewer by default and to adjust that you needed to manually update the file. With this turned on, if someone has read / write access to the record they will automatically get collaborator access to the file. Seems like a no-brainer.



  • Removing a File from a Record – Another small, but very helpful, File enhancement now allows you to delete a File from a record but not delete it from everywhere else in your instance. We now have a “Remove from Record” option which will take it off the record only. Previously, doing this would wipe out the File everywhere, so this is a needed fix.



  • Quip Updates – Quip gets a bunch of updates with Winter 20. As we mentioned in our Summer 19 write-up, Quip now has a great feature that allows you to add a Quip Document or Spreadsheet directly into a record in Salesforce. This was in beta in Summer 19 and is now GA with Winter 20. With Winter 20, this also gets beefed up a bit as those documents are now visible within Salesforce Mobile. In addition to this, you now have the ability to log a call right from your Quip document. You can link the activity to a specific record and add your notes, without having to leave Quip. Another cool feature is the ability to add Salesforce reports directly to a Quip document. All you have to do is @mention the report and the reports auto-refresh from within the document. Super cool feature there. We also get the ability to set an org level default for what access Quip documents should have when associated to a record (would have been nice to do the same as they did with Files above tough). This is definitely better than having to set each document’s sharing manually. There are a few other updates as well, but just a reminder, Quip is an additional fee. That said, as we mentioned in Summer 19, it’s very clear this is a focus for Salesforce to tightly integrate Quip to Salesforce so expect to see more and more features like this coming.



  • Questions Character Limit Visibility – Questions in the Feed or in Chatter have always had a 255 character limit, but it wasn’t really obvious. Now, it’s spelled out right above the question that they can enter up to 255 characters making it very clear.



  • Components being Retired – A bunch of components are being retired as part of Winter 20. Looks like they will still function if you have them on a page, but if you delete them off or delete the page they are on, they are gone for good. All of these have been replaced with other components. The following are being retired: Case Attachments, Case Banner, Case Comments, Case Details, Case Feed & Case Feed Publisher and Case List. Also, the Base Case Detail and Chatter Case Detail page variations are being retired. If you’re using any of these, just be aware – and careful you don’t accidentally delete them.


As I mentioned above, there is a whole new set of security and sharing updates to Communities in Winter 20 as well. It’s so much that we have a post dedicated to that all by itself that you can read here. With the above and those features, this is clearly a huge release for Communities. With these last two posts, that wraps up our Winter 20 write-up. We’re going to be doing a Manufacturing Cloud deep-dive in a few weeks – ideally before Dreamforce – so keep an eye out for that. Thanks for reading and as always, please reach out if you need any help with these features.

Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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