CSV, Excel, and Salesforce

The upside to modern PCs is that so many file associations are created for us automatically. This is offset to a degree because the default setting in Windows is to hide file extensions, so that what you see is just the name and an icon. This is especially problematic for CSV files as most people who use Windows have Excel and since the friendly green icon is fronting the file the habit to just click it prevails.

Sometimes, this association is fine. Simple text data delimited with commas or tabs can be converted to Excel format with no manual intervention and everything looks fine. But, if any of the fields have commas, or are dates or numbers, than Excel makes lots of assumptions that it doesn’t tell you about and changes the data to match the assumptions. One does not need to be a data scientist to know this is bad. Indeed, one only needs a pulse to be annoyed by it, and if you don’t know why the data is being messed up, frustration is a common reaction.

The first thing I recommend is to change your Window settings to show file extensions. There are instructions provided by Microsoft for this here.

Next, develop the habit of opening CSV files using one of the more time-consuming (and reliable) methods. Method 1 is to open the CSV file in a text editor (my personal preference is EditPad, and there is a good list of others here). Then create a new Excel workbook or sheet, copy the contents of the CSV file from the text editor and use the Paste > Use Text Import Wizard option.

Use Text Import Wizard paste option
Use Text Import Wizard paste option

The simplest approach is to accept the defaults on the first two steps and on the third step select all columns by holding the Shift key, scrolling to the right and click the last column, and choose the Text column format.

Text Import Wizard Step 3 select all columns and Text format
Text Import Wizard Step 3 select all columns and Text format

This will create a clean separation by column with no auto-formatting applied. Then Finish and you will have the data as you expected.

For larger files, I suggest reading this thread on SuperUser.com.

When creating data in Excel for CSV upload, format all the columns as Text before saving as CSV.  If you have to do the same data transforms regularly, I recommend creating a template with formulas.

Probably the hardest habit of all for most users to adopt is when opening the file in Excel just to view its contents is to select No when prompted to save the changes.

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© Scott S. Nelson

Salesforce Lightning Admin browser blocks cross-domain cookies use Classic

I see lots of other folks running into this and thought I would post the fix along with my thoughts. (TL;DR).

The error message is “We can’t display this page because your browser blocks cross-domain cookies, but you can view this page in Salesforce Classic. Click here to open this page in Salesforce Classic.” It can happen in several screens and is a result of some of the base domain changes that Salesforce has been making coupled with the security changes browsers have been making. For chromium-based browsers (Edge, Chrome, Brave, etc.) the fix is to add your domain to the cookie exception list.

With screens, the process go as follows:

Go to Settings > Privacy and security
Go to Settings > Privacy and security
Select Cookies and other site data
Select Cookies and other site data
Under Sites that can always use cookies click the Add button
Under Sites that can always use cookies click the Add button
Paste your SFDC domain path in the Site dialog and Check Including third-party cookies on this site
Paste your SFDC domain path in the Site dialog and Check Including third-party cookies on this site

Click the Add button and

Refresh your Salesforce screen [F5]
Refresh your Salesforce screen [F5]
Tada!

Note: You could use a wildcard in place of the sub-domain for all salesforce domains, but I don’t recommend that as it would leave you vulnerable to some miscreants that use their orgs for nefarious purposes.

To summarize:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy and security
  2. Select Cookies and other site data
  3. Under Sites that can always use cookies click the Add button
  4. Paste your sub-domain and domain path in the Site dialog
  5. Check Including third-party cookies on this site
  6. Click Add button
  7. Refresh your Salesforce screen [F5]
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© Scott S. Nelson

Fix for Login to new Salesforce Developer org without token

TL;DR – San Francisco

Here’s the scenario: You signed up for a new free Salesforce Developer account. After filling the form properly you get the screen that they have sent a verification email and, lo and behold, it is immediately in your inbox. You click the link and get…a DNS error. Well, that is annoying, but understandable given the volume of traffic Salesforce deals with. It will propagate eventually, so you decide to come back later.

Later, you come back and the DNS now resolves to your shiny new org, but now the new user token has expired and instead of the prompt to change your password you just get the regular old login screen asking for a username that is in the email and a password that has never been created. This is a Charlie Brown and Lucy place-kicking moment.

Well, this has happened to me a few times, and in the past I just created a new account and eventually would get a notification that the previous org was being decommissioned for non-use. But today I didn’t feel like filling the form out again, so I tried something unique (for me)…when prompted for city on the password reset screen I first tried blank, since that is what it would be if it was never set. That resulted in a note that I was wrong (not the ISO-270001 recommendation, BTW). So I thought “what would have I set as a default response?” And then I thought “the city where headquarters is”. And I was right.

Cheers!

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© Scott S. Nelson