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Get to Know the Types of Relationships in Salesforce and Make the Most of Them

Salesforce is a powerful CRM tool, but it can be tricky to get the most out of it if you don’t understand the different types of relationships you can create. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the various relationship types in Salesforce and how you can use them to your advantage.

Introduction to Salesforce relationships

In Salesforce, relationships let you link one object to another. You can then use these relationships to query for data and create views and reports, and related records together on a page layout. There are two types of relationships in Salesforce: lookup relationships and master-detail relationships. Lookup relationships are the most flexible—they give you the ability to relate one object to another in a many-to-one relationship. In a master-detail relationship, there is a parent-child relationship between two objects, whereby the child object cannot exist without the parent object. The parent object is called the detail object, and the child object is called the master object.

Understanding the Difference Between Lookup and Master-Detail Relationships
A lookup relationship is a relation between two objects where one object can have multiple references to a single record of other objects, but vice versa is not possible (One-to-Many). For example, consider Account and Contact objects where multiple contacts can be linked to a single account but not vice versa i.e., an account cannot be linked to multiple contacts. However, If we want that an account must have at least one contact, then a master-detail relationship should be used instead of a lookup, as we will discuss later in this article.

A master detail(One-to-Many) relationship is a relation between two objects where one record of the first object can be linked with only one record of the second object but vice versa is not possible, i.e., One account can have only one owner however, an owner(User) can own multiple accounts but not vice versa, i.e., a user cannot own more than one account. For example, consider the Account and User(owner)object; here user can own only one account however, an account must have an owner(user).

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One-to-one relationships

In a one-to-one relationship, each record in one object can be linked to only one record in another object. One-to-one relationships are used when you want to limit the number of relationships for a given record. For example, you might want to limit the number of children that a parent record can have in a family tree application. In the schema diagram, one-to-one relationships are represented by a line with a single arrowhead pointing to the related object.

One-to-one relationships are not required. If an optional one-to-one relationship isn’t used, it’s represented by a dashed line with an empty arrowhead pointing to the related object.

You can relate two custom objects to each other or relate a custom object to a standard object. Standard objects can’t be on the receiving end of more than one relationship, so they can have only one optional outbound relationship.

One-to-many relationships

In a one-to-many relationship, each record from one object can be linked to multiple records from another object. For example, each account can have multiple contacts. One-to-many relationships are represented by a master-detail relationship on the related list for the object on the “one” side of the relationship.

In Salesforce, you can create three types of one-to-many relationships:

One-to-many relationships with junction objects
Many-to-many relationships with junction objects
One-to-many relationships without junction objects

Many-to-many relationships

In a many-to-many relationship, each record on one side can be linked to multiple records on the other, and vice versa. For example, you might have a many-to-many relationship between Products and Vendors. In this scenario, each product can come from multiple vendors, and each vendor can supply multiple products.

One of the benefits of using Salesforce is that you can easily customize your data to fit your business needs. You can create custom objects and relationships to track information that’s specific to your organization.

There are four types of relationships in Salesforce: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many. In this article, we’ll focus on many-to-many relationships.

A many-to-many relationship is often used to track data that doesn’t fit neatly into a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship. For example, you might use a many-to-many relationship to track which products are available from which vendors. In this scenario, each product can come from multiple vendors, and each vendor can supply multiple products.

Many-to-many relationships are also useful for tracking indirect relationships. For example, you might have a custom object that represents people who are friends of friends. In this scenario, each person could be linked to multiple other people (through the “friends of friends” connection), and each person could have multiple other people linked to them.

Creating a Many to Many Relationship
When you create a custom object in Salesforce, you can specify the type of relationship that it has with other objects in your org. To create a many – to – many relationship:

1) Click Your Name > Setup > App Setup > Customize > Objects in the left sidebar 2) Click New in the Custom Object tab 3) Select Many – to – Many Relationship in the Add Field section 4) Complete the required fields 5) Click Save

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Master-detail relationships

In Salesforce, you can build relationships between objects to represent how they’re related to each other. For example, you might have a master-detail relationship between Accounts and Contacts or between a custom object and a standard object. There are two types of relationships in Salesforce:
one-to-one relationships and one-to-many relationships.

A one-to-one relationship is when each record on one side of the relationship is linked to only one record on the other side. For example, each user can have only one profile, so the relationship between users and profiles is one-to-one. One-to-one relationships are represented by a hyphen (-)
next to the name of the object on the detail side of the relationship.

A one-to-many relationship is when each record on the detail side can be linked to multiple records on the master side, but each record on the master side can be linked to only one record on the detail side. For example, each account can have multiple contacts,
but each contact can be related to only one account. One-to-many relationships are represented by an arrow (—>) next to the name of the object on the detail side of the relationship.

Hierarchical relationships

Hierarchical relationships let you track different levels of a hierarchy, such as opportunities, assets, and cases in an org. You use these relationships to associate different levels of data with each other—for example, you might have multiple cases associated with a single opportunity. In Salesforce, hierarchical relationships use the master-detail relationship concept.


Master-detail relationship: For every detail record, there is one and only one master record. A detailed record can’t exist without a master record. changes to the Master record automatically propagate to all associated detail records.

In a master-detail relationship, the security settings for the master record control the level of access users have to the detail record. For example, if someone doesn’t have access to an opportunity, they also don’t have access to any cases associated with that opportunity.

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External relationships

External relationships in Salesforce allow you to link your data to data that lives outside of your org. This is useful when you want to relate data from multiple orgs, or when you want to avoid duplication by storing data in a central location. There are two types of external relationships:

– 2001: Indicates that the relationship is between two objects in different orgs. The relationship is established by creating a cross-org connection.
– 2002: Indicates that the relationship is between an object and a platform event. The relationship is established by subscribing to the platform event.

External relationships have some limitations:
– You can’t create triggers on external objects.
– You can’t use external objects in Flows or Process Builder.
– You can only create one external relationship per object (one 2001 and one 2002 relationship).

Self-relationships

There are three different types of relationships in Salesforce: self-relationships, master-detail relationships, and lookup relationships. Each type of relationship serves a different purpose and has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Self-relationships are between two records of the same type. For example, you might have a self-relationship between two contacts, two leads, or two accounts.

Master-detail relationships are Relationships between two records where one record is the “master,” and the other is the “detail.” The master record controls the relationship: if it’s deleted, the detail record is also deleted. For example, you might have a master-detail relationship between an account and a contact. In this case, the account is the master, and the contact is the detail.

Lookup relationships are Relationships between two records where either record can be deleted without affecting the other. For example, you might have a lookup relationship between an opportunity and an account. In this case, if either the opportunity or the account is deleted, the other record will still exist.

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