I have a page layout with tons of fields, and I have a scenerio where based on a stage value, I only want the user to be able to edit a few fields. How do I do that?
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While you could use a validation rule, this is a perfect use case for Record Types. Using record types, you can display different page layouts, resulting in fewer or more fields shown, and with their own read-only attributes. You can change record types by way of workflow rules if you want to automate the process.
Your validation rule would be something like
The problem being you'd have to list every field you don't want to change.