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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.

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that's a good idea fox. I'm concerned about it being a maintenence point going forward. we literally have 100's of fields on the page layout. however, it doesn't seem like i have other options. – user11235813 Jul 25 '14 at 20:20
We have 140 or so fields, and a half dozen layouts. Maintainence isn't terrible as long as you don't overdo it. Also keep in mind that there's some special use cases, too. Dependent pick lists are great for controlling pick list options based on stage, for example. – sfdcfox Jul 25 '14 at 21:21

Your validation rule would be something like

Stage = 'Locked Stage'

The problem being you'd have to list every field you don't want to change.

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