I'm looking for a way to take the first 255 characters of a long text field and plop it into a text field. Is there a formula field or workflow rule solution? Or am I going to need to loop through characters in a trigger?


2 Answers 2


you can use workflow field update to do this, TRIM(LEFT( Description , 255)) You can replace the description with the field you wanted to copy from.

  • Would this need to be in a workflow rule? I tried this in the formula field type field and it says the long type field could not be used Jun 28, 2016 at 18:21
  • yes, you should put in in a workflow field update
    – Anurag
    Jun 28, 2016 at 18:25
  • 1
    haha :) How can any one use the Long Text Area Field in Formula Field. I don't think it is possible in any manner. @AnuragA, Please edit the answer according to the Workflow Rule which will answer the question correctly....
    – Subhash
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:14

You can use formula field to display first 255 characters of long text field.

 IF(LEN(Custom_description__c)>255, LEFT(Custom_description__c,255),LEFT(Custom_description__c, LEN(Custom_description__c))) 
  • Your formula goes the long way around to get the value of Custom_Description__c if not > 255. ex, this should be fine IF(LEN(Custom_description__c)>255, LEFT(Custom_description__c,255),Custom_description__c) even so still not very concise.
    – Eric
    Jun 29, 2016 at 13:56
  • 1
    Don't think this is possible - long text fields aren't available in formula fields so Custom_description__c wouldn't be accessible. Jul 19, 2022 at 14:45

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