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What I am trying to achieve is create a universal variable in salesforce which I can access in my assignment rule.

I will set that variable to some value through UI. Assignment rule will check if that variable is = xyz then assign to queue1 if that variable is = abc then assign to queue2 ... and so on.

So which functionality in salesforce should I use to create a variable and access it in assignment rules? Will custom setting do? I am not sure about this because can't access list custom settings in assignment rule criteria formula.

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You can reference Hierarchy Custom Settings from an Assignment Rule. Then when you want to reference them, use a formula for your criteria and reference them through the $Setup global variable:

CASE($Setup.MyHierarchySetting.SomeField__c,
    "ABC", "Value 1",
    "XYZ", "Value 2",
    "Fallback"
);
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You can create Custom Label and assign a value from UI.

Create the assignment rule based on formula entry and access this variable.

$Label.My_Label = Somevalue

Note that, value will be assigned from UI and it is not dynamically get changed by any coding.

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