I want to be able to have the controlling field of a dependent picklist not show to the users, I am updating this field using workflow.

From Salesforce docs Page layouts Make sure controlling fields exist on any page layout that contains their associated dependent picklist. When the controlling field is not on the same page layout, the dependent picklist shows no available values.

Does anyone know of a good workaround? Not keen to turn this page into Visual Force just for this.

  • Why are they dependant if you're not planning to show them both on the page? AFAIK, the only use for dependant picklists is to help human input. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 1:49
  • So you can limit what is in the dependent picklist based on some data that is populated in the back end system
    – Kris Moyse
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 18:51
  • I see - you're looking to show the controlled field on the page. I read it the other way around. Yeah, that's not possible unless you also have the controlling field on the page as well. Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 18:54

6 Answers 6


Dependent picklists are handled through Javascript on the page, so if the controlling field isn't available, there's no way to handle that functionality. You must be setting that controlling field some other way than through the UI, but I wonder about the usefulness of not being able to create a new record with a non-null controlling field anyway.

The only way I know of to control picklist values, without Visualforce, is through Record Types, which may or may not be a good solution for you.


If the use case is just updating field A based on Field B why not use a field update workflow and hide field B from the pagelayout??

please correct me if I missed something

  • Not just updating, updating what can be selected in the dependent picklist based on data in another field that is driven by a back end system.
    – Kris Moyse
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 18:52

The controlling field can be made hidden on the page. For example,

So that both controlling field and dependent picklist are on the same page but yet controlling field not visible/available to change for the user.

  • 3
    That would be nice but unfortunately it doesn't work - if you hide the controlling field, the controlled field becomes readonly.
    – Marc
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 12:40

How about make the controlling field read only on the layout and relegating it to the System Information or a similar section?

  • That is what I have done so far but we are trying to take off all system fields off the screen. The customer doesnt want to see anything that is not relevant to them.
    – Kris Moyse
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 23:22
  • Nice idea @techtrekker, unfortunately salesforce always shows the controlling field next to the controlled field if you use inline editing.
    – Marc
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 12:41

Out solution currently is just to accept that the controlling field is visible and editable but to have a validation rule (ISCHANGED) which does not allow it to be changed. This is an option when you set the controlling field value once at creation and it should never again be changed.

You can also make the controlling field readonly for certain profiles under "Security Controls" -> "Field Accessibility". Removing it makes the controlled field readonly :-(


If the dependent pick list has single value for selected value of controlling field, You can create a Formula field instead of dependent picklist, and populate it based on controlling field value selected.

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