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I am following this article for creating a partner community user here:

I created a contact, then when I go to the contact detail page there is no button or link displaying "Manage External User". Is an external account somewhat different to a normal user account?

Any tips on how to create a Partner Community User would be much appreciated.

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You first need to enable communities as described in Enabling Salesforce Communities. But note that this cannot be undone once it is done, so best to try out first in a throw away dev org.

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    And after that, don't forget to activate the Account as a partner account. There's a button for that on the Account detail page. Mar 6, 2014 at 12:51
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Check the Contact page layout, making sure all the buttons related to enabling and disabling the partner user have been pulled onto the page (and save). They do not show up by default, and that may be why you are not seeing the button (if you've done everything else right).

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