I'm trying to create a formula field on the standard Contact Object referencing a field called ATU on the Account object. The relationship and field API exist and are spelled correctly, but I am getting the following error:

Error: Error in referenced formula Account.ATU__c, Field $RecordType.DeveloperName does not exist. Check spelling.

The field ATU on the account has the following formula:

IF( $RecordType.DeveloperName = 'Parent Account', TEXT(Owner.ATU__c), IF(ISBLANK(TEXT(Owner.ATU__c)) = False, TEXT(Owner.ATU__c), TEXT(Top_Level_Account__r.Owner.ATU__c) ) )

This field works on our Account, without issue, but the formula editor on the Contact does not allow me to reference the field. I found a help article that says to use a text field and a workflow as a workaround, but it does not tell me why this is an issue. https://developer.salesforce.com/forums/?id=906F00000008wncIAA

Any input on whether or not this is possible with a workaround in a formula field, without a workflow rule would be helpful. And if it isn't possible, any insight on why would be super helpful. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


If you create a new formula field, you'll see that $RecordType is not even selectable as a global merge field. This is old syntax and refers to the current object (i.e. Contact's recordtype - which you can get by just saying RecordType.DeveloperName)

Instead, you want:

IF( Account.RecordType.DeveloperName = 'Parent_Account', /* Account is relationshipName from Contact to Account */
    IF(ISBLANK(TEXT(Owner.ATU__c)) = False, 
      TEXT(Top_Level_Account__r.Owner.ATU__c) ) )
  • Also, DeveloperName values can't have spaces, need to replace with underscores. Apr 12, 2020 at 23:55
  • @cropedy I wasn't aware of the format issue there, so thank you. I will test it out in Sandbox. Just for clarification, the formula is actually the Account field, not the Contact. I'm trying to pull the value of that field on the account to the Contact record. Not sure if that would change your formula, but I will definitely test! Thank you!
    – Kaitlyn
    Apr 13, 2020 at 17:31

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