I have a picklist on Opportunities called "Demo Set By", which lets us recognize the Sales Development Executive who set up a demo (not the same as the owner of the opportunity, which is the Account Exec.). As you can imagine there is a certain amount of turnover among our SDE team, so we now have a long picklist of names, most of whom are no longer employees.

It seems I can't delete names from the picklist without losing the historic data; elsewhere, I've read that when you go to delete a picklist value it asks if you want to replace it with another value, but I do not get that option (maybe it's because I'm on Professional Edition?).

Is there a way to just deactivate the values or hide them from the dropdown on the object detail/edit pages?

  • I was not the one who created the field. My thought now is to completely replace it with a User lookup and transfer all the old data. If I do this, will there be any issues with lookup references to inactive users?
    – OBerm
    Aug 26, 2014 at 20:45
  • You will be able to populate the lookup with inactive User IDs I believe - and moving from a picklist to a lookup is definitely the best approach. Aug 27, 2014 at 10:30

1 Answer 1


There are two ways to handle removing values in a picklist. You can delete and replace, therefore updating the historical records value or you can just delete the value. This removes the value from the picklist but not the historical records. You can still report on these values but they do not appear in the drop down if you use the field as a filter on the report.

I think Cryst's comment is correct I would strongly consider updating the field to a user look up. For inactive users you will need to temporarily activate them for the migration. I just tried a custom lookup field and it did not return inactive users, so I am fairly sure you will need to activate them again.

  • Thanks for the feedback. Our company does have API access as an add-on feature with Professional Edition. If I am using the Apex DataLoader, will I be able to set the Lookup field reference to inactive users?
    – OBerm
    Sep 2, 2014 at 20:35
  • @Dupe_jockey - If you follow Girtbot's instructions yes
    – Eric
    Jun 22, 2015 at 4:50
  • In the end I did update the field to a user lookup, which was definitely the best option. Sorry @Girbot for not marking your answer as correct 9 months ago!
    – OBerm
    Jun 22, 2015 at 13:16

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