I have a custom text area on Accounts called Geographic_Locations__c. In this text area, I list various US cities, each on their own line. What I am looking to do is to have each line of text inserted in Geographic_Locations__c to be an option to select on all child accounts.

For example, If I have the locations Indianapolis, San Diego, and New York all on their own line in Geographic_Locations__c, there needs to be an option to select either Indianapolis, San Diego, or New York in the child account.

I can do this easily enough by creating a VisualForce page and adding an Apex extension class, but the problem is the page layout changes pretty frequently. I then have to go in manually and edit the VisualForce page every time the page layout changes.

So, is it possible to create something like a lookup field or even a formula field that will get what I am looking for? It seems like it can be done without a VisualForce page since the two accounts are related by a parent/child relationship.

1 Answer 1


I suggest you create a picklist with those values. That would be the simpler and cleaner way to do it. The problem with a formula field is that depending on how you did it, it could be rather cumbersome trying to split the string to get the correct portion of it into the formula unless you allowed an edit to remove all the other options. BTW, a picklist is essentially a look-up field.

  • The problem is the values in the geographic_locations__c field vary from parent account to parent account. The geographic_locations__c field contains values separated by a line break. Each new line should be a separate value available to be picked/selected in the child account. Given that information, would it be possible to do this in a formula field?
    – Optimus
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 20:48
  • That they vary from parent to parent is not an issue with picklists, you can create dependent picklists. I don't think a formula field is your answer. If anything, you might want to consider creating another object that holds the geographic_locations__c options to use as a look-up object for both the Master and detail geo location records.
    – crmprogdev
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 0:26

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