I am developing an internal site for all company employees (basically an intranet). I am using a visualforce page but it must be externally available because not all company employees have a Salesforce license. One of the pages will be used for an internal competition.

I have a requirement to display a lookup field to a custom object. When typing in the lookup field and submitting the record, an invalid ID is passed to my controller. I'm assuming it's invalid because the field does not populate when the record is saved. When I grab the ID from the debug log and add it to my URL 'https://myinstance.salesforce.com/MyIDFromDebugLog' I get an Insufficient Privileges error.

When I click the lookup icon, and select the name of the record, I get a valid ID and the field is populated when the record saves.

How come when the user types a name in a lookup field on a force.com site, the ID is incorrect; however, when the user selects the record name from the lookup icon the ID is correct?

My Code:

<apex:inputfield value="{!Lead.my_field__c}" id="myField" onchange="javascript:getField('{!$Component.lc}_lkid')"/>

function getField(field) {    
    f = document.getElementById(field).value;

I suspect it has something to do with the onchange event in my input field.


I found a great article by @Daniel Ballinger that explains the invalid ID. The invalid ID in my debug log('000000000000000AAA') is the empty key for relationships where there is no target record.

Reference: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fishofprey.com%2F2011%2F06%2Fsalesforce-empty-key-id.html&ei=9vUvVfDmD4mhNt-hgdgF&usg=AFQjCNG7WWCdjErbVyxYNojvPmlhj8Ra1Q&sig2=mSBD7KJ-MVyZfVJAnJt6gg

Is there a way to force the lookup field to search for the record once the user has entered a string?

  • You state that you cannot use a visualforce page, but the code snippet includes VF. Could you clarify? Apr 16, 2015 at 15:46
  • What sort of ID are you seeing the the debug log that is invalid? Can you provide an example id value? Apr 16, 2015 at 15:47
  • @jason Clark I should specify about the VF page. This is a vf page but it must be externally available since not all employees have a salesforce license. When the user types the name in the lookup field the ID is "000000000000000AAA"
    – Berg
    Apr 16, 2015 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


Make sure the site has access (both CRUD permissions and Sharing Rules) to any object and field that the site touches. You can do this through the Sites Permissions. The site acts as a guest user in this case, and the guest user doesn't have the proper permissions to look at your record.

Obviously, be extremely careful here. You are exposing your database to the 'public' (i.e. anyone that has access to this site).

  • Zainogj, thanks for your reply. This is not a permissions issue. The site has access to that field. The issue is the ID is incorrect when the user types a value in the lookup field. When the user uses the lookup icon and selects the record, the ID is correct and the field populates when the record is saved.
    – Berg
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:05
  • Can you elaborate on the issue. Does user experience issue when he/she manually enters text in lookup field? or the error is experienced even when user selects a record by using lookup screen?
    – Anshul
    Apr 16, 2015 at 19:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .