Within service cloud, I have a requirement to allow for case categorization.

I currently have a hierarchy of 5 dependent picklists:


Product Area


Sub Category


Given the limits of dependent picklists, adding a new product has taken us beyond the limit of 300 picklist items at the Sub Category level. I've had the list reviewed and reduced as much as possible, but there is no way the total is ever going down (it will likely increase continually).

I've considered so many options to resolving this, and each time I run into a dead end, has anyone had a similar problem and what approach did they take to workaround this limit?

The best thing I can think of at the moment is moving the picklist hierarchy options out into a custom object, but then since it is on the Case record, I need to then move the editing (selection of Product>Product Area etc..) of these values on a case out of the view/edit page layout into a Visual Force page, which I wanted to avoid if at all possible.

I have also considered adding these fields on the case as Lookup relationships to custom objects, but since there are Product Areas that are common to several Products, I can't use the 'Product Area' description as the name field (as there will be duplicates), which leaves me with having them Auto--numbered... when clicking the search option on the case record, I then run into the usual problems of the limitations of standard/enhanced searches, but more importantly, the value displayed on the case record is the auto number value, which isn't particularly user friendly (i.e. not readily understandable at a glance)

  • There is a practical constraint around having a limit of 300 picklist items, no one wants to scroll through that many. I would recommend taking a step back and defining what your goals are (reporting, case assignment workflow, etc.) Is it really valuable to have that many levels of definition, who is using that, and what are they doing with it? That will help define what your solution should be.
    – CyberJus
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:54
  • I understand the practicality of not having too many picklist options, but given that we are deep in a hierarchy, the 300 options are split accross. Realistically the maximum number of options appearing in these dropdowns is about 5.
    – Dan
    Jun 10, 2015 at 15:35
  • oops, meant to add: Product = 5 Product Area (5 Products * 5 Prod Areas) = 25 Category (25 Product/Prod Area combos * 5 Categories each) = 125 Sub Category (125 Product/Product Area/Cat. combos * 5 Sub Cats each) = 625 The numbers factor up pretty quickly. I'm not sure that categorizing a case at 5 levels is overboard, particularly given that one of them is the product itself!
    – Dan
    Jun 10, 2015 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


How about the following (if VF is not an option)

In Case, define 5 fields Product, Product Area, Category, Sub category, Focus. None are dependent picklists, all are formula fields

Split your hierarchy into disjoint hierarchies using whatever it takes to get to under 300 and still make sense. Use record types or some other page layout convention to guide the user into which of the (3? 4?) hierarchies they should select from . This will mean custom fields Product1, ProductArea1, Category1, SubCategory1, Focus1 and equivalent ...2, ...3, ...4 versions

Then define the formula fields to grab from the ....x values from what the user entered. The formula field values are used in reports, escalations, etc.

Thus, you still get the UI nicety of the dependent picklists during data entry.

This approach has some limitations, notably in making it impossible to use enhanced list views for mass update. It also is clunky to switch hierarchies on edit.

  • This is the approach I decided was best, but in the end it was too invasive to introduce new record types and page layouts. So I went down the route of building a visualforce page for case create/edit/close. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Dan
    Jun 15, 2015 at 20:57
  • glad you found a solution; I only proffered the above as a non VF solution - personally, I would have done it with VF as you did
    – cropredy
    Jun 15, 2015 at 23:31

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