Lookup Relationship in Salesforce

Lookup Relationship in Salesforce

On June 21, 2023, Posted by , In Admin,Admin Tutorial,Salesforce Admin, With Comments Off on Lookup Relationship in Salesforce
Lookup Relationship in Salesforce
Lookup Relationship in Salesforce

Table of Contents

What is Relationship?

In Salesforce, a relationship refers to the connection between two data objects that allows them to interact and share information. These relationships help structure and organize data by linking related records. Salesforce provides various types of relationships, including lookup and master-detail relationships, to suit different data management needs. Establishing these connections enables comprehensive data analysis and reporting, ensuring a cohesive data structure.

Read more about relationships in Salesforce.

What is a Lookup relationship in Salesforce?

A lookup relationship in Salesforce is a type of association between two objects that allows you to link records from one object to another without a strict dependency. This relationship provides flexibility, enabling the parent and child records to exist independently. Lookup relationships are useful for creating loosely coupled connections, where the linked records can be related but do not necessarily depend on each other for deletion or ownership. This setup helps maintain data integrity while allowing for versatile data management and accessibility across different objects.


A lookup relationship in Salesforce allows you to link a Contact to an Account without strict dependency. This means a contact can be associated with an account, but deleting the account doesn’t affect the contact. This setup maintains flexible connections between records. For instance, a contact can belong to multiple accounts over time, reflecting changes in business relationships.

I am sure you’ll crack any job interview if you can practice these Salesforce interview questions. Don’t forget to make small progress everyday.

Some prominent characteristics of the lookup relationship include:

  • A parent is not necessary to create a child record. 
  • It’s possible for parent and child to have different owners. 
  • Deleting the parent doesn’t delete the child records.
  • Roll up summary is not allowed.

Previous article, Approval Process in Salesforce, explains about Approval Process.

Our application currently has two objects, Employees and Address Books. We want to create a list of addresses for each employee. To achieve this you can create a lookup relationship between these two objects with Employees as the parent and Address Books as the child.

Types of Lookup Relationships in Salesforce

In Salesforce, there are several types of lookup relationships designed to handle different data management scenarios.

The standard Lookup Relationship allows you to link two objects together, enabling the parent and child records to exist independently. This type of relationship is versatile and widely used for its flexibility, making it easy to associate records from different objects without enforcing strict dependencies.

Another important type is the External Lookup Relationship, which connects a child object to an external parent object, typically through the use of an external data source. This is particularly useful for integrating Salesforce with external systems, allowing seamless data connections across different platforms. Additionally, there’s the Indirect Lookup Relationship, which is used to link an external object to a standard or custom object using an indirect relationship, providing further flexibility in handling external data within Salesforce.

Read more about Master-detail relationships in Salesforce.

How to Create Lookup Relationship in Salesforce?

  • Navigate to Setup: Log in to Salesforce and click on the gear icon to access the Setup menu.
  • Go to Object Manager: From Setup, select “Object Manager.”
  • Select Object: Choose the object you want to create the lookup relationship for (e.g., Contact).
  • Create New Field: Click on “Fields & Relationships” and then click “New.”
  • Choose Lookup Relationship: Select “Lookup Relationship” as the field type and click “Next.”
  • Select Related Object: Choose the related object you want to link to (e.g., Account) and click “Next.”
  • Configure Field Settings: Enter the field label, name, and other required settings, then click “Next.”
  • Add to Page Layouts: Add the new lookup field to the appropriate page layouts and save your changes.

Creating Lookup Relationships Hands-on

You can start creating this relationship by going to Address Books and choosing the New option in Fields and Relationships pane. Then, select Lookup Relationship as the data type.

Read more: What are Page layouts in Salesforce and how to create Page layouts?

The next page prompts you to pick the related parent object, which is Employees. After that, you can complete the process.

Read more: SOQL Query in Salesforce

Now, if you create a new Employee record, you’ll see the Address Book field added to its information.

Read more: SOSL in Salesforce

To give a list of Address Books to this employee, go to the Related tab on the same page and select New. It prompts you to create a new Address Book record.

Read more: record types in Salesforce.

Alternatively, if you want to relate an existing Address Book record to this employee, you should go to the Address Books table. Open the relevant address and update its Employee field to link it to the previously created employee.

Read more: String methods in Salesforce apex

Watch full video here,

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you have a maximum of 40 lookups on an object?

Yes, you can have a maximum of 40 lookup relationships on a single object in Salesforce. This limit includes both standard and custom lookup relationships.

2. What is the maximum relationship per object in Salesforce?

The maximum number of relationships an object can have in Salesforce is 40. This includes both lookup and master-detail relationships combined.

3. What are the limitations of lookup search in Salesforce?

Lookup search in Salesforce has limitations such as only returning the first 200 records in the search result, which may not cover all potential matches. The search is also influenced by filters, field-level security, and sharing rules, potentially restricting the visibility of certain records based on user permissions.

4. What is many-to-many relationship between objects in Salesforce?

A many-to-many relationship between objects in Salesforce is achieved using a junction object. This junction object includes two master-detail relationships, each linking to one of the objects involved in the many-to-many relationship. This setup allows a record from one object to be associated with multiple records from another object and vice versa.

5. How many lookups can an object have?

An object in Salesforce can have up to 40 lookup relationships. This allows for extensive linking and association of records across different objects, providing flexibility in data modeling.

6. What are the limitations of lookup?

Limitations of lookup relationships in Salesforce include the inability to roll-up summary fields from the child to the parent object, as lookup relationships do not enforce strict dependencies between records. Additionally, lookups do not automatically handle cascading deletes or reparenting like master-detail relationships do, requiring manual management of related records.

7. What is the 10 lookup limit?

The “10 lookup limit” refers to the maximum number of custom lookup fields that can be used in a single report or dashboard filter. This limitation ensures optimal performance when filtering data across multiple objects in Salesforce.

8. Is lookup a one-to-many relationship?

Yes, a lookup relationship in Salesforce is a one-to-many relationship. This means that one record from the parent object can be associated with multiple records from the child object, but each child record can only link to one parent record.

9. How do I fix too many included lookups?

To fix the issue of too many included lookups, you can reduce the number of lookup fields in your object or report. Evaluate and consolidate lookup fields where possible, or use formula fields to display related information without creating additional lookups. You may also consider revising the data model to simplify relationships.

10. What are the limitations of lookup relationship in Salesforce?

Limitations of lookup relationships in Salesforce include the inability to use roll-up summary fields, as these are only available in master-detail relationships. Lookup relationships also do not enforce cascading deletes or reparenting, requiring manual updates to related records. Additionally, lookups can be less efficient in scenarios requiring tightly coupled records due to their flexible nature.

11. What is the difference between lookup and master relationship?

The primary difference between lookup and master-detail relationships in Salesforce lies in their level of dependency. Lookup relationships are loosely coupled, allowing records to exist independently. In contrast, master-detail relationships are tightly coupled, with child records inheriting the parent record’s security, ownership, and deletion behavior. Roll-up summary fields are only available in master-detail relationships.

12. What is the difference between self relationship and lookup relationship in Salesforce?

A self relationship is a type of lookup relationship where an object has a lookup to itself, allowing records within the same object to be related. A standard lookup relationship links records from one object to another distinct object. Both relationships allow for flexible connections, but self relationships specifically enable hierarchical or recursive data structures within the same object.

Next article Relationship Fields (Master-Detail) in Salesforce, explains Relationship Fields (Master-Detail).

Explore our Salesforce training in Hyderabad to gain practical, hands-on experience, real-time projects included.

Read our Free tutorials on Salesforce Admin, Developer(Apex) and LWC.

Read more: Types of relationships in Salesforce

Comments are closed.