The difference between Files & Attachments in Salesforce

Sam Hoult
May 28, 2024
Discover the key differences between Salesforce's Files and Notes & Attachments. Learn how the modern features of Salesforce Files, including collaboration tools, version control, and enhanced search, can elevate your document management strategy.

In the evolving ecosystem of Salesforce, managing documents and attachments efficiently is crucial for seamless operations and collaboration. Salesforce provides two primary methods for handling documents: Files and Notes & Attachments. While they serve similar purposes, their functionalities, capabilities, and best-use scenarios differ significantly. This article explores these differences to help you make informed decisions about document management in Salesforce.

Historical Context

Originally, Salesforce users relied on the Notes & Attachments related list to store and manage documents and notes. This feature allowed users to attach files to records but had limitations in terms of functionality and user experience. To address these limitations and provide a more robust solution, Salesforce introduced the Files feature, also known as Salesforce Files or Content Files. This new feature offers enhanced capabilities and a more modern approach to document management.

Notes & Attachments: The Traditional Approach

Notes & Attachments have been a staple in Salesforce for many years. This feature allows users to:

  1. Attach Files: Users can attach various file types to records, such as PDFs, Word documents, and images.
  2. Create Notes: Users can write and attach notes to records, providing additional context or information.
  3. Simple Access: Attachments are accessible directly from the related record, ensuring quick access to relevant documents.

Despite its long-standing presence, the Notes & Attachments feature has notable limitations:

Salesforce Files: The Modern Solution

Salesforce Files is a more advanced and versatile document management solution. Key features of Salesforce Files include:

  1. Collaboration Tools: Users can share files both internally and externally, add comments, and collaborate in real-time.
  2. Version Control: Salesforce Files support versioning, allowing users to track changes and maintain a history of file revisions.
  3. Preview and Search: Users can preview files directly in Salesforce and leverage powerful search capabilities to find documents quickly.
  4. Integration: Files can be linked to multiple records and easily integrated with Salesforce Chatter, enhancing team collaboration.

Key Differences and Migration

Functionality: The most significant difference lies in functionality. Salesforce Files offers a comprehensive set of features designed for modern document management, including collaboration tools, version control, and enhanced search capabilities. In contrast, Notes & Attachments provide a basic, no-frills approach.

User Experience: Salesforce Files provide a more user-friendly experience with features like file preview, drag-and-drop upload, and advanced sharing options. Notes & Attachments offer a simpler but less dynamic user experience.

Migration: Salesforce encourages users to migrate from Notes & Attachments to Salesforce Files to take advantage of the enhanced capabilities. Tools and resources are available to assist with this migration, ensuring a smooth transition.

File Size: Files can be up to 2GB in size, whereas Attachments and Notes can only be up to 25MB. If you are Importing Files and Attachments then make sure you choose Files if you have any documents which are bigger than 25MB.

To read more about the differences between Files and Attachments you can read the official salesforce documentation.

Use Cases

When to Use Notes & Attachments:

When to Use Salesforce Files:


Choosing between Files and Notes & Attachments in Salesforce depends on your organization's needs and use cases. For basic document management, Notes & Attachments may suffice. However, for a more robust, collaborative, and scalable solution, Salesforce Files is the clear winner. Embracing Salesforce Files can significantly enhance your document management strategy, improve collaboration, and streamline your operations.

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