Can We Change Data Type Text to Number in Salesforce?


Heather Bennett

Data type conversion is a common requirement in Salesforce, especially when dealing with different data formats. One such conversion is changing a text data type to a number data type. In this tutorial, we will explore the ways to accomplish this task.

Using Formula Fields

If you want to convert a text field to a number field without modifying the actual field type, formula fields can be an excellent solution. Formula fields allow you to perform calculations and return the desired result in a specific data type.

To convert a text field to a number using formula fields:

  • Create a new formula field: Begin by creating a new custom formula field on the object where the text field exists.
  • Select the return type as Number: In the formula field creation page, select Number as the return type for your formula.
  • Write the conversion logic: Use the VALUE() function to convert the text value into a number. For example, if your text field is called “Text_Field__c”, your formula might be:
  • Save and test: Save your formula field and test it by inserting or updating records that contain values in the original text field.

Using Apex Triggers

In some cases, using Apex triggers might be necessary when you want to change multiple records’ data types simultaneously or perform more complex conversions.

To change data types from text to number using Apex triggers:

  • Create an Apex trigger: Begin by creating an Apex trigger on the object where you want to change the data type.
  • Write the trigger logic: In your trigger’s code, iterate over the records you want to update and use the Integer.valueOf() or Double.valueOf() methods to convert the text values into numbers. Assign the converted values to a number field on your records.
  • Test and deploy: Test your trigger by inserting or updating records with values in the original text field. Once you are confident that your trigger is working correctly, deploy it to your production environment.

Data Migration

If you need to permanently change the data type of a text field to a number field for all existing records, data migration is required.

To perform a data migration:

  • Create a backup: Before proceeding with any data changes, create a backup of your Salesforce data as a precautionary measure.
  • Export existing data: Export all the records containing the text values you want to convert into numbers using Salesforce’s Data Export feature or any other preferred method.
  • Modify and reimport: Open the exported file in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Modify the text values by converting them into numbers using formulas or functions provided by your spreadsheet program.

    Save the modified file as CSV or Excel format.

  • Create new number field: In Salesforce, create a new custom number field with the desired properties (e.g., name, precision, scale).
  • Data import: Use Salesforce’s Data Import Wizard or Data Loader to import the modified file back into Salesforce. Map the columns containing converted numbers to your newly created number field.
  • Cleanup: Once the data import is complete, verify that the records and values have been successfully migrated to the new number field. You can then remove or disable the old text field.

Remember to thoroughly test any changes in a sandbox or development environment before applying them to your production environment. Also, communicate any changes to relevant stakeholders and consider their impact on existing processes and integrations.

By following these methods, you can successfully convert a text data type to a number data type in Salesforce, ensuring accurate calculations and efficient data management.

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