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Relationships play a fundamental role in organizing and connecting data within Salesforce. They define how different records within objects are related to each other. Understanding relationships is crucial for designing effective data models and optimizing data management in Salesforce. As a professional, you will have to work on different relationships, which is why this topic is covered in the Salesforce live admin training.  

Master-detail Relationships 

The master-detail relationship indicates a stronger connection between two objects, detail and master object. The two objects are tightly coupled, any changes to the master record will reflect on the detail records. A roll-up summary field allows Salesforce developers to perform calculations, such as aggregate, sum, count, and average values of child records on the parent record.   


You can learn the characteristics of these relationships in the Salesforce admin training: 

The master-detail relationship is strongly coupled, and the child record depends on the parent record. 

A standard object record should not be considered as the child in this relationship. 

You can create only two master-detail relationships on an object, and only perform cascade delete. 

Self Relationship 

A self-relationship occurs when there is a relationship between the records of the same object, thus creating a hierarchy of records. 


Self-relationships are often used to create hierarchical structures within an object. This means that records can be organized in a parent-child relationship, creating a hierarchy or tree-like structure. 

Self-relationships enable recursive operations, where a record can reference and perform actions on related records within the same object. 

Self-relationships can be used to generate reports and analytics based on hierarchical or related data structures. This allows for insights into data within the same object, such as analyzing employee hierarchies or organizational structures.

Salesforce’s workflow rules and automation features can be leveraged with self-relationships. This allows for the automation of processes and actions based on changes or updates in related records within the same object.

Many-to-Many Relationships

In many-to-many relationships, each of the records of an object should be linked with records of another website or vice versa. As a Salesforce developer, you can build a many-to-many relationship between customers and products. The many-to-many relationship can be prepared by using a junction object. 


A junction object is used to establish the many-to-many relationship between two objects. It acts as an intermediary object that connects the two related objects.

Records from both objects can have multiple associations with each other. This means that multiple records from one object can be related to multiple records from the other object.

Many-to-many relationships are bidirectional, allowing for seamless navigation and access from both sides of the relationship. This means that records from either object can easily access and relate to associated records.

Related lists are used to display and manage the associated records in a many-to-many relationship. They can be added to the page layouts of the respective objects, allowing users to view and interact with the related records.

Many-to-many relationships enable cross-object reporting and analysis. Reports and dashboards can be created to analyze data from both objects, providing insights into the associations and relationships between records.

External Relationships 

The external relationship allows Salesforce Admins to establish a relationship between a Salesforce object and an external object. This allows developers to fetch data from the external systems within Salesforce. There are two types of external relationships, indirect lookup relationships, and external lookup relationships. The indirect relationship allows developers to connect an external object (child) and an object (parent) in Salesforce.  


External relationships enable the sharing of data between different Salesforce orgs or external systems. This includes sharing standard and custom objects, records, and fields across organizations, allowing for unified data management and visibility.

External relationships facilitate the integration of Salesforce with external systems and applications. It enables bidirectional data exchange, allowing Salesforce to communicate and synchronize data with external platforms, such as ERP systems, marketing automation tools, or customer support systems.

Salesforce provides secure mechanisms for authenticating and establishing trust between connected entities. This ensures that only authorized users or systems can access and interact with shared data and functionality.

Salesforce allows administrators to configure sharing and visibility settings for external relationships. This includes defining access levels, permissions, and data visibility rules to control which data is shared and how it can be accessed by external entities.

Lookup Relationships

A lookup relationship is used to connect two objects in Salesforce, and this is a loosely coupled relationship. Here you can look up one object using the other, and this type of relationship is mainly used to connect data. There are two types of lookup relationships, one-to-one and one-to-many. 


Lookup relationships are unidirectional, meaning the relationship is defined from the object with the lookup field (child object) to the object being referenced (parent object). The parent object does not have a direct relationship back to the child object.

Unlike master-detail relationships, lookup relationships do not imply ownership behavior. This means that changes in the parent record do not automatically affect the child record, so deleting a parent record does not delete the associated child records.

Lookup fields often include autocomplete and autofill functionality, making it easier to select the desired parent record from a list or search.

Lookup relationships enable access to related data fields on the parent object. This allows for the display and utilization of relevant information from the parent object within the child object’s record.

Lookup relationships can be established between standard objects or between standard and custom objects, providing flexibility in connecting different types of records.

Lookup relationships can be used to define hierarchical structures within an object, such as a manager-employee relationship. They can also establish self-relationships within the same object, allowing records to reference other records within the same object.

Hierarchical Relationships 

Hierarchical relationships help Salesforce admins to create a parent-child relationship within the same object. 


Hierarchical relationships involve a parent-child structure, where each record (child) is associated with a single-parent record.

Salesforce supports a single-level hierarchy for records within an object, allowing each record to have only one direct parent.

Hierarchical relationships can be used for reporting and analytics, enabling analysis of data at different levels of the hierarchy and facilitating insights into record relationships.


Understanding the types of relationships and their components is vital for designing efficient data models, optimizing data management, and leveraging the full potential of Salesforce as a Salesforce admin/ developer.

Lookup relationships allow for simple associations between objects, while master-detail relationships establish parent-child dependencies, enabling control and cascading behavior. Many-to-many relationships bridge connections between multiple records in different objects, facilitated by junction objects.

Relationship fields and related lists provide visual representations of connections, allowing easy navigation and management of associated records. These features enhance user experience and facilitate data analysis.

Moreover, relationships impact record access and sharing, as sharing settings defined on parent objects can be inherited by child objects, influencing data visibility and accessibility for different users. If you want to learn the fundamentals of Salesforce, you can enroll in our live classes and start learning as soon as possible.

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