Scott Covert

API vs UI: Roll-Up Summary Fields

When it comes to Salesforce configuration and development the clicks not code mantra can be a good rule of thumb…to an extent. Diminishing marginal returns begin to set in past a threshold of clicks, at which point it’s more efficient to work with code. Click overload aside, there are also some changes that require working with sfdx and the metadata and tooling APIs directly for deployment because they aren’t possible from the setup menu UI.

One example is if you’re creating roll-up summary fields on the Quote object to summarize the TotalPrice field from specific Quote Line Item records.

:raising_hand: Excuse me, doesn’t the TotalPrice field on the Quote object already aggregate this field from the Quote Line Item records? Yes, that’s true…but what if you only want to aggregate specific Quote Line Item records? Perhaps you sell both products and services in a single deal and would like to summarize the total amount for each of these offerings at the Quote level. Or perhaps you’d like to summarize by individual product family.

The problem you’ll find is that, from the setup UI, Salesforce does not allow you to create a roll-up summary field on the Quote object that aggregates the TotalPrice field from child Quote Line Item records. :scream:

Fear not fellow Salesforce enthusiast! If you’re comfortable with XML and sfdx you can still create that roll-up summary field through the metadata/tooling API directly! First you’ll want to setup sfdx. Afterward, pop open your favorite IDE (we’d recommend Visual Studio Code) and create a new project associated with the Salesforce scratch org or sandbox where you plan to test.

From the root of your source (force-app/main/default by default) you’ll need to create some additional folders and files so the following paths resolve:



Next, run sfdx force:source:retrieve -p force-app/main/default/objects/Quote/Quote.object-meta.xml to retrieve your existing fields and settings for the Quote object. If your target org is not connected as the default org for sfdx then you’ll also need to use the -u flag to identify your org by username or alias.

Now we’re ready to create that roll-up summary field! Copy and paste the following XML into the TotalPriceProductFamilyA__c.field-meta.xml file created previously:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<CustomField xmlns="">
    <description>The total price of product family A line items</description>
    <inlineHelpText>The total price of product family A line items</inlineHelpText>
    <label>Total Price Product Family A</label>

Finally, deploy your field by running sfdx force:source:deploy -p force-app/main/default/objects/Quote/fields/TotalPriceProductFamilyA__c.field-meta.xml, again using the -u flag if necessary.

Et Voila! You’ve now created a roll-up summary field that wouldn’t otherwise be possible through the setup UI by instead leveraging the metadata/tooling API directly! If you check Object Manager you should see your new field has been created for the Quote object. :raised_hands: Note that you’ll now need to add it to the appropriate page layout(s) and setup field-level security since none of that is done automatically when creating a new field using the metadata/tooling API directly. As an aside, we’d suggest you use permission sets and permission set groups instead of profiles.

Not a fan of dealing with XML and the Metadata API directly? We got your back! Reach out and let us help so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff!