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How do I change the format of an auto number field on existing records?

Knowledge Article Number 000003775

We have changed the format of a custom auto-number field, and would like to apply the new format to all existing records.


To achieve this result, it will be necessary to:

1. Change the Field Type of the custom field from Auto-Number to Text, so the field values can be updated.

2. Use the Data Loader to extract all records from the object, including the record Id's and the auto-number field in the export.

3. Open the export file in Excel and update the values in the auto-number column as desired.

4. Use the Data Loader to mass update the existing records using the file you have prepared.

5. Change the Field Type of the custom field back to Auto-Number. Be sure to set the value for the "Starting Number" higher than the highest existing auto-number on your existing records to prevent duplicate numbers from being generated.

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