Print this page

Picklist fields are not case sensitive and cannot contain duplicate inactive types

Knowledge Article Number 000187910
Description Occasionally, the need arises to utilize multiple "inactive" entries for a picklist where some values differ by case, such as inserting "TEST" in one record and "Test" in another in an attempt to differentiate them. "Inactive" values are defined in the following documentation:

s per this document: When inserting an unrestricted picklist field that does not have a PicklistEntry, the system creates an “inactive” picklist value. This value can be promoted to an “active” picklist value by adding the picklist value in the Salesforce user interface.

So if you have a need to contain "TEST", "Test" and "test" in your picklist entries, you will first insert one -- say, "Test". All subsequent entries of "TEST" and "test" will then become "Test" since the comparisons are done at the object level; hence, you can never have case sensitive picklist values. When attempting to insert these picklist values of different cases (that are supposed to be different values altogether), they are deemed identical, and the second entry will take the value of the first entry. This is because picklist values are not unique to a particular record; rather, they are tied to the entire object. 
Resolution If you seek to have record-by-record uniqueness present in fields, then you'd need to create a read-only text field that is updated by triggers only. That way, you can place the value where you'd like (e.g., prefix, suffix, etc.) with a trigger update. You can either hard-code these values, or have something like a custom setting available to act as a store for the various cases of the text that needs to be inserted. This will allow record-by-record uniqueness, since picklist values do not permit more than one entry with the same string (i.e., insensitive comparisons). 

promote demote