Return Null Values in Process and Flow Formulas (Critical Update)

This update enables process and flow formulas to return null values when the calculations involve a null record variable or null lookup relationship field.

Where: This change applies to Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic in Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, and Developer editions.

Why: In processes and flows, a formula can reference a record’s field via a record variable or lookup relationship field. At run-time, when the record variable or lookup relationship field is null, the formula sometimes returns null. Otherwise, it returns an unhandled exception. With this update, the formula always returns a null value when the record variable or lookup relationship field is null. This update doesn’t affect merge fields.

For example, when you update an account, a process starts and checks the criteria before it performs actions. The criteria includes a formula that references the parent account’s name via the account’s Parent Account field. The Parent Account field is a lookup relationship field: [Account].Parent.Name.

If the value of the lookup relationship field is null, the formula returns null. Without this update, the formula sometimes returns an unhandled exception instead of null.

How: To test this critical update, we recommend working in a sandbox. From Setup, enter Critical Updates in the Quick Find box. Then select Critical Updates. Review the details for the Check for Null Record Variables or Null Values of Lookup Relationship Fields in Process and Flow Formulas critical update and then click Activate.Test all process and flow formulas that reference lookup relationship fields or record variable fields. Processes have formulas in criteria and in actions. Flows have formulas in resources and in validation of input components.