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How to enable state and country picklists

About How to enable state and country picklists

Are you having trouble enforcing consistent State and Country values in your Salesforce instance? Maybe you have validation rules set up but they don’t always work, and you wish there were a simpler way. We've got good news – there is!

Salesforce has standard functionality that allows system administrators to enable state and country picklists that will make your state and country fields dropdown picklists. Users no longer have to type in States or Countries, they simply select from a pre-defined list.

Here’s how you implement State and Country picklists in your Salesforce instance:



  • As of the Spring 2014 release, State and Country picklists are now default Salesforce features. This means if your Salesforce instance is activated after April 2014, state and country picklists will automatically be enabled. If you don't want to use them, you can DISABLE them. 
  • Many of you may be wondering about making certain values default – as of now (June 2014) you can make the United States (or any country) the default picklist value by hiding the other country choices. 
  • Selecting a default state is not possible at this time, however after chatting with the Salesforce help desk, I believe it's on the horizon, so stay tuned!


Navigate to Setup > Data Management > State and Country Picklists

You MUST go through all the steps Salesforce defines. Even though the instructions say “Please complete steps 2 and 3 before enabling state and country picklists”, which in my opinion sounds like a suggestion, not a requirement – it is a requirement. You MUST follow all the steps or you will not be able to enable the picklists.

Step 1 – Configure the lists. This is pretty straightforward. You know in general which countries your constituents hail from – you are most likely going to need United States, Canada, and maybe a few others. You can leave all other countries “Active”, but uncheck the “Visible” box, so as not to overload your users with extra country choices they don’t need. If you need to add a new country at a later date you can.

Step 2 – Scan Your Organization. This is going to find current addresses that will need to be updated before enabling the lists. This has the added benefit of cleaning up your data – finding any existing type-os or mistakes. Two emails will be sent to you – one with a link to a file of your results (which you do not need to view to complete the conversion), and one with a link to the Convert Wizard. You MUST click on the link from the Convert Wizard email to proceed. 

Email confirming success of the scan, click on the link in the email you receive


Step 3 – Convert Your Data. This MUST be done by clicking the link in the email you generated in the previous step. Salesforce will email you a link in the email titled "Salesforce.com Address Data Scan – Success". Click on the link, and follow the prompts to convert your data. Once you go through the convert wizard, you will see a button that says “Convert my data and enable picklists”.

Step 4 – Click on the "Convert by data and enable picklists" button, and the process of enabling the picklists will begin. It may take some time (depending on how many addresses need to be converted) This process is obviously most easily done before you have any live data in your Salesforce instance, but it still works well even if your instance is full of live data.

Step 5 – Turn on state and country picklists. After (and only after!) you’ve scanned your organization and converted your data, will the “ENABLE” button (that was previously greyed out) become clickable. Click the enable button and pat yourself on the back for helping your organization take another step in the direction of more consistent and clean data.


  • State and country picklists are available on the following standard objects: Accounts, Contacts, Campaign Members, Contract, Lead, Person Accounts, Quotes, and Service Contracts. (Sadly, not on Households for those of you using the NPSP)
  • You only have the option to display full state names, not abbreviations. So “New York” instead of NY. If you want to edit and change every single one you are able to (but it’s more than 100 clicks to edit all 52 states).
  • In reporting (for your mailing labels!) there is a field you can pull in to show the properly abbreviated state codes