Save Time with Global Actions, the Utility Bar, and Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Create new records using global actions.
  • Benefit from the utility bar and keyboard shortcuts.

How Long Is Your Job Title, Anyway?

When one nonprofit employee can find themself involved in everything from writing appeals to restocking the paper towels, they have to be able to switch gears quickly. Let’s check out three tools that make multitasking super easy: the Global Actions menu, the utility bar, and keyboard shortcuts. This way, even though something isn’t technically in your job description, you can still switch gears quickly to get the job done without closing your current work. 

Take Your Organization Global (Kind of)

By global we mean useful wherever you are in Salesforce. 

Global actions are like multitasking shortcuts. You can access them no matter where you are in Salesforce, and whatever you do propagates through the entire system. Global actions open a dedicated window on top of what you’re already working on and stays there until you close or minimize it, even if you navigate to something else in your main window.

The Global Actions menu

Trying to add a new campaign, and a donor calls about making a big pledge? No need to open another browser tab. Each time you click Log a Call and New Task, a dedicated composer window opens at the bottom. Fielding a few calls at once? Open more composer windows and they’ll stack up in an overflow menu on the left to free up more space.

Multiple Log a Call windows open at once

And the best news? Composer windows stay docked at the bottom of your screen. When you switch to checking your client cases, all of those opportunities will stay put. You can minimize those windows that are in the way and quickly move around with keyboard shortcuts! See Keyboard Shortcuts for Lightning Experience Composer Windows, linked in the Resources section below, for all of the details.

Create a New Contact and Household—the Fancy Way

For this tip we turn to Rosa Sanchez, a No More Homelessness (NMH) Case Manager, who uses the Global Actions menu to add a new contact when she’s busy typing up notes. As Rosa completes her notes from meeting with client Alex Ventresca, she receives a call from a new client, Anita Zimmerman. She’s not done with the case record, but she wants to make sure she captures the essential information right away. She creates Anita’s contact record using global actions.

  1. Click the global actions icon (The global actions icon).
  2. Select New Contact. Don’t see New Contact in the list? Your admin may have customized what’s available as a global action.
  3. Fill out the popup form.

    The popup form filled out for Anita Zimmerman

  4. Click Save.

And just like that, you can create what you need without having to navigate somewhere else. NPSP even creates a new household for the contact. 

Anita Zimmerman’s contact record

Your Best Friend: The Loyal Utility Bar

Global actions can help you complete common tasks from the top of the screen, but you can make your own go-to links across the bottom of your screen with the utility bar! 

The utility bar is permanently fixed at the bottom of your screen ready to be of service, like NMH’s office dog, Roofus, who sits under the table in the break room during lunch. If you spill crumbs, Roofus is there for you. Well, the utility bar is there to help you quickly access handy productivity tools like notes, launch a flow like a volunteer intake form, or take a glance at the exact wording of your mission statement. Your admin can add the tools that your organization needs. 

The NMH utility bar with notes, recent items, and in-kind food pantry gift options

Unlike Roofus—who, let’s be honest, jumps all over people at random—you can pop open the utility items and then minimize them as you please. They work similarly to the composer windows opened from global actions that we talked about earlier. 

Recent Items list

NMH’s Admin, Gorav Patel, has built dedicated utility bars for each of the NMH apps. From the standard NPSP app to their own NMH food pantry app, each has a unique set of utilities. First Gorav had to turn on the utility bars for each app, so you may need to ask your admin to do the same. 

Stay Mission Focused with Keyboard Shortcuts

These tools can work even faster, and allow you to get back to mission-focused work more quickly, with keyboard shortcuts. You can search for, edit, save, and close records, all without touching a mouse.

Here are a few commonly used keyboard shortcuts. 




Close or deselect

Close or deselect a window

You can’t close some windows and dialogs with this shortcut.



Edit a record

This shortcut doesn’t work with Lightning Knowledge articles, reports, dashboards, feed items, approval requests, and email messages.



Save a record

Your focus must be on a field.

Windows: Ctrl+s

macOS: Cmd+s


Places your cursor in global search


Go to composer window

Goes to the docked composer window

g, then d

Go to utility bar

Goes to the utility bar

g, then u

Now that you are a paragon of individual efficiency, how do you bring other people along for the ride and collaborate? In the next unit, we’ll dive into Chatter.


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