Salesforce: Check if Record Has Been Manually Edited

We recently had a requirement in Salesforce that was a little unique. An ongoing automated process would update the associated Contact to a record, however they didn’t want the automated process to do the update if the field had been updated by a human. Makes sense – if someone takes the time to make a manual association of a Contact to a record, then it’s probably better information than the automatic matching algorithm.

As far as I can tell it’s impossible at runtime to know if the edit is due to a UI edit or is coming from code, so that’s out.

Here’s how we made it happen. The idea is to have a “last updated by code” checkbox that will be set by a workflow. But in order for it to know if it’s been updated by code, you need a 2nd checkbox that is only updated in Apex.

First, make two checkboxes on your record:
Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c
Contact_Last_Changed_By_Code__c

Set the latter to true by default when a new record is created.

When your code updates the record, set Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c = true.

Then, make two workflows.
if(and(Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c=false,ischanged(Contact__c)),true,false)
-> Field Update – Contact_Last_Changed_By_Code__c = false

And
if(and(ischanged(Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c),Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c=true),true,false)
–> Field Update: Contact_Last_Changed_By_Code__c = true
–> Field Update: Contact_Change_Trailing_Lock__c = false

This results in you being able to use the Contact_Last_Changed_By_Code__c checkbox downstream in your logic to know not to overwrite the manual edit.

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