Find Specific Text Within Saved Search Formulas

Use an “Analytics Audit Trail” type Saved Search to find references within other Saved Searches


Saved Searches are probably the most widely-used reporting tool in NetSuite. They are often used to stay in control of what is happening in the environment using email alerts and dashboards and the like. Sometimes, though, Saved Search criteria or results include references to specific text values that may be subject to change, posing a risk that the search can eventually become obsolete or misleading.

Use Case

For example, consider a custom field on a Purchase Order “Custom Status” with a drop down list of values. If the text in the drop-down is referenced in a search formula, and later someone changes the wording of the text, the saved search will no longer be accurate. This article will show how to prevent and detect record changes that will adversely impact existing Saved Searches.

Best Practices: Use Internal IDs

Before the solution, I would like to point out that it’s never good practice to reference specific text in a formula, if it can be avoided. It is much better to use the internal id as a reference. Here’s a handy tip: You can usually add “.id” in a formula to get the internal id of the list value or record value, even when the field/record is more than two joins away. For example, to reference a Location value of the Sales Order transaction on an Invoice search, you can use “{} = 3” instead of something like “{createdfrom.location} = ‘Main Warehouse’.” (Hat tip to Sean G., my colleague at Prolecto who taught me that.)

Now for the solution, in cases where the best practice advice described above was not followed and specific text was used in formulas: Use an Analytics Audit Trail Search! Navigate to Lists > Searches > Saved Searches > New and select “Analytics Audit Trail” as the search type. Below is sample criteria and results for a search I created where I was looking for formulas in Saved Searches that were referencing fields that contained a number from 1-7 with a hyphen afterwards:

Criteria Tab

Formula (Numeric)is 1CASE
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%1-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%2-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%3-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%4-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%5-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%6-%’ THEN 1
WHEN {newvalue} LIKE ‘%7-%’ THEN 1
Component Namecontains formula

Note: the “Component Name — contains formula” is telling the search to look for saved search “components” (= criteria, columns, or filters) that are of the “formula” type.

Results Tab

FieldSummary TypeFormula
FormulaGroup‘<a href=’ || {savedsearch.internalid} || ‘ target=_blank>Link</a>’
Record TitleGroup
New ValueCount

Note that the Formula in the Results tab creates hyperlinks to the saved searches that contain the text we are looking for. For more help in creating hyperlinks in saved searches, see this article by Marty Zigman.

Next Step: Stay ahead of the curve

If there are custom lists or other records in the environment that are likely to be referenced in Saved Searches, it also can be valuable to use the above saved search as a link in a second saved search which can drive an email alert to warn a user about the change and provide an actionable list. For example, if you know that the location names are often referenced in Saved Searches, you can set up an alert every time a Location name changes with a list of other saved searches that are impacted.


The Analytics Audit Trail Search is a really handy resource to stay on top of changes that affect existing reports. If you would like to learn more about this feature or would like creative solutions for NetSuite problems, I’d be happy to hear from you!

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