Colors in reports and page layouts with SVG VisualForce pages

Other than using Rich Text fields, there are rigid limits in regards to how fields appear on a page layout or report.
In the Account report below, you can see a text field that appears in different colors depending on the industry of the account. This article shows one way to obtain that functionality.


Below is the formula used to display the colored text:

IMAGE( “/apex/TextToImage?color=”
IF( CONTAINS( ‘Energy|Construction|Transportation|Shipping|Utilities|Manufacturing|Agriculture’, TEXT( Industry ) ), ‘red’, ‘green’ )
+ “&text=”
+ SUBSTITUTE( Name, “&”, “%26amp;” ) + ” (”
+ IF( CONTAINS( ‘Energy|Construction|Transportation|Shipping|Utilities|Manufacturing|Agriculture’, TEXT( Industry ) ), ‘Basic’, ‘Service’ ) + ” Industry)”, “Test” )

Notice how it starts with an IMAGE() function with a concatenation of:

  1. a link to a VisualForce page
  2. a parameter “color” followed by…
  3. …an IF() function that determines whether the text should appear in red or green
  4. a parameter “text” followed by…
  5. …a SUBSTITUTE() function that replaces any “&” character in the Account Name with an equivalent escape code
  6. another IF() function that determines whether to append the words “(Basic Industry)” or “(Service Industry)” depending on the picklist value of the Account Industry

That is right, this formula transforms a text field into an image using a VisualForce page! How is that possible?

Here is the page markup for TextToImage:

<apex:page sidebar="false" showHeader="false"
 applyHtmlTag="false" applyBodyTag="false" 
 ContentType="image/svg+xml" >
    <apex:variable var="textWidth" 
         value="{! LEN( $CurrentPage.parameters.Text ) * 10 }"/>
    <apex:variable var="textColor" 
         value="{!IF( $CurrentPage.parameters.Color = null, 
                  'red', $CurrentPage.parameters.Color )}" />

    <svg id="layer_1" 
        height="20" width="{! textWidth }">
      <text x="0" y="15" font-family="Verdana" 
          font-weight="bold" fill="{! textColor }">
          {! $CurrentPage.parameters.Text }

In this page there are 3 unusual things:

  1. no controller, no header, no sidebar, no style sheet
  2. the ContentType is set to image/svg+xml
  3. the SVG tag containing a TEXT tag

The SVG image format – Scalable Vector Graphics – is relatively less known standard but it is very versatile and compatible with virtually all browsers. It allows us to define an image using plain XML.

In order to generate an image, this VisualForce page uses the parameters Text and Color. Color can be any CSS color code such as #FF00FF, #00A0C0, etc or a CSS color name such as red, green, darkblue, etc.
An URL like below would make the text “This is a test.” appear in cyan:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.59.35 AM

This way of manipulating text with SVG opens the door to a few ideas and allows interesting features that will be explored in the next articles… (hint:  check out the bar codes in the first image!)


Posted on 05/17/2016, in formula. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. while creating Formula field… syntax error showing.
    Please give us step by step procedure to create this.
    Thank you.

  1. Pingback: Formatting long text fields in reports and page layouts | Learn SalesForce

  2. Pingback: Custom hyperlink buttons in a formula | Learn SalesForce

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