Skip to Content

Partial Copy Sandbox with New Salesforce Lightning Editions

By May 26, 2016

One of the most exciting benefits for nonprofits with the introduction of the new Salesforce Lightning Editions is the bundling of a Partial Copy Sandbox and 25 Developer Sandboxes with the 10 free subscriptions that eligible nonprofits are already entitled to through the Power of Us Program.


You may not be familiar with Partial Copy Sandboxes, since, until now, they were only available to customers who had purchased them. A Partial Copy Sandbox copies your configuration and some (not all) of your data, so you can test new configurations with your own real data. Unlike a Full Sandbox, which copies all of your data and is a complete clone of your production organization, a Partial Copy Sandbox only copies a selection of your data. You select which objects you want to copy, and Salesforce will sample up to 10,000 records from each of those objects, as well as related records up to a total of 5GB of data. Partial Copy Sandboxes can be refreshed every 5 days.

If you are an NPSP or HEDA admin, you should be aware of how the Partial Copy Sandbox process actually works, as it may impact your Sandbox environment. You may assume that for any object you select to be copied, you’ll get every record that’s connected to it, and every record that that record is connected to, and so on and so on (confusing, right?). Not so fast. Salesforce samples data starting with the parent object selected and will only guarantee that you’ll get related records if their relationship to the object is required (master-detail or required lookup relationship).

So, for example, if you select “Opportunity” as an object to copy, you can safely assume that Sandbox Opportunities will have their connected “Payments,” since that relationship is required (it’s master-detail), but that Opportunity record may not show its “Recurring Donations,” since Recurring Donations are not connected to Opportunities through a required relationship (it’s just a standard lookup field).

In this scenario, you could also choose to copy the “Recurring Donation” object, but if you have more than 10,000 records, the records may or may not correspond to the Opportunities that were copied when the Sandbox is created. So, you may have some Opportunities that had a Recurring Donations copied that no longer have it, and you may have some Recurring Donations copied that have only a subset (or even none) of their associated Opportunities.

NOTE: If you have more than 10,000 records in your objects and you select a non-required object to copy as well, those records may or may not be matched correctly.

Tip: You can use Schema Builder to see how objects in your organization are connected to each other. Objects connected by red lines indicate required relationships, while blue lines mean they’re not required.

Partial Copy Sandbox

Make sure you carefully review these instructions and the Partial Copy Sandbox Trailhead Module and the Sandbox documentation before you get started.

We hope you enjoy your new Partial Copy Sandbox!

Check out the Lightning FAQ to learn more about the new Lightning Editions.