Using Sandbox

When your organization grows, so does the complexity involved in your sales processes. At such a juncture, any small error in a process could have a domino effect. No organization can afford such a situation. To help overcome this hassle, Zoho CRM offers Sandbox, an environment to test your Zoho CRM settings before you can take it to your production setup. This way, you can feel much safer about the changes to your settings, as you can now test them, identify issues and fix them before you take them to your actual working setup.


  • Sandbox is available in the Enterprise and Ultimate Edition of Zoho CRM.
  • Permission Required: Manage Sandbox

 Create Sandbox

To create Sandbox

  1. Go to Setup > Data Admnistration > Sandbox.
  2. In the Sandbox page, enter the following details under Sandbox Information section.
    • Name: Enter a name for the Sandbox.
    • Description: Write a brief description of the Sandbox.
    • Accessible To: Add users to give them access to Sandbox and its settings.
  3. Click Save

In addition to creating a Sandbox, you can add a type of user called Developer to access the Sandbox. A developer is a type of user with access permission to the Sandbox account alone. Hence, a developer will not have access to records on the CRM account.

To add a developer

  1. Go to Setup > Data Admnistration > Sandbox.
  2. In the Sandbox page, click ... in the top right corner.
  3. In the drop down list, click Add developer.
  4. In the Add Developer page, enter the following details:
    • First Name: Enter the first name of the developer to be added.
    • Last Name: Enter the last name of the developer to be added.
    • Email: Enter the developer's email to which the activation invite will be sent.
    • Role: Select the role of the developer in the Sandbox account.
    • Profile: Select the profile of the developer in the Sandbox account.
  5. Click Save to finish

An invite via email will now be sent to the developer for activation and once it is clicked, the developer access will be available.

The main purpose of adding a developer is to

  • Ideate, create and test all complex processes involved in automation tools like workflow rules, schedules, etc.
  • Write and test custom functions for tasks involving complex processes.
  • Make sure that all the processes created in the sandbox are error free and ready to get deployed into the production environment.


  • You can add maximum 5 developers to the sandbox account.
  • You can add the developers without purchasing a license.

 Access Sandbox

To access Sandbox

  1. Go to Setup > Data Admnistration > Sandbox.
  2. In the Sandbox page, click the Go to Sandbox button in the top right corner.
  3. A new CRM tab opens with an orange coloured Sandbox ribbon on the top denoting that the current tab is a sandbox.

 Make configurations in Sandbox

Once you access Sandbox, you can go ahead and make any configurations in it.


  • The Sandbox will contain your existing CRM configurations.
  • Sandbox will not display your existing records. You must create new records for testing in Sandbox.
  • While you deploy changes to production, only the configurations will be copied to the production and not the records that you may have created.

Following is an example of a workflow rule that has been created in Sandbox.

To create a workflow rule

  1. In the Sandbox environment, go to Setup > Automation > Workflow Automation.
  2. In the Workflow Rules section, click Create Rule.
  3. Enter the workflow rule's basic information.
  4. Enter the rule trigger, criteria and specify action on rule trigger.
  5. Click Save.

The workflow rule has been created in the Sandbox environment. Now, you can create records in Sandbox and test this workflow rule to confirm if it works without any discrepancies. Once the testing is done and if you are satisfied with the settings, you can deploy the settings to the production setup.

 Deploy the changes to production

The configurations you have made in the Sandbox account are listed under the Change Set section in your Sandbox page in the CRM account.

To deploy Sandbox changes to production

  1. Go to Setup > Data Administration > Sandbox.
  2. In the Change Set section, the changes made in the Sandbox account is listed along with the details such as module, action, user, date, etc.
  3. Click the funnel icon at the right end to apply filters. You can filter based on the module, user, action made, date and components
  4. You can either deploy all the changes or deploy partially.
    • To deploy all the changes - Click the checkbox to the left of Components & Item. It will select all the changes listed in the Change Set. Now, click Deploy changes to Production.
    • To deploy the changes partially - Click the checkbox to the left of the specific components you want to deploy. You can select multiple components too. Now, click Deploy changes to Production.
  5. In the Start Deployment page that opens, the Qualified and Conflicted changes will be displayed.
    • Qualified - Changes that will create no issues when deployed into the production setup.
    • Conflicted - Changes that will create issues because of reasons like name override, exceeding feature limit, missing parent item, etc. When there are conflicting changes, those changes will not be pushed to the deployment until they are rectified.
      • Example 1: If you have a module named vehicle in your production account and you create a field in that module inside the Sandbox account. But due to some reasons, the vehicle module has been deleted. Now, if you deploy the changes to the production setup, a conflict occurs due to the missing parent item - in this case, module vehicle.
      • Example 2: In the vehicle module, there is a field named insurance. When the same name has been used to create a field in the vehicle module inside the sandbox, a conflict occurs due to the name overriding.
  6. Click Yes, Proceed to finish the deployment process.

Now, all/specific changes selected under the Change Set section will be deployed to the production.

There is a Deployment Logs tab, next to Change Set, where all the details regarding the already deployed changed will be listed. You can also use filters and view the deployment logs according to your requirements.

 Refresh Sandbox

When your Sandbox setup is not in sync with the Production setup, any "test" that you conduct in your Sandbox will not be relevant when deployed to production. What worked in Sandbox may go wrong in your production setup as both versions were not in sync. So it is important that you always update your Sandbox settings.

Zoho CRM lets you update Sandbox by using a Refresh Sandbox option.

To refresh Sandbox

  1. Go to Setup > Data Admnistration > Sandbox.
  2. Click the Refresh Sandbox button on the top right.
    The Sandbox environment will be updated with the latest settings in the Production environment.


  • You can refresh Sandbox only once in 30 days.
  • Any changes you have made in the Sandbox settings which is not yet deployed to Production will be lost when you refresh Sandbox. All settings will be replaced with those in the Production setup.
  • Also, all data added in Sandbox as well as settings that are not yet available for deployment from Sandbox will be lost.

 Deactivate Sandbox

There might arise situations where you don't need a sandbox since it might cause issues. For instance, your organization is undergoing major automation changes, sales restructure, etc., and you don't want the changes made in the sandbox to be deployed to the production and create problems.

For this purpose, Zoho CRM provides you an option to deactivate your sandbox with the help of Deactivate option.

To deactivate Sandbox

  1. Go to Setup > Data Admnistration > Sandbox.
  2. In the Sandbox page, click the ... button in the top right corner.
  3. In the drop down list, click Deactivate.
  4. Click Deactivate to proceed with the deactivation of your sandbox.


  • Once you deactivate your sandbox, you will not be able to access it.
  • The developer will also lose the sandbox access.
  • You will not be able to deploy the changes to your production account till you reactivate your sandbox account.
  • When sandbox is reactivated, all the undeployed changes which were listed in the Change Set before deactivation will be retained. You can then choose to deploy them to production.

 Points to Remember

  • Currently, Sandbox will allow deployment to production for Profiles, Roles, Data Sharing Settings, Groups, Multicurrency, Territory Management, Automation, Customization, Templates, Custom Schedules, Webforms and Auto Response Rules. However, Sandbox currently does not support Blueprint and Scoring Rules.
  • Sandbox allows you to test what happens not only when you add new configurations, but also when you edit or delete an existing configuration.
  • To know whether you are working on the Sandbox environment or production setup, look out for a bright orange Sandbox ribbon. This is used to differentiate Sandbox from your production setup.
  • Sandbox is only to test configurations in Zoho CRM. Records that you enter in Sandbox cannot be deployed to production.
  • You can select all the changes or the required ones partially from the Change Set and then deploy them to the production.
  • Once you have deployed changes to production, remaining changes in the Change set will be retained until next refresh.
  • You can refresh Sandbox settings using the Refresh Settings option once in 30 days. When you refresh settings, all exisiting Sandbox configurations are deleted and the Sandbox environment will mirror the latest production setup.
  • The changes deployed via Sandbox will be listed in Deployment Logs section in the Sandbox page.

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