Difference between topic and data categories? - Answers - Salesforce Trailblazer Community
Trailblazer Community
Ask Search:
Sujay NadkarniSujay Nadkarni 

Difference between topic and data categories?

Specifically, what are the advantages of turning on topics for knowledge.  We turned on knowledge for our agents and have been looking into topics. 
Best Answer chosen by Sujay Nadkarni
Mayk NascimentoMayk Nascimento
Topic is the front-end accessibility for the Community User to be able to view the articles on the page via standard components, while Data Categories are the pre-requisite system security that is required for the article to show up in those components. If the Community User has Data Category access they can use the global search to view an article even if it is not assigned a Topic.

All Answers

Jonathan FoxJonathan Fox
Salesforce Knowledge uses data categories to classify articles and make them easier to find.
https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=category_whatis.htm&type=5

With topics on articles, you can classify and search articles by assigning topics. Topics can be added from the article view and detail pages.
https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=knowledge_topics.htm&type=5
Sujay NadkarniSujay Nadkarni
Thank you. But, don’t they mean the same. Both classify articles and make them easier to friend. Do we need both then?
Mayk NascimentoMayk Nascimento
Topic is the front-end accessibility for the Community User to be able to view the articles on the page via standard components, while Data Categories are the pre-requisite system security that is required for the article to show up in those components. If the Community User has Data Category access they can use the global search to view an article even if it is not assigned a Topic.
This was selected as the best answer
Mike BrownMike Brown
I recently had some confusion on this myself and wanted to weigh in here in case others have the same question.

Data Categories are more aimed around Security while Topics are more aimed around Navigation. Data Categories can be used to control which articles your users have access to based on which roles, profiles, etc. you've assigned the data categories to.

Topics on the otherhand are purely for a navigational  purpose in a community. There are Navigational Topics which you can include in the Navigation Menu
User-added image

There are also Featured Topics which are navigational blocks your users can click to access articles.
User-added image

It can be confusing because the two can often be related, and you very well may have the same set of topics and data categories. For example, I may have a Video data category. When I set this data category on an article, anyone with access to that data category can then see that article. However, to easily find that article in the community, this is where topics can come in handy because I can create a Video featured or navigational topic. When clicked, the user will see all articles associated with that topic.

You can think of it somewhat like granting access to an object in Salesforce. A data category is equivalent to saying that a user's profile has Read access to an object. While that lets the user see records on this custom object, it doesn't necessarily make it easy to find those records. That's where creating a custom tab can come in handy because it allows users to go to that tab and see all the records for that object, which is essentially what Topics are accomplishing.

The act of assigning topics to Articles happens on the Content Management section of the community. Because the topics and data categories often overlap, you can set up auto topic assignment under Content Management so that each data category maps to a Topic. Then, when an article is published to a community, the appropriate Topic will then be applies automatically.

Thanks,
Mikey
Vincenzo AlfanoVincenzo Alfano
Hello everyone, according to Salesforce Help (
https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=knowledge_topics.htm&type=5) topics must be enabled through the option "Topics for Object", but this is option is only available in Classic, not in Lightning. Am I missing something? How to enable topics in Lightning?
Mike BrownMike Brown
Hi Vincenzo, 

Those topics are more geared for internal objects and Chatter, whereas Featured/Navigational Topics are applicable to a community. 

It is true that if you want to enable Topics on internal objects you have to do it in classic, but you can then access them in Lightning. This article explains this in more detail: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=collab_topics_records_admin_LEX.htm&type=5

Thanks,
Mikey
Vincenzo AlfanoVincenzo Alfano
Awesome Mikey, it's all clear now.
Thanks!