Working with permissions per each field in Salesforce can be a cumbersome task. Each field can be visible and/or read only. One of the primary ways to update this information is to access the Salesforce Setup panel and go to Customize (or Create) and find the Object in question, then find and update the FLS settings on the field in question. This process allows you update exactly 1 field only. To do this across multiple fields and objects can be extremely time consuming.
Another way to update these settings is to use the Force IDE or similar to retrieve the Profile XML files and updating each field/object for each profile. This method requires knowledge of Salesforce development and an understanding of the Salesforce XML file structures.
In my experience, I have found both these cases to be inefficient and potentially problematic.
I wanted to present today a tool I have been working on called the Bulk FLS Updater tool. This tool will retrieve a list of all the Profiles in Salesforce in addition all the Fields and Objects and allow you to update the FLS settings in bulk.
I have created a screencast below to demonstrate the functionality behind this tool.
NOTE: This tool is currently not readily available, but if you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. If there are enough people that reach out, I will potentially make this tool available for general use.
UPDATE: Since creating this blog post I have converted this tool into a standalone application. It can be accessed by following this link: https://nathanfranklin.com.au/tools/salesforce-fls-updater/. This tool is currently in BETA.