Salesforce is a fantastic tool to better understand your customers and increase your business. To use it though, you need data and consequently, you need some way of getting that data into the Salesforce software. For small datasets (up to 50, 000 records) you can use the Salesforce Import Wizard. However, this tool can be time consuming, will not work for larger datasets and does not offer a range of data manipulation options. Salesforce offers a solution to this problem with the Salesforce data loader tool. This tool is offered with some Classic orgs and Lightning Experience. All editions of Salesforce are supported (Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, Developer, and Database.com Editions).
Unlike the browser capabilities of Salesforce, this tool will need to be downloaded onto your local machine in order to be used. It is available for both Mac and Windows computers.
Once downloaded, the client application has a nice simple interface with seven main buttons to utilize.
Explanation of the utilities
Insert – Insert new records into Salesforce. Columns of files must match the fields of the object you wish to insert into and data in the columns should be in the proper format for their categories (for example numerical values for year)
Update – Change an existing record
Upsert – Changes the specified record if it is already in the data, otherwise inserts a new it
Delete – Remove records from the system, but stores it in the Recycle Bin for a limited period of time
Hard Delete – Remove the data right away without storing it in the Recycle Bin
Export – Exports “live” data from the system to CSV. You may specify which “live” data you want exported
Export All – Exports “live” data as well as what is in the Recycle Bin and any data that may have been archived. Same as Export, the user can specify which data they want exported to CSV
The Data Loader can also be used with the command line on Windows machines. This can be advantageous as you can set up the Data Loader for automatic processing.
Some important features of the tool are as follows:
- Support for files with up to 5 million records
- Support for all objects, including custom objects
- Works with Database.com
- Built in CSV viewer
- Descriptive error and success logs in CSV format
Tips for Importing
If you are using data with a different separator than commas, you will need to specify the separator (delimiter) in the Loader Settings before importing data.
In the case that you have over 5 million records it is recommended to consult a Salesforce partner or use a third-party application. Working with a support partner can not only ease the process of importing data successfully, but also reduce stress later down the line when you have any questions while working with the data or your Salesforce software.
Tips for Exporting
After exporting data you will want to create a SOQL query which will allow you to extract data from the database. There are various wizards available to ease this process offered by Salesforce and third party applications.
Make sure to export your data to create backup records before you begin manipulating it. Once any task is performed with the Data Loader it is permanent.
While a handy and effective tool, not everyone prefers Salesforce Data Loader and it may not suit all data needs. In this case, some alternatives to Salesforce Data Loader include
Cloud based and browser accessed. Builds on the Salesforce Data Loader by offering search based on text not record IDs and offering the ability to schedule tasks. This may be advantageous for Mac users who cannot utilize the benefits of the command line
This is a good option for confidential data and complex data structures
Helps transfer data between orgs
Overall, Salesforce Data Loader offers a useful and powerful tool to work with your data in Salesforce. If you have any questions about your Salesforce usage please reach out to us as we are always happy to discuss how we can assist you.