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Salesforce Data loader – How to use Step by Step Guide

By Chitiz Agarwal

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While you may be proceeding with Salesforce
development and seeking to load data in bulk, there could be several
specifications and important factors to know. When you have a certain or
small number of data to be loaded, you can do it easily by loading a
CSV file. It is quite obvious that you would need something different
when there are millions of records or data files that need to be loaded.

What is Salesforce Data Loader?

Data loader is an efficient tool that allows users to
upload records over their Salesforce environment in large quantities.
With this robust tool, users are provided with the option to choose
between a simple wizard interface and the command-line interface for
people who are technically updated. Here, files can be simply marked
with the help of drag and drop features that come along the data loader.
Users can upload data in bulk with utmost ease without having to worry
whether it’s custom or standard.

Salesforce Data Loader vs. Web-Based Import Wizard

With Salesforce, there are multiple ways of getting
the required data into the system. It may be considered to take a closer
look at things to make out which one would be the best. If you are
uploading data that consists of less than 50,000 records then you are
likely to prefer doing in through the import wizard. However, there is
an added requirement for the record type to be supported by the import
wizard. There are some easy ways to find the most preferable import
wizards. All you need to do is to enter “Data Management” in the quick
find box available under support.

However if you have large amounts of records to deal
with there may be no better way to do so but the data loader. Data
Loader will rather act as your go-to-tool and friend while uploading
records when you require uploading objects that may not be supported by
the respective import wizards. Also, when you’re required to schedule
data uploading on a regular basis, it may be a great decision to use the
data loader.

Salesforce Data Loader for Importing Records

With the help of the data loaders you are allowed to
update, upset, insert and delete data. Upserting is the combination of
inserting and updating data within the records. This certainly implies
that if the record within your file matches a pre-existing record within
your CRM, the information contained in the file will be updated into
the one already existing.

If there is no similar record existing then a new
record will be created. This means that along with adding new records
you can delete or modify records that may already exist. When you’re
using a data loader, you can define what tasks you want to be performed.

Non-Conventional Use of Salesforce Data Loader  

It is quite obvious that uploading data would be the
conventional use of the Data Loader. However, there are instances where
you’re required to conduct mass editing of considerable records.  For
instance, consider that you have a new trigger that needs to update
information in collective records within Salesforce. In order to
manipulate considerable records, you may have to look for tools or
platforms that can help you with the same. You will have to conduct a
mass edit and the data loader would subsequently trigger the logic.
Moreover, it is important to understand what impacts these actions may
have on you.

Step-by-step guide for using Salesforce Data Loader

If you are new with the use of Data Loader and the
tools and features it offers, it would be considered to glance at a
detailed guide to keep things in place and running smoothly. You may
prefer getting through the tips mentioned below:

  • You may click on insert, upsert, hard delete or delete based on the
    choices you prefer. The items that are deleted will not be restored
  • Then, you would be required to log in, enter your username and password.
  • Once you’ve logged in successfully, select the subject to which data
    needs to be uploaded. Therefore, if you require inserting account
    records, you may choose accounts. Similarly, if you need to update
    leads, choose leads.
  • If in case, the object you want to upload does not show up in the
    list, you can click on show all objects and glance at the entire list of
    objects available.
  • After selecting the object, click on browse and choose a considerable CSV file.
  • All you need to do further is to click on “Next” and “Ok” after which the CSV file will start uploading.
  • If you have made up your mind to upsert data, you need to ensure
    that your file consists of a column that can act as ID for considerable
  • In other words, it can be addressed like a column within the CSV file against which the tool would check in the system.
  • This column could be ID from the Salesforce record or an external
    ID. Select which field should be used in order to match; further, click
    next to continue.
  • While using the data loader, it may also be important to define the
    manner in which columns would appear within your CSV file map to the
    Salesforce fields.
  • You may create a new way of mapping records or utilize the one that
    already exists. Further, hit the finish and yes for confirmation.

Once you’ve used the data loader, a window would
appear showcasing your results like the number of new records that have
been created, deleted or updated, depending on what you had been doing.

While a quick description of steps to be followed is
mentioned above, it would still be vital to grab deeper insights about
the different concepts that are likely to be involved with Salesforce Development and the use of the data loader.

Some important operations with Salesforce Data Loader (Summarized)

Rather than beating around the bushes, it may be
better to dig deeper into topics and obtain details that are apt and
most suitable. Here are some major operations with Data loader that you
need to know about:


In order to update records, click on update; login.
Further, select the considerable CSV file that consists of updated
records along with their IDs. Now select an object and finish the


Upsert will also be the same as an update. However,
it allows you to insert new records too. With the help of this
operation, you can easily update existing records and add on new records


Exporting refers to downloading files from the organisation. Login
using your credentials after clicking on the export button. Select
objects that need to be exported. Also, specify the folder and where and
how you want to save and where; finish the operation.


Deleting any data would remove it from your
organization. In order to delete data, you will have to export the
existing one along with its ID. With this file, the data can be deleted.
Any data that is deleted using this operation is said to be available
in the recycle bin. You may prefer hard delete option for deleting data

This guide will surely let you get better by using the features of Salesforce Data Loader.

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