Getting data in and out of Salesforce is a required skill for any Salesforce Administrator or Consultant. Did you know there are actually quite a few applications to help you do this? Salesforce provides a few different data loaders that have unique applications and are all suited for different ways to upload and export your environment. In terms of my title, you couldn’t really crown a winner of best Data Loader for Salesforce, as it all depends on what your requirements are, what experience you have and the ease of use you want.
In this post I’m briefly going to review a few different Data Loaders I’ve used over the years with a brief introduction about what they are about, followed by a summary of their advantages and disadvantages.
1. Data Import Wizard
The Salesforce Data Import Wizard is the de facto data loading tool that is built into Salesforce and available in all editions. Its wizard-style interface walks you through the steps required making it very easy to use. In recent years, it’s also been upgraded to import more objects, including accounts & contacts, leads, solutions, campaign members, and person accounts. In addition, you can now import custom objects!
Advantages: Simple & easy to use, able to insert contacts & accounts in one import, available within Salesforce.
Disadvantages: Maximum of 50,000 records at a time, can only import data, experienced users may find the lack of settings frustrating.
2. Salesforce Data Loader
You can think of the Salesforce Data Loader as the Import Wizard’s bigger sibling, more power, higher limits, and bigger possibilities.
Created by Salesforce, this data loader is installed directly on your computer that can be used to interact with your data in a variety of ways. It allows you to insert, update, upsert, delete, and export. You also get an increase from 50,000 max records with the import wizard, to 5,000,000. There are also a variety of backend settings that means this data loader can pretty much handle any scenario you throw at it. Check out our guide to using the Salesforce Data Loader here.
Advantages: Quicker, more powerful, and more settings for the experienced Salesforce professional.
Disadvantages: Has to be downloaded, can’t schedule imports from the interface.
Originally developed by Mulesoft, but has since been brought into the Salesforce family through the acquisition. Compared to the Data Loader, dataloader.io makes it look like it came out of the 90s.
dataloader.io is 100% cloud-based and accessed through your browser. You have all of the same options available to you as the Salesforce Data Loader, but with some extra functionality that makes this product very attractive. Two of my favourite features is the ability to schedule tasks, and secondly, dataloader.io can automatically find parent records based on text, not an ID, pretty much carrying out the VLookup for you.
Advantages: Simple UI but very advanced and Cloud-based.
Disadvantages: dataloader.io is a freemium product.
Dataimporter.io is a cloud data loading tool that lets you connect, clean, and import your data into Salesforce. Similar to dataloader.io, you can schedule tasks, lookup records with text values, and configure settings such as date format, and API type.
It also gives you the ability to connect to external systems such as Dropbox, SFTP, and Heroku, rollback imports, deduplicate, and sample data to test imports before running the full job.
Advantages: Import CSV & Excel files, Integrations, Data Cleaning.
Disadvantages: Dataimporter.io is a Freemium product.
Whilst the above data loaders are pretty impressive in their own ways, some people just like to work in Excel, and that’s exactly what XL-Connector enables you to do.
XL-Connector is an add-on for Excel that gives you the ability to interact with your Salesforce data directly from the spreadsheet. This is pretty convenient, considering before most data loaders, you will be manipulating data in Excel anyway. You have all the standard data tools such as insert, update, upsert, delete, and export, as well as extra features such as converting leads, or mass merging Accounts, Contacts & Leads.
Advantages: Powerful bit of kit if you love to work directly in Excel.
Disadvantages: XL-Connector is a freemium product.
Prodly AppOps Release is a really great alternative to traditional data loaders when you need to move data between Salesforce orgs. Unlike CSV driven data loaders, AppOps Release deploys data between orgs via reusable data set templates, and has features to maintain record ownership, obfuscate data and create missing fields or picklist values.
It also provides an automatic audit trail, rollback capabilities, and advanced automation for deactivating/reactivating Flows, validation rules, and more, during deployments.
Advantages: Move an entire layered data schema at once, out of the box data sets for migrating CPQ, FSL and advanced approvals.
Disadvantages: Does not support data import from spreadsheets, paid product.