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 provide 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. Import Wizards
Salesforce has inbuilt separate Import Wizards that allows you to import Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Solutions and Custom Objects. These wizards takes you step by step to import data into your organisation and is fairly self explanatory and easy to use. As the name suggests, the Import Wizard is only going to allow you to import data and not delete or export, it can also only handle data up to 50,000 records. One big advantage to the Import Wizard as well as the simplicity is the fact that it will dedupe your data and you can choose to not enter duplicates. However, it does require you to map all fields individually and does not allow you to import maps. Salesforce has recently updated the separate import wizards and unified them into the “Data Import Wizard” (See below). Both versions still exist though.
Advantages – Simple, Deduping capabilities
Disadvantages – Time consuming, can only import
The Data Import Wizard is an updated, unified version of the separate Import Wizards that are still available but will likely be phased out at some stage. The Data Import Wizard has much of the same functionality as the old import wizards but has a much needed user interface upgrade. Salesforce have done a great job here and the interface is slick and easy to navigate. The Data Import Wizard is pretty much identical to the separate import wizards but does have a few discrepancies that you can check out in a nice table by Salesforce here.
Advantages – Upgraded Interface, encourages you with some nice messages along the way!
Disadvantages – Time consuming, can only import
3. Salesforce Data Loader
The Salesforce Data Loader aka Apex Data Loader has been a staple bit of software in most Consultants and Admins day to day life. Created by Salesforce, the Apex Data loader is an application installed on your computer that can be used to interact with your data in a variety of different ways. It allows your to insert, update, upsert, delete and export. If you are wondering what Upsert is, this function will update existing records or insert new records. Apart from the increased functions it can do, it has a major advantage over the import wizard in that it can insert over 50,000 records, up to 5,000,000. It also has the ability to save field mappings for future use, instead of choosing the fields to map every time. The Export feature also allows you to apply filters to only export specific bits of data from each object. One disadvantage I have come across using the Data loader is that it cannot insert into some of the more obscure objects like BusinessHours.
Advantages – Much quicker in some cases, More features
Disadvantages – Client Application, Cannot insert into some objects
Dataloader.io is a Cloud based application developed by MuleSoft a Salesforce Partner. It that can be accessed straight away by logging in with your Salesforce credentials, no separate sign up required!. Dataloader.io is a clean, quick and intuitive way to interact with your data in various ways. As well as the usual importing, exporting and deleting you can also schedule operations for future dates (1 schedule is free). I have used dataloader.io on various occasions and found that is can actually interact with more objects than the Apex Data loader e.g. Business Hours. Dataloader.io has thought about their product well and has little features like predictive text when mapping fields and being able to access dropbox for CSV’s, this has made them #1 on the AppExchange!
Advantages – Simple UI but very advanced, Cloud based
Disadvantages – At this stage, none!
5. Jitterbit DataLoader
Jitterbit has created one of the most advanced platforms I’ve seen for integrating, manipulating and uploading data into Salesforce. Jitterbit can connect to various other web services and databases to provide you with one environment to manage all of your data for a particular project. Jitterbit is available as cloud software or as a more advanced desktop client. It is mainly free and gives away ALOT of features, there is paid alternatives for some of the more niche bits of functionality. Overall Jitterbit is an amazing product that you have to try out, the only caveat is that it does have a lot of features and is maybe not as simple to use as something like dataloader.io, no reason not to give it a try though!
Advantages – Very Powerful, A lot of features
Disadvantages – Not as simple as some other data loaders, possibly more time consuming for quick uploads
6. LexiLoader (Mac OSX)
LexiLoader (Logo made by myself!) is a free mac compatible version of the Apex Dataloader. This is not supported by Salesforce but has much of the same functionality. Although I have not used it extensively, I have not come across any limitations with this software, although if you do, there is always Jitterbit and dataloader.io!
Advantages – Mac compatable
Disadvantages – See #3
7. Excel Connector
Finally we have the Excel Connector. The Excel Connector is probably one of the most underrated and forgotten data loaders out there. It is an Add on to Excel which can be very easily installed and allows you to upload and export data directly in and out of an excel sheet. The Excel connector is preferable if you are experienced with Excel and are required to do a lot of data manipulation before upload, you are more than likely going to be doing this anyway, so why not have your data loader in the same program! It is also extremely quick to export and upload data, there isn’t any long wizards to get your data in/out. Because it is so quick, you really do have to know what you are doing just incase you slip up.
Advantages – Great for quick operations, Built inside Excel, Great for manipulating data
Disadvantages – Simple functionality compared to others
Thanks for reading, if you have come across any other Data Loaders that you think should of appeared in this list, then please comment and leave a link!