As a frequent visitor to the Salesforce AppExchange, I came across the Enabler4Excel whilst searching for alternatives to the standard Apex Data Loader. As you may know, the ApexData Loader ‘does what it says on the tin’; it could be prettier (anyone else perplexed by what must be a contender for the worst logo ever?!) and it could be a bit more user friendly nonetheless, it is one of the first desktop applications that a Salesforce specialist would leverage for batch DML operations.
However, for small/medium datasets, I have found the Enabler4Excel to be far superior for numerous reasons. If the Apex Data Loader is a rugged Range Rover that performs like it could power its way to Patagonia at a canter, then the Enabler4Excel is sleek and polished Mini Cooper that can zoom its way in and around London traffic with all the latest gadgetry for its passengers to enjoy.
The Enabler4Excel is branded as a ‘data loader on steroids’ and with over 100 very favourable reviews, I was intrigued about what this tool could offer me. The purpose of this review is to comprehensively highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this Excel plugin in order to make it easy for you to decide whether there are some use cases where you could leverage the tool.
What is the Enabler4Excel?
The Enabler4Excel is an Excel plugin that enables you to perform DML operations and Salesforce org analysis very easily and crucially, at a super-rapid rate. Because it is a plugin, you must install it to your desktop i.e. it is not cloud based like some other data loader alternatives like dataloader.io.
Installation and purchase options
Installation is straight forward and the documentation here does a great job of taking the user through the process. Post installation, you can open up Excel and you will see a wonderful new addition to your tabs.
Having clicked on the ‘Salesforce’ tab, select ‘Login’ and you will then be navigated to this page:
Historically, the Enabler4Excel used to be free for all but as its user-base has grown, it was no longer economically viable for the developers to continue down that route. So now, the Enabler4Excel is $10 (£6.74) per month and you can pay either a one-off fee for one month or you can setup recurring payments and cancel at any time. The change from free to paid is always going to be painful for consumers (and some of the recent app reviews reflect that) nonetheless, if you are a Salesforce admin then I believe this is a great tool in your arsenal because the time you will save will far surpass $10 / £6.74.
Once you have installed the Enabler4Excel for the first time and selected ‘Login’, you will be able to enjoy a free trial for 30 days. To keep tabs on how many days you have left of your trial license, you can click on the ‘About’ option on the far right under the ‘Salesforce’ tab. A pop-up box will appear like this:
Having paid, when you next select ‘Login’, you will be presented with the Salesforce.com web login box where you can input your credentials. You can login to whatever Salesforce environment you like, be it sandbox or production. This is especially helpful if you manage multiple environments and/or orgs. Having input your credentials, you are now good to go!
As Enabler4Excel can’t really be reviewed properly without looking at some of its most powerful components, I am now going to look at some at the individual features that make Enabler4Excel a must have for any admin/developer whose day job is data intensive. Please click on the “read more” link to see each feature in more detail.
Getting the data you want from Salesforce usually means that you end up in Excel, one way or another. And although Salesforce offers easy-to-use functionality to display data and make this data shareable, Excel offers a more advanced toolbox to manage data so as to turn it into information. So by creating a tool that by-passes multiple clicks and any downloads, the Excel Enabler makes your life easier, creates a more enjoyable user experience and crucially, means you save a lot of time. Read more about Get Data…
Salesforce compatibility with Excel hasn’t been as straight forward as one might expect. With Connect for Office limited only to Office 2007 (doesn’t work with Excel 2010 or later), a number of independent solutions which no longer being supported and limitations with PowerQuery, Enabler4Excel offers a watertight way to pull data from Salesforce reports straight into Excel. Meanwhile, ‘Refresh’ offers that all important functionality of refreshing the data instead of having to re-select the reports again. Read more about Reports and Refresh..
The majority of Salesforce admins adopt the Apex Data Loader as their principal tool for mass DML operations. And while that doesn’t look like changing soon, the Enabler4Excel is a fantastic plugin for performing DML operations on small – medium size datasets. Enabler4Excel will save you a multitude of clicks and minutes and soon you will wonder how you lived without it for so long! Read more about DML operations..
The ‘Analyze Layouts’ functionality enables you to analyze to a very granular level the meta-data and page layouts of your org. Want to know what fields aren’t being used across page layouts? Have a picklist field with 500 values across 50 record types and want to easily identify what set of values are being used across what set of record types? Want to identify how many fields are of a particular data type? All of these types of questions can be answered easily by the Enabler4Excel. Read more about Analyze Layouts..
Every org needs a bit of a spring clean. And the ‘Field Utilization’ feature gives you this ability by enabling you to analyze which fields aren’t being adopted. You can even input a search query so that you can identify the trends over time for a set of fields from any object that you want. This is an absolute must for maturing orgs that have cluttered page layouts which have a large set of lowly adopted fields. Read more about Field Utilization..
More or less, Visualforce is to Salesforce what HTML and CSS is to the web. And you know something cool? With Enabler4Excel, you can simply leverage the look and feel of your favorite Salesforce pages into Visualforce pages with the click of a button. Read more about Visualforce from Layout..
So, you finally ace Vlookups in Excel. Then you run a report from Salesforce and perform a Vlookup and smile. Then that smile turns into a frown because the 15 character Ids from Salesforce reports are, well…not case sensitive, so the Excel Vlookup doesn’t see them as truly unique Ids. What does this mean? It means your reports when comparing two or more sets of data aren’t accurate and it means a lot of frustration. What is the solution? There are a few but the easiest by far is to utilize a feature from Enabler4Excel. Read more about Convert IDs..
Ever had a huge Excel spreadsheet, a large cup of coffee and a super-tight deadline requesting you to analyze the differences? Yeah…so have I. You could either use your Vlookup prowess or to save a lot of time and energy, just…click a button in Enabler4Excel :). Read more about Diff..
In conclusion, the Enabler4Excel is an excellent tool and especially for Salesforce Admins and consultants who need to reliably utilize the functionality that the Data Loader, Connect for Office, formulas and Visualforce provides. For $10 a month, the Enabler4Excel offers excellent value for money because the cumulative time and brain processing saved will really increase efficiency.
Thank you for reading this review.