Admins / Data

How to Download and Install Data Loader: A Tutorial

By Mariel Domingo

Whether you’re a Salesforce newbie or an experienced user looking to expand your data mastery, you’ve probably heard about Data Loader and its awesome features that can help you manage data within Salesforce orgs. As something that streamlines the process of importing and exporting data – we can’t deny that it’s definitely a powerful tool!

At this point you might be eager to jump in, but one quick search online shows a lot of material about Data Loader. Going through them can be overwhelming, so if you’re not sure where to start, we’ll be your guiding light by providing easy-to-follow instructions and tips to help you kickstart your Data Loader journey with confidence. Let’s get stuck in!

Understanding Data Loader

Imagine having hundreds (or even thousands!) of records that need to be updated or inserted into your Salesforce org. Doing it manually would be a nightmare, right?

Data Loader is an incredibly handy tool that makes managing data in your Salesforce org a breeze. It’s a client application that saves the day by giving you the ability to perform a number of actions like inserting, updating, deleting, and extracting large volumes of data – making it easier to work with records in bulk.

READ MORE: Data Loader Guide

Accessing the Data Loader Download

To get started, you need to download the Data Loader application. It’s always best practice to get the latest version, and Data Loader no longer bundles Java with its installer. Since Data Loader version 45 and above now requires users to install Zulu OpenJDK, let’s start with that.

  1. If you’re on Windows OS, download Azul Zulu from this link. The file should end with .msi. If you’re using MacOS, the appropriate installer can be found here and the file should end with .dmg.
  2. Double click the installer file to run the setup wizard.
  3. Follow the wizard instructions and hit Finish or Close.
  4. Go to Salesforce Data Loader to download the latest version of Data Loader, which is updated with every Salesforce release. The download button is usually at the top of the page.
  5. Once the download is complete, open the zipped folder and select Extract All.
  6. In the folder of extracted files, look for the installation file. There should be two files named installer.bat and installer.command. Use installer.bat if you’re on Windows OS, and installer.command if you’re using MacOS.
  7. Run the installation file.
  8. When asked to provide the installation directory, just hit Enter to accept the default name “dataloader”.
  9. Respond with Yes or No when it asks if you want a desktop shortcut or a Start Menu shortcut.
  10. Data Loader will start installation (this usually goes very fast, mine barely felt like a second!) and the next message will automatically be “Data Loader installation is quitting.” Press any key to fully exit the command interface.

Launching Data Loader

After the installation is complete, you can launch Data Loader by finding its shortcut icon on your desktop or accessing it from your applications menu. Double-click the icon to open the Data Loader application.

On the first launch, clicking any of the actions will open a prompt for you to log in with your Salesforce credentials. If you’re already logged in to your Salesforce org on an open browser, you can use OAuth then proceed with selecting the environment type (Production or Sandbox). Otherwise, select Password Authentication and log in directly from there.

To use Data Loader, make sure you are API Enabled and you have the appropriate permissions to accomplish the desired actions. For example, if you need to import new contacts, you should have create permission on the contact object.


That’s it! You’re now ready to dive into the world of Data Loader. It’s like having a time machine for data entry – you’ll now be able to speed up your workflow and save yourself from tedious, repetitive tasks involving large-scale data operations. However, just like wielding any powerful tool, remember that with great power comes great responsibility.

Always exercise caution and ensure data accuracy when using Data Loader. Take the time to back up your data and double-check your settings, mappings, and actions to prevent any unintended consequences. Data Loader empowers you, but keep it mind to handle it with care to maintain the integrity and security of your Salesforce data.

Happy data loading!

READ MORE: Insert Users With Data Loader in Salesforce [Tutorial]

The Author

Mariel Domingo

Mariel is the Courses Administrator at Salesforce Ben.


    Jaime de Viajes BIDtravel
    September 09, 2021 12:18 pm
    Awesome, very clear explanation Thanks! I was wondering, would you consider export the report to XLS to create the custom object from spreadsheet to save some time? Also, what about capturing fields from report formulas? I have tried but they dont show up as origin available fields
    Stacy Oleary
    September 09, 2021 10:48 pm
    Hi Jaime, Are you talking about creating the initial custom object? I just do it directly in Salesforce, it's not many fields. Snapshots don't allow for formula fields, there's an idea on the idea exchange: If you really need the formula field (and all the fields you're referencing are in your snapshot, you could just re-create the formula field directly on your snapshot custom object. Or you can create automation to populate the formula in a text/currency field, and that can be referenced in the snapshot as well.
    Jaime de Viajes BIDtravel
    September 10, 2021 12:17 pm
    Hi, not sure if you mention it, but just in case. If using a summary report instead of a tabular report, some report formulas will be available to add, but not other fields like the Id´s as you did in your example. Will keep on testing this tool anyway. Maybe because of the limitation of the "preferred start time" when scheduling, I will have to go for a solution using apex (schedulable class).
    Mary Butlin
    September 30, 2021 5:47 pm
    Thanks - really useful to know this technique when tracking over time.
    Andrew K.
    October 27, 2021 4:20 pm
    Hi! - This was really helpful, thank you for putting this article together! One question, and I'm not sure this is the venue for asking this, but when creating the pipeline report (like the one in the example), is there a way to only show the Total Amount for the most recent snapshot? In the example, the Total Amount reflects the value of all the snapshots combined, which is what I have in my report, too. That could be very misleading to anyone viewing the report. Just thought I would ask.
    Susa M
    February 24, 2022 2:04 am
    Thank you for this very article. I was feeling a bit bewildered about snapshots but these instructions helped me feel more confident.
    Ann Baker
    September 05, 2022 6:20 pm
    Thank you for posting this! It was a great step-by-step list of what to do. It didn't take long to set up and my snaps start tomorrow. :)
    Max B
    January 15, 2023 10:55 am
    This was INCREDIBLY helpful!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!
    January 26, 2023 11:57 pm
    Hi, this was very helpful, thank you! Instead of creating a schedule to run daily/weekly, can I have a snapshot captured every time I run a report? Context - I have a job that creates data and every other time the job runs, it overrides existing records. So I want to capture the results of each run separately in a snapshot object. It should be real-time and not a schedule. Thoughts? Suggestions?
    November 17, 2023 3:43 pm
    Hi - great article! I have been using data loader all throughout my career. So, I was wondering if anyone know if Dataloader is going to get some "love" - like a redesign or some new features?

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