The 7 Best Salesforce Data Loaders

Every Salesforce Administrator or consultant needs to know how to get data in and out of Salesforce. Did you know there are quite a few applications to help you do this? Salesforce provides several data loaders that have unique applications for different ways to upload and export your environment. To determine which data loader works for you, consider what your requirements are, what experience you have and the ease of use you want. Here are my picks for the seven best Salesforce data loaders.

Import Wizards

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Salesforce has built in separate import wizards that allow you to import accounts, contacts, leads, solutions and custom objects. These wizards take you step by step through importing data into your organization, are fairly self-explanatory and easy to use. As the name suggests, an 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 of the import wizard is that it will “dedupe” (find duplicates in) your data, so 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.
Advantages: Simple; Deduping capabilities
Disadvantages: Time consuming; Can import only

Data Import Wizard

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 point. The Data Import Wizard has much of the same functionality as the import wizards, but has a much needed user interface upgrade. Salesforce has done a great job here, as the interface is slick and easy to navigate. Compare the Data Import Wizard with existing wizards here.Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 17.02.59

Advantages: Upgraded interface; Encourages you with nice messages along the way 
Disadvantages: 
Time consuming; Can import only

Salesforce Data Loader

DLlogoThe Salesforce Data Loader, also known as the Apex Data Loader, has been a software staple in most consultants’ and admins’ day-to-day life. The Salesforce Data Loader is an application installed on your computer that can be used to interact with your data in a variety of different ways, allowing you 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 its increased functions, its major advantage over the import wizard is that it can insert over 50,000 records and up to 5 million. 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 export specific bits of data from each object. One disadvantage 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

dataloader_icon_200x200Dataloader.io is a cloud-based application developed by MuleSoft, a Salesforce Partner. Access it 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 (one schedule is free). I have used dataloader.io on various occasions and found  that it can interact with more objects than the Apex Data Loader (BusinessHours). Dataloader.io has well thought-out features like predictive text when mapping fields and CSV access for Dropbox, which has made them no. 1 on the AppExchange.

Advantages: Simple UI but still very advanced; Cloud based
Disadvantages: At this stage, none.

Jitterbit Data Loader

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Jitterbit has created one of the most advanced platforms 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 many features, though paid alternatives exist for some of the more niche functionality. Overall, Jitterbit is an amazing product that you have to try; its only caveat is that it does have a lot of features and is not as simple to use as a product like dataloader.io.
Advantages: Powerful; Many features
Disadvantages: Not as simple as some other data loaders, possibly more time consuming for quick uploads

LexiLoader (Mac OSX)

LexiLoader

LexiLoader is a free Mac-compatible version of the Apex Data Loader. This is not supported by Salesforce but has much of the same functionality. Although I have not used it extensively, I have not found any limitations with this software, although if you do, there is always Jitterbit and dataloader.io.
Advantages: Mac compatable
Disadvantages: Client application; Cannot insert into some objects

Excel Connector

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The Excel Connector is probably one of the most underrated and forgotten data loaders out there. It is an add-on to Excel that can be 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 manipulate a lot of data before upload; you are  likely going to be doing this anyway, so why not have your data loader in the same program? It is also quick to export and upload data; i.e., no wizards are required to get your data in or out. Because it is so quick, you must know Excel well to troubleshoot any issues.
Advantages: Great for quick operations; Built inside Excel; Great for manipulating data
Disadvantages: Simple functionality

Know of any other data loaders that should be included in this list? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Ben McCarthy, also known as Salesforce Ben, is a certified Salesforce admin and developer. Ben has a wealth of experience in the Salesforce ecosystem as a Business Analyst, Head of CRM and Consultant.

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