When using a customer relationship management (CRM) like Salesforce, data integrity — whether data is “dirty” or “clean” — can make or break an organization’s ability to use data for effective decision making. Learning how to use Salesforce data loader properly is an effective way to keep data clean and safeguard it from error-prone manual data handling processes. It also increases efficiency and saves countless man hours when dealing with large numbers of records. Here are answers to a few commonly-asked questions about data import wizard vs data loader, along with additional information to help you decide on a solution for your CRM.

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What Exactly Is Data Loading?

Data loading is an automated process whereby a user extracts a data set from one destination and moves it to another. This often involves moving data stored as one file format and saving it to the destination application as a different format than the original source location. Businesses use the process to import and export bulk data, as it eliminates many of the risks associated with a manual transfer process like inaccuracy or creating duplicates. In cases where a large number of records must be transferred, data loading can save businesses hundreds of hours of time and resources.

Data Loader Key Features

What Is a Salesforce Data Loader?

Whether you’re already a Salesforce administrator or considering becoming one, understanding data loaders is valuable knowledge. A Salesforce data loader is an application used to insert, update, delete, and export large amounts of data to, within, and from Salesforce. The application can also move customer data from one system to another, upload new data in bulk, and export records to backup or move it to another system. It’s a client application, which means that users must first download and install Data Loader in order to get started.  Businesses use it for high volumes of data, starting at 50,000 records with a maximum of 5,000,000. For fewer records, Salesforce Data Import Wizard or a similar app integration will do the trick.

SalesForce Data Loader is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems, and offers two options for using it — command line (for Windows only) or UI (user interface). Data Loader reads, extracts, and loads data from comma-separated values (CSV) files during the import process, or from a database connection. When exporting data, it outputs CSV files.

Which Data Loader Should You Use?

There are dozens of data loaders available in AppExchange, Salesforce’s official app store. Both free and paid options are available, and there are ratings and reviews available to help you learn more.  The best way to decide which data loader to use is answer the following questions, then match your requirements to the app that best meets your needs.

  • Does the number of records your organization will handle meet the 50,000 minimum?
  • Will you need an intuitive UI, or will you use the command line interface?
  • Do you need to automate or schedule imports and exports? If so, how often?
  • What Salesforce objects will the data loader need to support?

The Top Data Loader Options for Salesforce

Salesforce Data Import Wizard

This is a built-in data migration tool in Salesforce, and can be used for up to 50,000 records. As a native Salesforce app, users will be familiar with Data Import Wizard’s user interface. The import wizard supports many standard Salesforce objects as well as custom objects. Access the app by going to the setup options.

Salesforce Data Loader

A more robust version of import wizard, Salesforce Data Loader can import, export, edit, and delete 50,000 to 5,000,000 records. Like import wizard, Data Loader imports various data objects, including custom ones. It also comes in handy when importing data objects that aren’t supported by the import wizard and for scheduling regular data loads, such as nightly imports.

Dataloader.io

This is a 100 percent cloud-based option, eliminating the need to download and install a separate client application. Salesfore acquired Dataloader.io from the original developer, MuleSoft, making it an API only that’s a part of the Salesforce environment. Along with features and backend settings similar to Salesforce Data Loader, this supports import/export that run through Box, Dropbox, FTP, and SFTP.

Jitterbit Data Loader

Jitterbit Data Loader is a free app built on Jitterbit’s Harmony Cloud integration platform. It features wizard-driven import/export tools, drag-and-drop mapping and integration, along with other functionality like scheduling, automation, and monitoring tools.

XL Connector

Formerly named Enabler4Excel, XL Connector stands out for its ability to get users started working with Salesforce data in a familiar Excel environment. Available as a free plugin, XL Connector provides tools to pull data from Salesforce, work on it in Excel, and push it back to Salesforce by creating CSV files.

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Side-By-Side Comparison Chart

Salesforce Data Import Wizard

Salesforce Data Loader

Dataloader.io

Jitterbit Data Loader

XL Connector

Record Processing Limit

50,000

5,000,000

10,000/month

no limit

n/a

File Export Limit

no limit

no limit

10,000/month

no limit

n/a

Automated import/export

yes

yes

yes

yes

n/a

Task Scheduling

no

yes

yes

yes

no

Save Functions

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

Soft Delete vs. Hard Delete

When managing bulk data using Salesforce Data Loader, it’s important to understand the difference between a soft delete and a hard delete. With a soft delete, data is flagged as deleted and then stored and still visible in the recycle bin. Once in the recycle bin, users can view and restore recently deleted records for 15 days before permanent deletion.

By contrast, a hard delete bypasses the recycle bin and records immediately become available for deletion. Salesforce Data Loader disables the hard delete function by default and requires a user with administrator permissions to turn it on.

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Want to Learn More About How to Leverage Salesforce in Your Career?

Salesforce data loaders support invaluable marketing, sales, and other business functions for organizations of all sizes. They make managing bulk data easier, faster, and more accurately than other manual options. From its user-friendly interface to drag-and-drop features and other automations, data loaders are a must-have for modern data administrators. Be sure to ask the right questions when evaluating the options to ensure that you select the right solution for your business.  

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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