How does salesforce Data Loader work
Updated on 07th Sep, 21 120 Views

So, let’s get to know what is Salesforce Data Loader

Let’s suppose a stock broking company wants to keep a record of its customers, accounts, etc. In the stock market, terabytes of data and thousands of transactions are done every day. The company wants to analyze these transactions and wants to send them to a particular client, for which the raw data is imported from the user’s end to the Salesforce CRM platform.

The data is in bulk and to perform these import/export operations a Data Loader is used. It performs all the operations from inserting, updating, deleting, upserting, or even exporting Salesforce records. While importing the large chunks of data, it reads, extracts it, and simplifies it into comma-separated files (CSVs).

Check out this Introduction to Salesforce video on Intellipaat’s Youtube channel

When to use Salesforce Data Loader

Now the question arises as to why to use a Salesforce apex data loader when you can use the import wizard itself. But the problem is, import wizard manages simple records of data (up to 50,000 records) whereas a data loader manages complex imports of data (around 5,00,000 records). So, if you need to load 50,000 – 5,00,000 records, use a data loader. 

Also, the data loader enables a property called scheduled loader. It means you can schedule your import operations even when you are asleep. The loading might take time, so this scheduled data load is definitely a boon for any organization. Data loader is also used for backing up the data, thus creating a sense of security.

How to install Data Loader in Salesforce

  • First, you need to install a data loader on the Salesforce dashboard
  • To install it we need to go to setup > Data Management > Data Loader.
  • You will be redirected to a different screen where you can install the Salesforce Data Loader installation file. 
  • Click on download and install it.

How to Open Data Loader in Salesforce

After installing the Data Loader, you will be required to log in with your password and security token.

After logging in, the Data Loader opens and you can see the various operations like Insert, Delete, Update, Upsert, Hard Delete, Export, Export All.

How to use Data Loader

  • Open the Data Loader on your Salesforce Dashboard, enter using your login credentials.
  • After that, there will be a list of Salesforce objects associated with your Salesforce account. You need to select your required CSV file from where the data will be uploaded to Salesforce.
  • A new dialog box appears showing the number of records in the file.
  • Now you need to map the CSV file with the Salesforce fields, this can be done in two ways either by selecting an existing mapping or by creating a new one by choosing to create or edit a map option.
  • Choose the location where you want to store the two separate log files by clicking on the Browse option.
  • Click on Finish to complete the importing process of Data Loader Salesforce.
  • At last, a dialog box appears where you can check up on the progress.
How to import data in Salesforce using Salesforce Data Loader

Data types supported by Data Loader

Data loader supports almost all types of data. Some of them are listed as follows-

Base64 – Base64 is a binary-to-text encoding scheme that represents binary data in ASCII format and translating it into a radix 64 representation. These fields are used to insert or update attachments and Salesforce CRM Content.

Boolean – Boolean values are accepted i.e. yes, no, y, n, true, false ,0 ,1, on, off. All these are case insensitive and can be used in any form.

Date Format – The date format can be changed according to the choice of the user. It can be done from Settings > Date/Time, where you can set your desired format. Date format for Salesforce Data Loader is available in various formats like-

  • DD/MM/YYYY (22/06/2021)
  • MM/DD/YYYY (06/22/2021)
  • YYYY-MM-DD (2021-06-22)

Double – Standard double variable of 64bit can be used.

Integer – Standard integer data type can be used.

ID – Salesforce ID can be used which uniquely defines a particular type of record in Salesforce.

String – Standard string data type can be used.

The Salesforce Data Loader documentation provides all the information about the different data types, APIs, functions, and much more detailed information required to use Data Loader in a seamless manner

You can look upon more about data types and APIs from Salesforce Data Loader documentation.

Functions performed on Data Loader Salesforce

There are various actions performed using Data Loader wizard like

Actions                                   Description
InsertUsed to create a record
UpdateUsed to update or edit any record
UpsertUsed to create or edit a record
DeleteUsed to delete a record
Hard DeleteUsed to permanently delete a record
ExportUsed to export records (excluding recycle bin’s data)
Export AllUsed to export records (including recycle bin’s data)

The Upsert function allows inserting and updating a record simultaneously. If a record in the file matches an existing record, the record is updated automatically with the values in the file. If no particular match is found then a new record is created in place of it. 

The Delete records function allows you to delete the record and moves it into the recycle bin of the system whereas the Hard Delete function allows to delete all the records permanently. 

There is also a feature known as Salesforce Data Loader Lookup Field that allows you to associate two records together.

This work can be easily done by providing a unique external ID to integrate two or more fields.

Also, have a look at our blog on Bucket Field in Salesforce to learn more about bucket fields!

Exporting from Salesforce Data Loader

To export the data from Data Loader we need to follow these steps-

  • Open the Data Loader and click on Export. For exporting the archived activities and deleted records click Export All.
  • Choose password authentication and enter your login credentials.
  • Choose an object, for example choose Account from “Select Salesforce Object” option.
  • If a particular object is not available then expand the menu to see all the objects that can be accessed.
  • Choose a particular target for the extraction with .csv extension and click Browse.
  • Click Save
  • At the end, click Next

After that you need to create a SOQL query for the data export. For example, select ID and Name in the query fields and click on Finish.

  • Choose the particular fields you want to export
  • You can select particular conditions to filter the datasets.
  • Review the generated query and do the needful editing

Select Finish and click Yes to confirm

A progress bar appears to show the status of the operation, a summarized window appears as soon as the operation gets completed.

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  • Salesforce Data loader is a massive revolution in the CRM industry. It makes the tasks of big companies into simpler terms. 
  • Salesforce data loader max batch size is 200 which means 200 records of data can be processed in each batch. This number can be increased to 10,000 when enabling the Bulk API module. Earlier the companies had to install separate CRMs to perform their tasks which are very troublesome and costs millions of dollars. 
  • By using the Data Loader it becomes absolutely easy and most importantly it comes free with all the Salesforce editions. It features drag and drop fields and easy-to-use mapping techniques that can be easily understood by non-technical people. 
  • Also, it allows loading 5,00,000 data records in one go which is quite efficient. Anything beyond 5 million can be handled by a Salesforce executive. 
  • The upsert function in the data loader is also a plus point as it allows to insert and update records at the same time itself.


The Salesforce Data Loader is definitely the best in the market but it does come with some drawbacks too.

  • It needs to be downloaded externally from the Salesforce software and it will definitely take some space in the system. 
  • Also, it can only produce output in .csv formats, so if the third-party software doesn’t support CSV files it can be a problem for the user. 
  • As we have already seen, the migration of the records has multiple steps to cover, taking a lot of time. 
  • There is also a difficulty in creating object relationships automatically.


This article tells you the importance of the Salesforce Data Loader, how it actually works and how to use it. The Salesforce Data Loader is a revolution, many companies adopt it for their bulk uploads of data (up to 5,00,000). Especially during the pandemic of COVID-19, the online users increased drastically, and therefore the requirement for Data Loader also increased. There are various other data loaders externally used in Salesforce but Salesforce Data Loader is one of the widely used and the best in the market till date.

Come to Intellipaat’s Salesforce Community if you have more queries on Salesforce!

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