When working with data in Salesforce, it’s crucial to know when to use the right tools. When it comes to working with data, Salesforce provides two tools: the Data Import Wizard, and Data Loader. Knowing when to use each tool is imperative to working with large batches of data, and is a common question on several certification exams, knowing how widely the tools are used. So when should you use Data Import Wizard vs. Data Loader? First, let’s start with an overview of each tool.

Data Import Wizard

The Data Import Wizard tool is built into Salesforce and allows you to easily import and export data. With Data Import Wizard, you can import up to 50,000 records into Salesforce. The Data Import Wizard supports some standard objects, including contacts, person accounts, leads, and solutions, as well as custom objects. This tool is ideal for end-users in addition to Salesforce admins, as the User Interface is easier to navigate. It’s available through the Setup menu within Salesforce.

Data Loader

The Data Loader tool is an external tool that can not only import and export data but also update and delete data. The Data Loader supports up to 5 million records at a time, and in addition to its interface, the command line can be used to manage data using CSV files. This tool supports all standard objects (barring the User objects) as well as all custom objects. The Data Loader is a more complex tool and is accessed via a desktop application, so it is recommended for more advanced users.

What’s the difference?

There are various situations when it comes to working with data where one tool will work better than another. So which ones should you use? Here are some common scenarios where you may need to consider when to use Data Import Wizard vs. Data Loader.

For Simple or Smaller Uploads, Use the Data Import Wizard.

It’s good practice to use the more simple tool whenever you can, so whenever you have a smaller upload, go with the Data Import Wizard. It supports the upload of up to 50,000 records.

Additionally, the Data Loader requires installation in order to use. This makes the Data Import Wizard a better choice for those new to working with data imports.

For Mass Deleting Records, Use the Data Loader.

The Data Import Wizard cannot support the delete operation, so if you must mass-delete files, you must use the Data Loader tool. The Data Import Wizard only supports importing and exporting data.

To Schedule Export, Use the Data Import Wizard.

If you want to schedule data exports, you’ll need to use the Data Import Wizard tool. The Data Loader does not currently support scheduled data exports. While the Data Loader does support exports, you’ll have to do this manually.

Scheduled Exports can be done weekly or monthly, although weekly automatic exports are only available in Enterprise, Performance, and Unlimited Editions.

To Work With Standard Objects such as Opportunities or Cases, use the Data Loader.

The Data Import Wizard only supports certain standard objects – contacts, person accounts, leads, and solutions. If you’re working with data in standard objects outside of the above, you won’t be able to use the Data Import Wizard – opt for the Data Loader instead. However, keep in mind that the Data Loader also cannot support User objects.

If you Need to Find Duplicate Records in your Data, use the Data Import Wizard.

The Data Import Wizard has a feature where it will catch duplicate records for you. If you may have some duplicates in your data, be sure to use the Data Import Wizard tool so these duplicates don’t dirty your data. The Data Import Wizard comes with a mapping tool in its User Interface that will allow you to easily map data.

Keep in mind, however, that with the Data Import Wizard, you can only use one unique identifier depending on the object that you’re using, and the records must be considered an exact match to be a duplicate. So be sure that you’re using consistent naming conventions for your data regardless.

No Matter the Tool You Use, Be Sure that Your Data is Clean!

Regardless of whether you use the Data Import Wizard or the Data Loader, it’s crucial to ensure that your data is clean before importing. Even though the Data Import Wizard has a dupe checker, it’s not going to check everything if your data isn’t clean. Unfortunately, Salesforce doesn’t have a native tool that will help you go through your data, but there are third-party tools out there (such as in the AppExchange) that will help you maintain cleaner data. Maintaining consistent practices when entering data, as well as checking for pre-existing records before creating new ones, will also help when it’s time to mass import data.

I hope this post helped clear up any differences and when to use Data Import Wizard vs. Data Loader. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out! 

Julie Anna Contino

Julie Anna Contino

Jr. Developer

Julie Anna is a junior developer with a passion for learning and problem-solving. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and has four years of development experience. She's excited to be a part of the Salesforce ecosystem and combine her previous experience with her passion for helping clients thrive.

About Roycon
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