If you are a Salesforce Administrator in a large company, you inevitably get to do a lot of data loading. But existing tools like dataloader.io or Data Import Wizard have their quirks, which can result in data corruption if you’re not careful. In this article, I will share some experiences on common pitfalls during data loading, and how to solve them.
Disclaimer: I am the founder of an alternative called SmartUpload, that can help you overcome these pitfalls. In this article, I will point to solutions within SmartUpload that are built to overcome these common data loading issues. And there is also a free version of SmartUpload.
In this article, I will discuss pitfalls that can occur when using free tools commonly used for data loading into Salesforce:
- Dataloader (sometimes called the Apex Dataloader), a command-line utility, can import millions of rows.
- Dataloader.io (free up to 10.000 records per month, with quite steep licensing if you require more records)
- Data Import Wizard (limited to 50.000 rows per import)
These three tools all are free to use (to some extent) and have their own pros and cons, but since they all work in a similar fashion they are all prone to the same issues. So let’s dive in …
Pitfall 1: Excel to CSV conversions
All existing Salesforce dataloading tools work based on CSV files. These are plain text files, where data is stored on lines separated by commas. But the CSV only contains values, it doesn’t have metadata about the values.
Why is this important? Let’s illustrate with an example. Consider the following Excel sheet: