Using Salesforce Data Loader Export: Comprehensive Guide

Muhammad Faraz • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Salesforce Data Loader Export


Are you looking for a way to export data from your Salesforce account? We have you covered. This article will take you through each step involved in using Salesforce Data Loader to export your data easily.

You will be looking at the following aspects:

What is Salesforce?

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Salesforce is a Cloud-based Client Relationship Management (CRM) platform with straightforward business tools that may assist you in creating a terrific customer experience. Salesforce is a software platform that enables you to communicate with Customers, Prospects, Partners, Sales, and Marketing services all over the world. Salesforce Cloud CRM software and solutions are used in Sales, Services, Finance, Marketing, Company Development, Supply Chain Management, and other business sectors that involve managing external and internal interactions.

It allows users to keep track of present and potential customers on a single platform. Furthermore, by leveraging the useful data available, the user can track Sales and Marketing Campaigns. It’s a one-stop-shop for companies wishing to manage customer data across several platforms such as email, chat, and social media.

What is Salesforce Data Loader?

Salesforce Data Loader Export is a very handy tool that is used by everyone that is dealing with Salesforce including an admin, developer, consultant or a data analyst. Data Loader is known to be a  client application for the bulk import or export of data. We can use it to perform basic data operations including:

  • insert (used to put new data into Salesforce)
  • update (used to update the existing data)
  • delete (used to delete the extra data or data no longer needed)
  • export Salesforce records (used to export data in CSV file format) 

While importing data, Data Loader needs files (containing records in the range of 50k to 5 million) in CSV format or a working database connection. For records up to 50k, you can use a Data Import Wizard

For exporting data, Data Loader simply outputs (can be in bulk as well) the data files in CSV format. Unlike other features of Salesforce, users can install the Data Loader in a Mac or Windows environment, using either the graphical interface or command line.  

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Data Types Supported by Data Loader

Base64: Converts a file to a base64–encoded array from a string path. Attachments and Salesforce CRM Content are only inserted or updated using Base64 fields.


  • True values (case insensitive) = yesytrueon1
  • False values (case insensitive) = nonfalseoff0

Salesforce ID: A Salesforce ID is a 15-character or 18-character alphanumeric string that uniquely identifies a record in Salesforce.

Date Formats: Dates should be entered in the format yyyy-MM-dd. THH:mm:ss.SSS+/-HH mm:

  • the four-digit year is yyyy.
  • MM stands for the month with two digits (01-12)
  • The two-digit day is denoted by the letter dd (01-31)
  • The two-digit hour is abbreviated as HH (00-23)
  • The two-digit minute is denoted by the symbol mm (00-59)
  • The two-digit seconds are denoted by ss (00-59)
  • The three-digit milliseconds are referred to as SSS (000-999)
  • +/-HH: The Zulu (UTC) time zone offset is mm.

String: Invalid XML characters are eliminated from all legitimate XML strings.

Double: Double String

Integer: Integer String

What Salesforce Data Loader is Used for?

Well, imagine, you want to upload a huge amount of data to your Salesforce environment, upto five million records or more than that (you might need the help of a Salesforce representative in that case). Usually, a normal amount of records i.e. a few hundred thousand can be uploaded using the insert function or import CSV. However, for records of about more than five million, you will need to work with a Salesforce partner or you could also visit AppExchange to choose a suitable product partner. 

Apart from basic applications, Salesforce Data Loader also provides the following exciting features:

Intelligent Data Mapping

It lets you use shortcuts and other filters for faster searches and efficient work. The Data Loader will populate the list at the bottom of the window based on the similarity of column and field names. You can use manual field-matching as well.    

Scheduled Tasks

One of the key options that Salesforce provides is the import/export feature. Data Loader usually uses a user interface for this manual work but there are instances when you need these tasks to be automated, for example, you want something to be imported/exported at 1:00 am every day. These scenarios can be implemented using Data Loader CLI (Command Load Interface) and Windows task scheduler. It is a very useful feature that Data Loader provides. We will discuss it in further detail later in this article.

Detailed Success and Error Logs

Data Loader has all the logs covered. The log file named sdl.log contains a detailed chronological list of the log entries. Following log entries are usually required:

INFO: These logs are required for procedural items such as login, logout, update, delete etc.  

ERROR: These logs are required to check any type of errors popping up e.g. missing values etc. 

The log file sdl.log can be viewed by entering %TEMP%sdl.log in either the Run dialog box or Windows explorer address bar. In case of Mac, you need to view log file using the terminal, enter and open $TMPDIR/sdl.log.

Import and Export Directly from Multiple Repositories

Using Salesforce Data Loader, all team members can export and import data from SFTP, Dropbox, FTP etc. 

Support for Windows and Mac

This feature is helpful especially when companies switch from Windows to Mac. The compatibility of Data Loader with both makes it easy for companies to make a switch and they don’t have to worry about Data Loader support. 

Let’s move into some further details. 

How to Insert, Update, or Delete Data Using Data Loader?

You can use Data Loader’s insert, update, upsert, delete, and hard delete wizards to add new records, edit existing records, and destroy existing records. It’s worth noting that “upsert” is a term that refers to both inserting and updating. If a record in your file corresponds to an existing record, the existing record is changed to include the data from your file. If there is no match, the record is produced from scratch. When you hard remove records, they are not saved in the Recycle Bin and are available for deletion right away. See Configure Data Loader for further details.

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How to Export Data Using Data Loader?

It is a simple process to export data using Salesforce Data Loader. Following steps are required to achieve this functionality:

  1. For Windows users, search Windows and open Data Loader. For Mac users, search Applications and open Data Loader. 
  1. Click Export. For archived activity and deleted records, you should click Export All. 
  1. Select Password Authentication. 
  1. Enter your username and password by using for the Salesforce login. 
  1. Once verified, click Next. 
  1. Choose an object, for example, from the “Select Salesforce Object” list, select Account (Account).

Note: If the object is not listed, select show all objects to see all the objects that can be accessed. For object description, see the SOAP API Developer Guide.  

  1. Choose a target for the extraction text box, e.g. Accounts Export.csv and click Browse.
  1. Navigate to the desktop, click Save and then click Next
  1. The next step is to create a required SOQL by using the query input fields. For example, select Id and Name in the query fields and click Finish. We have discussed SOQL in detail in our previous article and how one can write different queries in SOQL. After you click Finish, the operations window appears, mentioning the number of completed extractions.
  1. Next, export the extracted records into the CSV file. To view it in excel, click on View Extraction. In CSV viewer, click open on the external program ( this is for Windows users). The file should open automatically in excel. 

Note: Data Loader does not support exporting attachments. As an alternate method, a weekly export feature in an online application can be used to do the same. Also, if you select compound fields for export in the Data Loader, it will result in error messages. To export values, use individual field components. 

Scheduling Exports Using Data Loader

Let’s briefly discuss the scheduling functionality of Data Loader. For automated batch operations, such as scheduled loads or extractions, we need to run Data Loader from the Windows command-line. Please note that the Data Loader command-line interface is supported for Windows only. 

You need to include an encrypted password in the configuration file to run a batch operation. 

From the command line, navigate to the bin directory and open the process.bat file. Following parameters are needed to pass to the file. 

  • file contained in the directory.
  • process-conf.xml file containing the name of the batch process. process-conf.xml file is used to configure batch processing. 

We need to set the name of the process in the bean element’s id attribute: (e.g. <bean id=”myProcessName”>).

Parameters can be changed at run time by giving param=value as program arguments. 

E.g. Adding process.operation=insert to the command will change the configuration during run time.

The process.bat file supports running JAR with up to two parameters. The format for two parameters is:

java -cp ..dataloader-xx.0.0-uber.jar -Dsalesforce.config.dir=<configdir>
com.salesforce.dataloader.process.ProcessRunner <operation> 

The purpose of this part is to just give you an introductory overview of the scheduling process. The process of automation does not end here. This is just an initial setup. For more details, you can visit this page.

When we talk about the limitations of Data Loader, one that really stands out is the limitation to be able to upload only 5000 to 5,000,000 records. One can perform insert/update/delete operations, essentially on an unlimited number of rows, although limited by the lowest of the following conditions: the number of API calls per day, storage limitations and local storage device’s available capacity.

Data Import Limits

Data Loader has several limitations when it comes to importing data. Data loaded with Data Loader is subject to the following restrictions.

Dates must fall inside a particular range to be valid. 1700-01-01T00:00:00Z GMT, or right after midnight on January 1, 1700, is the earliest valid date. 4000-12-31T00:00:00Z GMT, or right after midnight on December 31, 4000, is the most recent valid date. Your time zone has shifted these values. The oldest valid date in the Pacific time zone, for example, is 1699-12-31T16:00:00, or 4:00 PM on December 31, 1699.

The maximum field size for imported CSV files using Data Loader version 28.0 and later is 32,000 characters.


The purpose of this blog post was to give you an idea about Data Loader’s basic functionalities, how some tasks can be scheduled or automated and also what are some of its limitations. Some technical aspects were discussed to describe the possibilities of functions that can be performed using this amazing tool. 

You can also use Hevo to manage and move your data conveniently from Salesforce to any destination of your choice for free.

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