Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide


Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial

Salesforce is a popular CRM tool that maintains and manages customer relations and interactions. By analyzing the customer’s data, you can understand the customer’s behaviour, derive crucial insights and make strategic decisions. Salesforce is available as Platform-as-a-Service over the cloud and is popularly known for its CRM applications for sales, marketing, service, community, analytics etc. Salesforce provides various facilities such as the Salesforce Data Loader, allowing users to manage their data import and export with ease.

This article aims at providing you with a comprehensive Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial. Upon a complete walk-through of the content, you will be able to install Salesforce Data Loader on your Windows system, use it to insert data from CSV files to Salesforce and check the Salesforce object creation with ease.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Salesforce Data Loader

Salesforce Data Loader.

Data Loader is a client application provided by Salesforce to perform bulk (more than 50000, up to 5 million) data import or export operations. Data Loader can be used to insert, update, delete, or export Salesforce records. Generally, Salesforce Data Loader uses CSV file to import and export the records; however, if you’re using any other delimited file, you can change the delimiter from the settings page.

You can use the Salesforce Data Loader using either of the following methods:

  • User Interface: Data Loader has a user-friendly UI that allows you to configure configuration parameters for CSV files that are being used for importing/exporting data, mapping fields, etc.
  • Command-Line (Windows only): This feature is mostly used for automated processing. You have to specify the configuration, data sources, mappings, and actions in files.

For further information on variants of Salesforce Data Loader, you can check the official documentation here.

Key Features of Salesforce Data Loader

  • Interactive UI: Salesforce Data Loader provides an easy-to-use interface for interactive use, that allows you to use drag-and-drop field mapping and map the fields from the input file to Salesforce.
  • Scalable: Salesforce Data Loader can support loading of large files with up to 5 million records seamlessly to Salesforce.
  • Platform Support: Salesforce Data Loader provides excellent cross-platform support and works well with Windows and Mac. It further supports a variety of data objects, including the custom objects.
  • Log Files: Salesforce Data Loader provides detailed log files (success and error) in CSV format for easy analysis.
  • CSV Viewer: Salesforce Data Loader has a built-in CSV file viewer that allows you to view the files even before configuring it for the data loading process.

Common uses of Salesforce Data Loader

  • Salesforce Data Loader supports loading up to 5 million records, and you can use it when you need to load more than 50000 records. 
  • Salesforce Data Loader comes in handy when your data objects are not supported by the import wizard. You can use Salesforce Data Loader to import various data objects, including custom ones to Salesforce.
  • With Salesforce Data Loader, you can schedule data loads at regular intervals, that take place automatically, such as night uploads.
  • With Salesforce Data Loader, you can also export the data from Salesforce for backup purposes.

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Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial

The Salesforce Data Loader is an impressive tool that lets you load data from various sources such as CSV file into Salesforce with ease. You can not only insert millions of records but also modify them. The following Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial will not only help you install the wizard but also insert data into Salesforce:

Installing Salesforce Data Loader in Windows

To install the Salesforce Data Loader on your Windows system, you will need to download the Zulu OpenJDK v11 for Windows. You can either go to their official site and search for the JDK or click the here to download the Zulu OpenJDK.

Downloading Data Loader.

Open the .msi file and download the Salesforce Data Loader installation file. Once you’ve downloaded it, extract the zip file on your system and click on the install.bat file to start the installation process.

Installation Wizard.

Provide the desired path for the installation. In case you already have a version installed, you can choose to overwrite it. Once the installation is complete, create an icon for the Salesforce Data Storage on your desktop and double-click it to launch it.

This is how you can install the Salesforce Data Loader for Windows. You can now proceed with the Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial.

Using Salesforce Data Loader to insert data from a CSV File

Salesforce Data Loader allows you to manage your data with ease. You can use the Salesforce Data Loader to insert records in Salesforce and even modify and delete existing records. The Salesforce wizard intelligently updates the data automatically, without any input from the user. Before inserting any new file, Salesforce Data Loader maps data with the existing records and performs an insert operation only if the record doesn’t exist.

You can use the following steps to insert data into Salesforce using the Salesforce Data Loader:

Step 1: Configuring the Salesforce Data Loader

Launch Salesforce Data Loader on your system. A new window will now open up, where you can choose from a variety of operations such as insert, update, upsert, etc.

Data Loader Menu.

Click on the desired option to start the process. You will now need to authenticate the operation. To do this, login to your Salesforce account with your credentials such as username and password. Once you’ve successfully logged in, you will now see a list of Salesforce objects associated with your account.

Salesforce Object List.

This completes the first step of this Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial, on how to load data from a CSV file.

Step 2: Selecting the CSV File

Once you’ve configured the Salesforce Data Loader, you now need to select the desired CSV file from where you want to upload the data into Salesforce. To do this, click on the browse option and select the file from the folder you’ve saved it in your system.

Click on the next option to initialise the Salesforce objects and the CSV file. A new dialogue box will now open up, representing the number of records your operation will have.

Initializing data.

This completes the second step of this Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial, on how to load data from a CSV file.

Step 3: Loading data into Salesforce

Once you’ve selected the desired CSV file, you need to ensure that your file contains an Id column that matches your existing Salesforce records. The Id can be an external Id or same as the Salesforce Id.

Map the CSV file columns with your Salesforce fields. To do this, you can either select an existing mapping or create a new one, by clicking on the create or edit a map option.

Mapping Data from CSV files to Salesforce.

The Salesforce Data Loader creates two separate log files for every operation, one for storing success messages about the process and, the other one for storing the errors, that might have come during the execution process.

You can specify the desired location for storing these files by clicking on the browse option as follows:

Choosing Directory.

Once you’ve chosen the directory, click on the finish option to complete the data import process. A new dialogue box will now open up, where you can monitor the progress.

Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial.

This completes your Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial on how to load data from a CSV file to Salesforce.

Confirming Object Creation in Salesforce

After successfully loading your data into Salesforce, you can now login to your Salesforce account to check the new Salesforce object.

Salesforce objects.

Click on the newly created object to see the data stored and the fields of your Salesforce object. You can now select any one of them and perform various operations such as edit, delete, etc. on your data.

Modifying Salesforce objects.


This article provides you with a comprehensive Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial to help you load your data to Salesforce with ease. It also provides in-depth knowledge about the concepts behind every step to help you understand and implement them efficiently. These methods, however, can be challenging especially for a beginner & this is where Hevo Activate saves the day.

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Tell us about your experience of following our Salesforce Data Loader Tutorial. Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Vishal Agrawal
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Vishal has a passion towards the data realm and applies analytical thinking and a problem-solving approach to untangle the intricacies of data integration and analysis. He delivers in-depth researched content ideal for solving problems pertaining to modern data stack.

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