Tools for a successful Salesforce Data Migration

data migration tips & tricks

Everyone loves data!  In my last post I shared with you was some thoughts on how to make sure a data migration goes smoothly.  There is a treasure trove of tools out there that can help you with any Salesforce Data Migration (more than I can put in this single post!).

In this post, I am going to share some of the most popular tools to help you out with any Salesforce Data Migration, and best of all they are all free!


Tools to help you create & edit records in bulk

Salesforce has a good data import wizard which can guide you through basic record inserts, like when you need to create a bunch of new accounts/contacts.  But what happens when you need more power?

First thing is first, the tools below will respect any object/admin permissions you have within Salesforce org.  Meaning if you don’t have access to create records on a certain object, you won’t be able to create records via one of these tools.

Apex Datalodaer: vital tool to help in a Salesforce Data Migration

1) Dataloader

This is a tool developed by Salesforce themselves.  Once installed on your PC, you have a powerful tool to help you to migrate or update data in Salesforce.  The interface itself is a bit basic, but it is relatively straightforward to use and allows you to either Insert, Update, Upsert, Delete and Export records from any object in Salesforce that is available via the API.

Most of the features of Dataloader are available through a simple user interface, but if you want to unleash even more power there is also an advanced option allowing you to use a command line interface.

It is worth mentioning that Apex Dataloader only supports .CSV files.  So if you have Excel/Google Docs, make sure you save the file as a .CSV file before starting your Salesforce data migration!

Final thing to point out, this tool uses SOAP API, which means you need to be on Enterprise, Unlimited or Performance Editions of Salesforce.

To get it, once logged into Salesforce, go to Setup -> Data Management -> Data Loader.   Once there you have options to download the installation file for Windows or Mac.

To read more about Dataloader, click here.


Jitterbit Data Loader: free tool to help you with Salesforce Data Migration
Jitterbit Data Loader: allows more than just CSV files to be used

2) Jitterbit Data Loader

This is a tool is similar to Apex Dataloader in most regards.  The basics are relatively similar – you can still Insert, Update, Upsert, Delete records though has a few extra tricks up its sleeve!

First up Jitterbit’s tool supports more versions of Salesforce, with Group Edition the minimum requirement!  Meaning many more people can use this tool versus Apex Dataloader.

Secondly, this tool supports more than just CSV files, it works with any flat file or even a database connection for the more advanced users out there.

You can also perform basic transformations with your data on the fly, and link your configuration settings to the Jitterbit Cloud.

It also has a relatively simple point and click interface with a helpful wizard to guide you through the steps.  Where to get it?  Head on over to Jitterbit’s website to register, download and install.

3) Field Trip

Field Trip - field completion report
A report based off Field Trip

In my last post, I made reference to making sure you understand the data you are migrating.  Question, analyse, question and repeat!

Field Trip is a free tool available on the AppExchange, which helps you understand the data completion rates already in Salesforce.

Why is this helpful? You can view which fields actually contain data, represented as a percentage across the entire data set within an object.  This is very handy if you are looking at removing technical debt within your org, or trying to understand what fields are most used.

Imagine you are reporting on the Account table.  A field that has 100% completion rate means every single record has a value in that field.  This enables you to then analyse the fields that are most used and ignore the fields which aren’t.


Go forth and migrate!

We are only just skimming the surface here, and there are plenty of other tools you can use for a Salesforce data migration.  As an example, Salesforce also have Workbench which is an web-based version of Dataloader, with a few differences.

Everyone has their own favourites, so please feel free to share yours in the comments below!

In my next few posts, we will cover some popular tips to use when migrating data.


Adam Gill

Hi, Adam here! I am a Trailhead Ranger and also 6x certified. I have been working with Salesforce since 2007, across a wide variety of CRM projects and orgs (both greenfield and legacy). I love travelling and fun fact, I had my scuba diving license before my driving license!

  • Has anyone got recommendations for a good tool for data migration which looks out for matching Contacts and/or Accounts already on Salesforce and updates record rather than creating a new Record? Need to dedupe on specific custom fields.

    • Hi Clare, depending on the volume you have. The Data Import wizard in Salesforce does have some ability to dedupe.

      But in tools like Dataloader, have you used Upsert before? That also allows you to match on an ID/field. My next post is actually going to be about using that feature. To do that, personally I would create a custom field, setting it as an External ID & unique, and then use that in Dataloader (or other tool) to update vs insert.

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