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Data Utilities

Posted December 10th, 2008 in Certified Administrator by John Coppedge

Describe the function of an External ID

  • Each object can have a maximum of 3 external ID fields.
  • The external ID can be a number, text, or email field.
  • An external ID can be used to prevent duplicate entries when importing data.
  • An external ID makes it much easier to update data in Salesforce from an external system.
  • Additionally external fields are searched from the side bar.  Here is a good link in the boards for more info.
  • See also “Custom Field Attributes”.


List and describe the different tools and use cases for data migration

See “Accessing the Import Wizards” & “Importing Overview”.

Personal Edition can import contacts and accounts.  Pro+ can import custom objects, leads, solutions, etc.


There are several different tools for data migration:

  1. Data import wizards- a) user can import their own contacts and accounts, b) system administrator can use wizards to import data for entire company
  2. Data loader – wide variety of uses, requires use of salesforce id for each record
  3. Outlook/Lotus Notes sync – users can manually associate their contacts to an existing org
  4. Microsoft Office connector – excel can be used to upload data.  Should not be referenced on the test, but something you should know exists.

data import


  1. Import My Accounts & Contacts is limited to records that you own, and is limited to a maximum of 500 records.  This wizard is designed specifically for users to upload their own records.  Can accept records exported from Outlook, Act, or any other CSV file.
  2. The various import wizards under administrative setup require administrative privileges and can import up to 50,000 records.  These wizards can be used to update data without the record ID.  Matching type depends on the object- for instance, contact can be matched via email address for full name.
  3. The data load is the least user-friendly of the group.  It requires the salesforce record ID for each transaction (excluding additions).

Update existing data via import

Perform an import using the data import wizard.  When prompted put check the box to overwrite account info.  This will actually overwrite contact and account information.  The contact is matched based upon the initial criteria specified (full name, sf id, or email).

import- overwrite account

This is how contacts and accounts manage updates using data import.  The other objects prompt at the beginning of the wizard to insert or update:



Define when to use the Data Loader

See “When to use the Data Loader”.  The key limitations of web-based importing are a) max of 50k records, b) not all objects are supported, and c) no scheduling.  Mass deletion of custom objects for instance is not supported.  Mass transfer applies to accounts, leads, and custom objects.


List the functions of the Data Loader

  • Insert
  • Update
  • Upsert (update, if the record does not exist, then insert)
  • Delete
  • Export


Mass Update Records

Many mass updates can be performed through the web interface- transfer accounts, delete records (standard objects), reassign teams, and update addresses for instance.  Data import wizards also have an option to update existing information as discussed above.  Those options not available on through web tools must be performed through the data loader.  This requires matching the Salesforce ID of the record and appending the data to be updated to a CSV and then running the update.


Mass Delete Records

Most record types can be mass deleted through the web interface.  Custom objects cannot be mass deleted through the web interface; the data loader must be used.  To do so, run a report with the record ID listed.  Export that to CSV and load that into the data loader to perform the deletion.


Describe the capabilities of the Recycle Bin

The recycle bin holds records for 30 days before they are automatically deleted permanently.  You can undelete a record and all of the associated records will accompany (if you undelete a contact, all of the activities will get undeleted as well.  Recycle bin storage (in records) = Storage size in MB x 250.  (e.g. 1gig storage = 250,000 records max recycle bin).


Request and download a weekly export

Enterprise and Unlimited only.  Cost @ Professional.

Setup –> Data Management –> Data Export.  Schedule.  Every week you will get a zip file containing your entire company’s Salesforce data.


Explain how Salesforce allocates storage

Storage is split into two sections:

Data Storage: the data stored in each record- activities, accounts, contacts etc.

File Storage:  file attachments, documents