Importing contacts into Salesforce is a very important task and is highly required to automate the process so that a large number of records can be automatically transferred to Salesforce. The task of transferring the data through the manual process is very slow and it needs a lot of time and labor which becomes non feasible practically when the contact data is high in numbers.
In the beginning there were only two ways for importing contacts into Salesforce and they were through data import wizard and data loader. Now there are numerous ways for importing contacts into Salesforce and every solution has advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on your needs and comfort that which solution is the best for you. Here is an updated list of solutions to choose from.

Salesforce data import wizard
This is an effective tool for importing contacts into Salesforce.
Advantages:

  • It is free
  • It is a simple tool and friendly for the Salesforce people or new users
  • It helps a lot in de-duplication of data and prevents the duplicate data from being entered into Salesforce.
  • Present in all the additions of Salesforce

Disadvantages:

  • Your mapped settings is not remembered and you get to run through the wizard again to do that.
  • CSV files with less than 50,000 records only can be imported through this tool

Data loader from Apex for importing contacts into Salesforce
Advantages

  • Apex loader is free
  • It is great to import contacts into Salesforce with up to 5 million records.
  • Good for the importing of data into objects where there is no wizard
  • Your mappings are saved
  • It includes the abilities of scheduling and exporting also.

Disadvantages

  • Apex data loader only works in Enterprise edition and above
  • It does not work in Group edition or Professional. To avail the facility you need to buy an API.
  • Works only in Windows machine and you need download of the application separately

Excel connector from Force.com
Advantages

  • Excel connecter is free
  • Those who love excel will find this application great
  • It is great for loading small batches and the bi-directional movement of records
  • Works on professional edition and the editions above it

Disadvantages

  • The application is not officially supported and is an open source tool
  • The new versions of Excel and Windows can cause problems in it.
  • Separate download system and there is an add-in for excel in each edition.

Demand tools
Advantages

  • A great tool for data loading and also consists of tools for data quality
  • Works on the Professional edition and the editions above it

Disadvantages

  • This application is not free but it gives ROI if a data quality toolset is desired
  • Its Windows only app

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