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Import: Matching by External ID, How?

I am trying to import account and contacts from a SQL server database. By default SalesForce wants to use the account name. What's been happening is that when the account name from my SQL database doesn't match exactly with the name in SalesForce, duplicated accounts would be created. Even a tiny discrepancy like 'INC' vs. 'INC.' would create duplicate.


I read from some help articals that I could use an External ID as the matching criteira. But the import wizard's matching type only has Salesforce.com ID' and 'name and Site'. I did create a customized field for Account, and specified that it should be required, unique, and is an External ID. But this option is not there. 


So how do I get to specify I want to import by using the External ID as the matching type?


Thank you!


Which tool are you using data import Dataloader or the Salesforce Import Wizard?


As you have correctly said an external ID is a custom field that has the “External ID” attribute, meaning that it contains unique record identifiers from a system outside of Salesforce.com. When you select this option, the import wizard will detect existing records in Salesforce.com that have the same external ID. Note that this operation is not case-sensitive.


For example, “ABC” will be matched with “abc”.


However, there is an exception: if the custom field has the separate “Unique” attribute and the case-sensitive option for that attribute is selected, uppercase and lowercase letters will not be considered identical.


If necessary, scan and standardize your external ID values before performing the import to prevent unintended matches.

When matching by external ID, if the import wizard finds duplicate records, only the first three duplicate records are reported to you in the confirmation email.


Did this answer your question? If not, let me know what didn't work, or if so, please mark it solved.




The import wizards don't allow matching by external ID other than for custom objects. The Data Loader, however, allows matching by external ID for all objects when performing an upsert. (In case you don't recognise the word, an upsert is a combined UPdate and inSERT.) It does *not* allow for matching by EID on update or insert operations.


Data Loader is only available in Enterprise, Unlimited or Developer Editions.

You can download it from under Setup -> Administration Setup -> Data Management -> Data Loader


Oh, and you will need to append your security token to your password every time you want to login to the Data Loader; that confused the heck out of me at first :)


Does the External ID work on the Import Wizard as well as the Data Loader?  If yes on the Import Wizard, which choice do I choose for the Matching Type on Contacts and Accounts (see below) or does it not matter and makes the External ID the default choice if the External ID exists?

Contact Matching Type
-Salesforce.com ID
- Name (Recommended)
- Email

Account Matching Type
- Salesforce.com ID
- Name and Site (Recommended)


Have you solved the problem?

I am facing the same difficult as I can't use dataloader (professional edition) and my custom external Id is not an option for matching accounts in the import wizard.