Data Import Checklist for

This is the second in a series of articles on Data Imports. The first article focused on preparing your import file and this one covers what to do before hitting the ‘go’ button, so to speak, on your import. Due to the fact that we all want to avoid a ‘moment of doom’ when you realize that you just royally messed up your database, I have created the following checklist to refer to, prior to importing your freshly formatted file!

1. Check applicable Validation Rules and, if necessary, deactivate them

Validation rules fire every time data is edited in the system, regardless of whether you are updating or inserting new records through the API. So check to make sure that you are either 1) abiding by the rules you put in place for data cleanliness, or 2) deactivate them temporarily for your data import. Don’t forget to reactivate them afterwards!

2. Check applicable Workflow Rules and, if necessary, deactivate them

Check the entry criteria and actions on Workflow Rules applied to the object and related objects, as Workflow Rules can execute actions on a Parent object. For example, a new Case Comment can trigger a field update on a Case and can email out Contacts, Users, and others associated with the Parent Case. You wouldn’t want to send out potentially hundreds or thousands of emails and execute a bunch of field updates because you were updating historical data…

3. Check applicable Apex Triggers and note their consequences

Similar to Workflow Rules, Apex Triggers can also fire. Apex Triggers can update both Parent and Child records so you need to check all relationships!

4. Backup current data

Backup the data of the object in question as well as any other related objects. However, I like to err on the side of caution and backup as much as I can, if not everything.

5. Run a test import

After checking off the above list, you will want to run a test import of 5 files so that you can verify that your field mapping is correct. You might just find that you are still setting off an unexpected Workflow Rule or Trigger, or just confirm that you aren’t running into any Validation Rules.


Preparing a file for import in Excel? Check out our best practices for data imports!