XL Loader has served its purpose in the past for uploading tabular data to the Salesforce platform, but two major changes have recently deprecated the data uploading tool. 

First, the need for a replacement was inevitable after Salesforce announced the company would require customers to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to use Salesforce products and partner applications. (You can read more about this requirement here if you missed our blog post about it!) Second, Salesforce also recently made an API change, making XL Loader obsolete. 

Effective May 1, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to use XL Loader to upload tabular data to the Salesforce platform.

However, FinancialForce introduced a replacement for XL Loader in October 2021, called Datastream, a tool for uploading tabular data with multiple headers and lines to the Salesforce platform.

Here’s why that’s a good thing, even if it requires some effort on your part to learn how to use a new tool. XL Loader wasn’t without its limitations since the plug-in was created for Microsoft Excel.

Datastream is a Lightning app embedded on FinancialForce, making it quick and easy to upload and create Financial Management records like journals, sales invoices, payable invoices, credit notes, and cash entries. Because Datastream is internal to FinancialForce Accounting, its functionality and security settings no longer rely on systems outside the Salesforce ecosystem, making it better, faster, and more secure for you when uploading spreadsheets!

Datastream is free for FinancialForce customers, and we love how easy it makes uploading spreadsheets. Even though it’s internal to the FinancialForce Accounting solution, Datastream will support any object on the Salesforce platform—even accounts and contacts! If you haven’t tried it, today we’re sharing 3 key upgrades from XL Loader you’ll experience when you install Datastream.

1. Datastream easily adapts to different operating systems and spreadsheets.

For a long time, FinancialForce users relied on XL Loader to upload data from a spreadsheet onto the Salesforce platform. Because XL Loader was a plugin for Excel, users like you were limited to Microsoft Excel if you wanted to transfer tabular data to the Salesforce platform.

Not anymore! Datastream is much more versatile. FinancialForce wanted to create an app that wasn’t dependent on a single source—Microsoft in this case—for data transfer. With Datastream, you can upload your data from any spreadsheet file, such as Microsoft Excel, Numbers, and Google Sheets.

Because Datastream lives within FinancialForce, the app is user-friendly for both Mac and Windows. XL Loader required an up-to-date version of Windows and Microsoft Office or a virtual workspace like Amazon Workspace or Parallels. You won’t have to worry about these requirements anymore with Datastream!

2. Datastream allows you to copy and paste multiple headers and lines at once.

You can say goodbye to slow uploading times for tabular documents that must be converted to CSV files first. With Datastream, you’re able to just copy and paste your data in the Lighting tab from any spreadsheet file. Because of this, the app can handle uploads with a higher volume of data at faster speeds than XL Loader.

You can also upload multiple headers and line items at one time, and Datastream will map the line items to their respective headers. Unlike XL Loader, you don’t need a separate mapping tool to link a column to its field in Salesforce—Datastream is “smart” enough to map them on its own! How? The column headers just need to be correct.

FinancialForce also has pre-designed templates available in the Community that you can modify to meet your individual business needs. Then you can easily make changes to your template without the hassle of manually mapping the fields again before you upload them.

Datastream uses the API name for the objects you’re uploading so make sure your source record includes them. You can find a list of these API names for FinancialForce Accounting on the templates available to you by logging into the FinancialForce Community and visiting the group called “FinancialForce Labs Datastream.” You can also find the API name by going to the object in Salesforce (Setup > Object Manager > Select Object > Details > API Name).

3. Datastream quickly catches errors before you upload tabular data.

A final step up from XL Loader is Datastream’s ability to catch errors before you begin uploading your spreadsheet to the Salesforce platform. If you used XL Loader, you’re familiar with the process of uploading a file, only to have the upload fail due to an error.

XL Loader also returned only the first error in a line, even if the line had multiple errors. Many times the returned error had a generic message like “Document has errors,” making it difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem.

When you copy and paste templated data into Datastream, the app returns any errors at that time—before you begin your upload! This makes it easier to correct any errors upfront and upload higher volumes of data at once.

After you’ve copied and pasted a table, a red box will appear if your table contains an error, and it will provide details for the error returned. You’ll just amend the data in the source table based on Datastream’s feedback, click the “Clear” button in Datastream to reset the workspace, and paste your revised data.

Once you’ve uploaded your data successfully, Datastream will provide a summary panel with the overall status of the upload. It will also give you detailed panels underneath with the individual objects you added or updated in the Salesforce platform.

Make sure you’re prepared for making the switch from XL Loader to Datastream by May 1. We appreciate the effort FinancialForce put into creating a replacement for XL Loader that is faster, more versatile, and more secure. Schedule a call today if you need help preparing for this change to take effect! Our mentors are always ready to walk alongside business leaders like you to help you get the most out of Salesforce, FinancialForce, and their supporting applications.