Updating a data field to Null value using Apex Data Loader

Let’s say in a situation where a customer would like to remove thousands of contact’s description in Salesforce and to do it manually, it will be time consuming. One of the way to achieve this is to use the Apex Data Loader to update the contacts. Following is a simple example to achieve this:-

First export out all contacts in Salesforce.


Example 1.1: Exported contacts from Salesforce

Next, wipe out all the description value in the exported contact CSV file.



Example 1.2:Wiping out content

Then update the Contact via the Apex Data Loader with the edited CSV file.


As a default setting, data loader does not recognize any null value which means, in the situation above, there will be no changes made in Salesforce if a direct update operation is performed. This is because the data loader will always choose existing data over a null value. Therefore, before the update process takes in, additional changes in the settings is require.


1. Click on the setting button in data loader menu bar.


Fig 1.1: Data loader setting

2. Then in the setting windows, select the  ‘Insert null value’ option.

Fig 1.2: Selecting insert null value

Once the setting is done, the data loader will now recognize null value as a data entry.