If you’ve ever been in a conversation with me about my favorite apps or my Go To tools, you’ve heard me mention Apsona for Salesforce. I consider it so important that I require my clients to install it and maintain licenses as part of my contracts. I don’t want to waste their time (or mine) futzing around with other options for data import, export, and update.
And despite a name that literally means “the golden app,” Apsona is not expensive at all.
Let’s take a look at this little gem.
The Apsona Tab
When you click on the Apsona tab you get a “Salesforce inside Salesforce” interface where you’re going to interact with your records like a series of spreadsheets or list views.
Apsona certainly has the ability to act on single records—including within the Apsona interface—but other than editing single records in a list view once in a while, that’s not what this is for. Apsona is your one stop shop for mass data operations.
My Favorite Feature
If I had to mention just a single feature of Apsona that puts it hand and shoulders above the Dataloader (or Dataloader.io), it would be this: You can copy/paste the data you want to import rather than needing a CSV.
That alone saves me hours in a year.
Think about it for a second. Excel always seems so surprised! when you select to save something as a CSV. You get a dialog box forcing you to confirm that’s really what you want to do every single time. (In fairness, it probably wouldn’t be. But Dataloader can’t handle anything else.)
Apsona goes the extra mile to accommodate you. You don’t even have to save your sheet. You can copy several columns or the whole sheet, and then paste into a box in Apsona to do your import. (Works from Google sheets too, of course.)
Fast Bulk Updates
The other thing I use Apsona for all the time is its incredibly efficient interface for bulk updating records. Filter a list of records and it takes just three clicks to mass update a field (or fields) on those records. Super handy if you’ve just added a new field, updated a picklist value, or have to clean up a bunch of records.
For example, what if you have 20,000+ contacts that have a value in Work Email but nothing in Preferred Email and you want to start encouraging users to utilize NPSP’s three email fields the way they were meant to be used. Simply make a filter for Preferred Email = null, they click Update All, select Preferred Email, and select Work. Apsona will churn through the records in a couple of minutes and you’re done.
You can bulk delete records just as quickly. All I can say to that is, “With great power comes great responsibility.” 🕸️
Super Fast Export
Probably next on my list is the ability to export records with just a couple of clicks. Not that I want you working outside of Salesforce that often, but we all know sometimes it’s necessary. Great for backups, too.
If you’ve made yourself a tabular view, Apsona is smart enough to suggest the columns in your view for export. And then you can add additional columns just by checking a box. Columns on related records are also available. Click Export and you have a downloaded CSV in seconds.
Apsona gives you a quick and easy way to make new list views and filter them and then it shows you the full record count. Since standard Salesforce list views don’t give you the total count and SOQL requires you to remember all the API names of fields, this makes Apsona almost always the fastest place to answer questions like “How many contacts don’t have a value in Ethnicity?” or “How many opportunities have a close date in the last fiscal year?”
Working with Apsona you’re also not tied to page layouts the way you are in the regular Salesforce UI, which can be handy at times. Similarly to working in reports and list views, Apsona gives you the option of seeing fields that aren’t on the page layout or narrowing down just a couple of fields that you want to see at a time.
Apsona respects user permissions so nobody is getting edit or delete access through Apsona that they wouldn’t have otherwise. And you can even set different configurations within Apsona by profile, so that some people might only be able to bulk edit certain objects or fields, depending on how you are doing things in your org.
By the way: When you’re doing those mass operations Apsona defaults to batch sizes of 200 records at a time. But it’s very simple to lower your batch size if you’re running into problems. Sometimes I even set it down to five or even one at a time if an import failing due to timeouts (often caused by the NPSP triggers).
Yes, the look is circa 2008
You’ve probably noticed from the screenshots that Apsona’s look and feel is a little…dated. What can I say? It’s functional and data-dense (translation: “That font is very small.”) but maybe not as lovely as it could be. I believe they’re working on an update. When that comes, I’m sure I’ll have gripes about not being able to find things anymore…
I don’t feel bad requiring my clients to purchase Apsona because it’s a great bargain. For nonprofits it’s just $435 for three users, $145 each additional user. If you’re a tiny nonprofit (annual gross revenue not exceeding $250,000), Apsona donates three licenses for free. That’s part of the company’s commitment to nonprofits and the Salesforce community that I particularly appreciate.
Most orgs will only give Apsona licenses to admins and power users, so you are probably looking at less than $1,000/year. The time saved pays for itself!
The last thing I’m going to say is that Apsona is just made up of nice people. Their commitment to nonprofits is genuine, all are helpful and quick to respond, and they’re just lovely to hang out with.
What more could you want?