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SOQL from the Command Line

SOQL and the Command Line go together better than peanut butter and jelly. Here's why.
Once upon a time, I got tired of running Salesforce Reports to get miscellaneous data. I found Workbench and started using their interface to run SOQL queries. This was great for a while, but I knew there was a better way.

Pro-tip with Workbench: If you set a browser bookmark after your query runs, you can return to that bookmark and it will re-run your query!

Enter the SFDX Command Line Interface (CLI). Get ready to take your productivity into hyperdrive! 🚀🚀🚀

sfdx force:data:soql:query

If there's one command you learn, this is the one. All you have to do is pass a query string into the -q parameter and you're in business. Check it out:

-r | --resultformat

This is my 2nd favorite thing. How often do you need to export a csv from Salesforce? And how annoying is it to make throwaway Salesforce reports each time? Yeah, it's the worst.

-r to the rescue! Just add "-r csv" to the end of your command and the data will return as comma separated values. Now just redirect the output to a csv file and you've exported Salesforce data right from the command line!

If you're not too familiar with how to redirect the output of a command, here's a StackExchange link that gives a great explanation. I'm redirecting in the gif below, so check that out for a live example:

Don't like all the typing? Set an alias!

Yeah I know, "sfdx force:data:soql:query -q " is a lot to type each time. Instead of all that typing, just set an alias! I alias it to "soql" because it creates a very natural workflow for me:


Getting Started

While the Salesforce Command Line Interface (CLI) is part of SFDX, you can use it without using the other SFDX tools. To get started, head over to this link to install the CLI or check out the detailed setup instructions on Trailhead.

Once you've got it up and running, use one of the sfdx force:auth commands to connect the CLI to your org. The sfdx force:auth:web:login command is probably the easiest one to get started.

From there, start running SOQL! You now have data right at your fingertips!

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Why should I use SOQL?

You need data, fast!
Whether it's exporting a csv or answering a question, SOQL can get you the result much faster than creating a Salesforce report.

My top 3 reasons to use SOQL are:
Get data fastGet answers fastFlexible access Get Data Fast How often do you find yourself making a throwaway report to check what is happening in the system? For example, you updated your Lead routing and want to see if it's been assigning Leads as you expect. Well you could make a report, run it and review the results. Or you could run a SOQL query.
The benefits of running a SOQL query in this case is that you can retrieve different data sets much quicker. In a Salesforce report, you are stuck with the Report Type you selected when creating the report. With SOQL, you can traverse object relationships in a much more natural way. Get Answers Fast Have you ever been in a meeting and someone asks a data question that no one has the answer to? Well SOQL comes in handy here because you can run a quick …