I am using Data Extract -> File Transfer -> Import via an automation to upload my synchronized data extensions to All Subscribers in Marketing Cloud.

Currently everything seems to work fine, however I am interested to know is there any limitations such as row count, data size, etc via importing from enhanced FTP?

1 Answer 1


File Imports are the most tried and true method of getting large amounts of data into SMFC. As for limitations -- most of the issues I've seen with imports haven't been with size or row counts -- it's been with bad data, like extra CR/LFs, bad delimiters or improper text qualification. Importing structured data like XML is possible, but not recommended. The functionality is too limited.

As for file size, I've worked in some accounts that import 3 gigabyte files every day.

If you're having issues with File Imports and you have an older account (more than 3 years old), check with SFMC Support to see if you have the latest version of the importer.

There are also several business rules that modify file import behavior -- like importing empty files without error, etc.

There are also several options for handling encrypted files, the Safehouse, and file-drop triggered automations.

  • Hey thanks for the detailed explanation! So far I have not faced any issues with import and I am glad to know that they are able to import huge file sizes up to GB. Thanks a lot! :D Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 16:00
  • @Adam , do you know remember how much time does it take to load the 3GB file into a DE ?
    – AshBringer
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 11:11
  • It depends on the file, but off the cuff I'd say around 1-2 hours. Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 12:57
  • Hi @AdamSpriggs How is that possible if there is a timeout limitation of 30 minutes?
    – Mrquestion
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 14:17
  • The 30-minute timeout period only applies to Query and Script Activities. Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 15:17

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