When trying to upsert contacts and relate the Contact to Account using an external ID on Account I am getting the following error

Foreign key external ID: ABC12 not found for field DBExt_ID__c in entity Account

I have an Account record in SF (in the correct instance) where the External Field DBExt_ID__c = 'ABC12'

DBExt_ID__c is marked as external id in Object manager:Account

DBExt_ID__c is a text field.

On Contact there is field called DBExt_ID__c which is a lookup to Account. On Contact the external field is called UserExternal_ID__c which is a lookup to Account.

Edit Using Dataloader to do the upsert of Contacts, using ContactsExternalID.


**ParentAccountExternalID   ChildContactExternalID  FirstName   LastName**

    ABC12                    User123                 Tim         Song
    PQR34                    User345                 Jim         Haas


ChildContactExternalID =UserExternal_ID__c 

(also tried ParentAccountExternalID=DBExt_ID__r. DBExt_ID__c)

The problem is with mapping the Contact to the Accounts ExternalID so that i will be able to relate the Contact to correct Account via ExternalID.

  • How are you trying to do the upsert? Is it via something like dataloader, or are you doing this in Apex? If there's code involved, showing us what you have is helpful.
    – Derek F
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:24
  • I am doing it via dataloader. Will edit the main quetion. Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


I was able to resolve the error. I changed the Column Headers in the CSV for the External Id fields. Not sure why this resolved the error, but it did.

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