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When it comes to managing data in Salesforce, you have to ensure that users have access to the right information at the right time. Salesforce provides developers with two powerful querying languages: SOSL (Salesforce Object Search Language) and SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language) for this purpose. These languages play a vital role in accessing and manipulating data within the Salesforce platform. Salesforce developers need to have a clear idea as they will be working with these concepts. The Salesforce development training will discuss it in detail, but here is a blog for you. 

What is SOSL?

SOSL, or Salesforce Object Search Language, is a specialized query language designed for text-based searching across multiple objects simultaneously. Unlike SOQL, which focuses on querying specific records within a single object or related objects, SOSL allows developers to perform comprehensive searches across the entire database. This makes SOSL an excellent choice for implementing global search functionality in applications, where users can search for specific keywords or phrases across various objects, obtaining relevant results from all matched records.

The syntax of SOSL is distinct from SOQL. SOSL queries begin with the `FIND` keyword, followed by the search terms enclosed in curly braces {}. After the search terms, the `IN ALL FIELDS` clause specifies that the search will span across all fields of the specified objects. Finally, the `RETURNING` keyword is used to specify the objects and fields to return in the search results.

Let’s have a look at a SOSL query:

FIND {Mary Allen} IN ALL FIELDS RETURNING Account, Contact, Lead

In this SOSL query, we are searching for the keywords “Mary Allen” across all fields in the Account, Contact, and Lead objects. The search will return matching records from any of these objects.

What is SOQL?

SOQL, or Salesforce Object Query Language, is another important querying language offered by Salesforce. It is primarily used to retrieve records from one object or related objects. Similar to SQL, SOQL allows developers to specify the data they need and apply filtering conditions to narrow down the results. SOQL is perfect for scenarios where precise data retrieval is the primary goal.

The syntax of SOQL resembles SQL. A typical SOQL query starts with the `SELECT` keyword, followed by the fields to retrieve. The `FROM` keyword is then used to specify the object from which data is to be queried. Additionally, the `WHERE` clause can be employed to add filtering conditions based on specific criteria.

Let’s look at an example of a SOQL query:

SELECT Name, Email, Account.Name
FROM Contact
WHERE Account.Industry = ‘Food Processing’

In this SOQL query, we are retrieving the Name and Email fields from the Contact object, along with the related Account’s Name field. The query is filtered to fetch only those Contact records associated with Accounts in the ‘Food Processing’ industry.

Differences between SOSL and SOQL

SOSL and SOQL are used for different types of Salesforce data querying. Here are the differences: 

Query Focus

  1. SOSL focuses on global text-based searching across multiple objects.
  1. SOQL focuses on querying specific records within one object or related objects.


  • SOSL starts with the `FIND` keyword, followed by search terms and `RETURNING` to specify the objects to return.
  • SOQL starts with the `SELECT` keyword, followed by fields to retrieve, `FROM` to specify the object, and `WHERE` for filtering conditions.

Keyword Searching

  • SOSL allows keyword-based searching, enabling users to find relevant records based on text matches.
  • SOQL does not directly support keyword-based searches; it primarily relies on specific filter conditions.



Comprehensive Searching: SOSL enables users to perform extensive searches across various objects simultaneously, providing a unified search experience.

Efficient Global Search: SOSL’s powerful search capabilities ensure quick and accurate results, improving user productivity when looking for information across multiple entities.


Precise Data Retrieval: SOQL allows developers to fetch specific records and related data precisely, ensuring targeted information retrieval.

Data Relationships: SOQL’s ability to traverse relationships between objects makes it valuable for accessing related data and presenting a comprehensive view of records.



No Data Manipulation: SOSL is read-only and cannot be used for data manipulation tasks like updates or deletions. Its primary purpose is searching and returning data.

Limited Filtering: SOSL’s search-based nature limits the complexity of filtering compared to SOQL, making it less suitable for fine-grained queries.


Single Object Focus: SOQL is designed for querying data within one object or related objects, making it less suitable for broad search operations across multiple entities.

No Global Search: SOQL cannot perform searches across multiple objects simultaneously, restricting its use in certain scenarios where a global search is required.

When to Use SOSL

When your application requires users to find relevant information across multiple objects based on specific keywords or phrases, SOSL is the ideal choice.

SOSL excels in scenarios where a unified search experience is needed to enhance user productivity and the overall user interface.

When to Use SOQL

You have to use SOQL when you need to fetch specific records from one object or related objects based on precise criteria.

When working with data relationships and retrieving related data to present a comprehensive view of records, SOQL should be your preferred option.


SOSL and SOQL are powerful querying languages provided by Salesforce to cater to different use cases and scenarios. SOSL shines in global search functionality, allowing users to perform comprehensive searches across multiple objects using specific keywords. On the other hand, SOQL is best suited for precise data retrieval and accessing related data from one object or related objects. 
Understanding the strengths and limitations of both SOSL and SOQL empowers developers to make informed decisions and create powerful and efficient Salesforce applications tailored to specific business needs. By leveraging the right querying language based on the requirements of your application, you can ensure optimized data retrieval and enhance user experiences within the Salesforce ecosystem. You will learn more about them in Dynopat’s Salesforce development training.

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