How To Retrieve All Metadata From Your Salesforce Org using package.xml

At times you may want to retrieve all the metadata from your Salesforce Org. This may be required to take a backup before a major deployment or for creating the “master” branch for your Source Control system like Git.

Option 1: Create a Sandbox

Unfortunately, Salesforce does not give you an out of box, straightforward way to retrieve the metadata. For backup, the closest out of the box option will be to create a Sandbox of your production org.

But this will still not give you a way to retrieve and download the metadata. You can create a sandbox as a backup of your production org and then use change sets to move the metadata around.

Option 2: Use package.xml with ANT or SFDX CLI

One of the most common ways to retrieve the metadata is to is to prepare a package.xml listing all the metadata that you want to retrieve and then use one of the following methods to retrieve it.

  1. Use ANT migration tool with package.xml to retrieve the metdata
  2. Use SFDX CLI with package.xml to retrieve the metadata
  3. Use VS Code + Salesforce Extensions for VS Code + SFDX CLI with package.xml to retrieve the metadata
  4. Use Workbench with package.xml

Option 3: Use a 3rd Party Extension or Tool

Or otherwise use the extensions/tools provided by individuals and/or 3rd parties to retrieve the metadata. For example, one of the VS Code extension that allows you to construct the package.xml file is “Salesforce Package.xml Generator Extension for VS Code

About this Guide

In this blog post, we will explore how to use VS Code + Salesforce Extensions for VS Code + SFDX CLI with package.xml to retrieve the metadata.

The following guide provides you with all the steps to generate your own package.xml file and important things that you need to be aware of with regards to some of the metadata types

This also contains the following two errors that that you are most likely to encounter and how to work around these errors.

  1. Missing metadata type definition in registry for id <metadata_type>
  2. Too many files in retrieve call

If you don’t want to generate your package.xml file, then you can download the package.xml from this GitHub repository and use it as-is.

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