How to create a Data Extract in Marketing Cloud

A Data Extract activity is a process that can be initiated from Marketing Cloud's Automation Studio.

It creates a zipped file of a data extension to be used outside of Marketing Cloud. It is used in conjunction with another activity, the File Transfer activity, to create and place a file on an FTP location. The Data Extract takes data from a Data Extension and creates a zipped file, but this file is still in Marketing Cloud’s secure file transfer location, called the "Safehouse". The File Transfer activity is then needed to securely transfer files from the "Safehouse", to a selected FTP location. 

  1. From Automation Studio’s Activities tab, select the “Create Activity” button in the top-right.
  2. A pop-up will appear asking what type of activity to create, select the “Data Extract” activity type, then select the "next" button in the bottom right.
  3. A “Create New Data Extract Activity” pop-up will open, type a name for the data extract activity Ex: tracking results data extract.  (often people name things similarly between the data extension, automation, data extract  and file transfer activities, that way it is easy to see which ones are related to each other)
  4. In the File Naming Pattern box, enter the name for the CSV file as you wish for it to appear on the FTP location. You can use coding to alter the name of the file to be the current date. For example, adding %%Month%%-%%Day%%-%%Year%%.csv” would become 11-15-2024.csv” on November 15, 2024.
    **Note: You must include the .csv at the end of your filename. **

Properties tab of data extract activity

  1. Copy the File Naming Pattern into a notepad so you will be able to reference it later when you build the "File Transfer" activity.
  2. Select "Next"
  3. Paste the External key of your data extension into the DECustomer Key field. (To find the External key, duplicate your current browser tab and then navigate to Email Studio > Subscribers >  [then navigate to where the data extension is that you want to extract the information from] and select the "properties" tab on your data extension. Copy the External Key for the filtered DE and return to your other browser tab where you are building the extract activity.)


  1. Select "Next" and then the "Finish" button.

The Data Extract Activity is now ready to be added to your Automation.

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Article ID: 1024
Wed 4/17/24 4:51 PM
Wed 5/8/24 3:15 PM

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