If your store is stocked with hundreds or thousands of products, good for you! 🎉 👍 But that can also mean a lot of time and work ⏰ 😩 when you need to set up or update all of those products. Thank goodness we have a solution! You can import a truckload of data 🚚 using a text file known as a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file to make updates a breeze.
Volusion's Import/Export Tools
To get started, go to Inventory > Import/Export in you Admin Area.
Your import and export controls are located under the Standard Import and Standard Export tabs.
Creating a Template for Importing
Before importing data into your store, you should generate a CSV file template that you can update and then import back into your store. This will allow you to edit a CSV file that contains the correct column names and structure for the portion of your store's database you wish to update.
To export a CSV file to use as a template for updating your product database table:
- Click the Standard Export tab on the Import/Export page.
- Select Products from the Columns menu.
- Select the elements within your products table that you wish to export (only export the fields you plan to edit on a regular basis).
- Select CSV from the File Format menu.
- Click Export.
If your store contains a large number of products, the export process could take a few minutes. Once the process is complete, click the link to download your CSV file.
Editing the CSV File
Once you've created your CSV file export, you can use it to make updates to your products, save the file, and then import it back into your store's database.
CSV files can be edited in any standard spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Open Office. When you're finished editing the file, be sure to save it in CSV format.
Importing the CSV File
With your CSV file edited and saved, you're ready to import it into your store.
- Under the Standard Import tab, select Products from the Import To menu and use the Browse button to find the CSV file on your computer.
- In the Overwrite Existing Data option, you have 3 choices: A) Update your database without changing any records already in it. B) Replace any existing data in your store with updated data in the CSV file. C) Delete all records in the table and replace with the data in the CSV file. This option is not recommended unless you want to completely clear a table and repopulate it from scratch using a CSV file.
- Click Import.
You will receive a notification once your import is complete.
When performing an import, you may encounter some errors. Below are some tips for minimizing potential errors.
Avoid Columns Without Data
Some spreadsheet editors can reformat cells within columns that have no data contained within in them and insert non-breaking space characters. This can cause errors when attempting to import data into your store.
To avoid this, delete any columns within your CSV file that are assigned a column name but don't contain any data.
Check Your Data Types
Each field in your store is assigned a data type. This refers to the kind of data that can be contained within each element in the store database (for example, text, integers, dates, etc.). You must adhere to these data types when editing your database tables in a CSV file.
For example, the ProductCode column within the products database table is of a TEXT data type that can contain up to 30 characters. If a field were imported into the store with more than 30 characters, the import process will not be completed.
Note that you can view the data types of any element in your store's database when selecting columns during the export process.
Note for Macintosh Users
Some versions of Excel for Mac allow you to save multiple types of CSV files. If presented with the option, be sure to select "CSV file for Microsoft Windows."
Certain characters contained within CSV file cells can cause issues, preventing the file from being imported.
For example, Excel may reformat long strings of numbers (such as Category IDs) to remove the commas: 14,25,35,69,71,73 becomes 142535697173. Your file will fail on import because the Category ID does not match your system.
Text that contains commas should be enclosed in single quotations.
You should remove any double quotation marks from file cells before executing an import. In a case where quotations are required, you can substitute double quotations (") with single quotations (').
When it comes to taking care of a lot of business, you got this! And CSV files will help you make it all look so easy! 😊 🙌
Still curious? See "Import Errors in Volusion" for further information.