Magento product import from scratch (detailed guide, tips, tricks, errors & solutions, tools)

- Magento tips & tricks

magento product import

In this article we describe and clarify one of the most advanced tasks in Magento store managementproducts import. Below, you will find the structure of a csv file with the description of every column, and detailed information about product attributes related to import. We’ll describe products import within the default Magento DataFlow profile. Enjoy!

And don’t forget to check The Best Improved Import/Export Magento Extensions!

Before we begin, let’s tell a few words about the Magento 2 import. Not only the appropriate interface was essentially improved, but the ecosystem already offers tons of Magento 2 import extensions that dramatically simplify the product import process. It’s time to move to Magento 2, so check the following articles for better understanding of the problem:

The Complete Guide to Magento 2 Product Import / Export

Improved Import / Export Magento 2 Extension Manual

CSV file structure for products import in Magento

For work with csv files, we strongly recommend you to use OpenOffice.

Minimum required columns for simple product import

The easiest way to understand what data is required in a csv file is to export some products from your Magento store, if you don’t have any ecommerce stores based on this platform, you can always create a few products for the test: fill in all product information, add images and then try to export them. Just go to the Magento admin -> System -> Dataflow profiles -> Export all products. As a result you will get a csv file with few dozens of columns. Let’s take a closer look on them. Below, you will also find a brief description of all parts of csv file.

  • websites

Website entity is associated with the product, in a default Magento and in most other cases – base.

  • store

Store entity is associated with the product, in default Magento and in most other cases – admin.

Important note – websites & store can be the reason of the problem when products are not displayed on frontend or Magento admin after import, so you should check if the values used here are correct. If you are not sure what values to put here you can try default ones (base & admin): Magento admin -> System -> Manage stores

  • type

Type of a product – Simple Product, Grouped Product, Configurable Product, Virtual Product, Bundle Product, Downloadable Product

  • attribute_set

”Default” or another attribute set used for a product, check it in the Magento Admin -> Catalog -> Attributes -> Manage Attributes sets

  • tax_class_id

Tax class for a product – None, Taxable goods, Shipping. You can manage it in the Magento Admin -> Sales -> Tax

  • status

Status of a products – Enabled / Disabled. If product is disabled it will not be displayed on frontend.

  • weight

Weight of a product –  just put “1” if you don’t need it

  • sku

Unique product identification

  • name

Name of a product

  • price

Price of a product

  • description

Full description of a product which will be displayed on a product page

  • short_description

Short description is displayed on a product page as well as on other pages depending on template settings

  • visibility

Visibility of a product on frontend – Not Visible Individually /  Catalog, Search /  Catalog / Search

  • category_ids

Magento category ids are associated with different products, they are created in the Magento admin -> Catalog -> Categories. To get a category id, check it in the Magento admin.

  • qty

Available quantity of product, which is used to control in stock/out of stock status of product

  • is_in_stock

Sets up default status of product  (boolean value 1 or 0) – in stock (1) or out of stock (0). Out of stock products are not displayed on frontend and cann’t  be sold.

  • image, small_image, thumbnail

First of all, you have to upload images into media/import of your Magento installation folder and then enter the image file name prepended with a slash. You can use the same large image for all three types of product images, and Magento will scale it to other required sizes.

Trick: Images are required for successful products import in Magento , but if you want to import product without images you can use trick with the default Magento product image placeholders located at skin/frontend/default/default/images/catalog/product/placeholder . You can find three images there – image.jpg, small_image.jpg and thumbnail.jpg . Copy and paste them to the media/import  folder and use for your products. Product images can be updated during the next import procedure.

To import multiple product images & galleries you have to use Improved Import extension, since Magento does not provide this feature out of the box.

CSV File sample consists only of required columns described above. If you decided to give it a try you need a category with id=3 and placeholder images copied from skin/frontend/default/default/images/catalog/product/placeholder to media/import  folder.

Extended import with additional features

To get the full list of all possible columns, you can just export your existing products or even imported ones (as in csv sample above). The appropriate export options are situated in the Magento admin -> System -> Import/Export -> Dataflow – Profiles -> Export all products.

Next you will get the complite list of all possible default columns used in product import in Magento. You can use all of them for import with the name of column & example data. For the most cases it is not difficult to understand what data can be placed there. If you have any questions about columns, just ask us in comments and we will try to help you!

store, websites, attribute_set, type, category_ids, sku, has_options, name, meta_title, meta_description, image, small_image, thumbnail, url_key, url_path, custom_design, page_layout, options_container, image_label, small_image_label, thumbnail_label, country_of_manufacture, msrp_enabled, msrp_display_actual_price_type, gift_message_available, price, special_price, weight, msrp, status, is_recurring, visibility, enable_googlecheckout, tax_class_id, description, short_description, meta_keyword, custom_layout_update, special_from_date, special_to_date, news_from_date, news_to_date, custom_design_from, custom_design_to, qty, min_qty, use_config_min_qty, is_qty_decimal, backorders, use_config_backorders, min_sale_qty, use_config_min_sale_qty, max_sale_qty, use_config_max_sale_qty, is_in_stock, low_stock_date, notify_stock_qty, use_config_notify_stock_qty, manage_stock, use_config_manage_stock, stock_status_changed_auto, use_config_qty_increments, qty_increments, use_config_enable_qty_inc, enable_qty_increments, is_decimal_divided, stock_status_changed_automatically, use_config_enable_qty_increments, product_name, store_id, product_type_id, product_status_changed, product_changed_websites, additional_images

Full CSV File sample

Magento product import Tips & Tricks

Products import custom options

There are no any custom options for product import in a default Magento. But you can solve this problem by using Improved Import extension. With the help of this module, you will get new easy product import custom options with new column in csv file. This column includes the following specific options: name, type, price.

Product attributes

Defaukt Magento doesn’t provide you with the ability to import product attributes & values. But you can use the following solution –

Products with multiple attribute values

Import products with multiple attribute values, if you already have attributes with values in Magento admin and want to associate them with imported products.

Import multiple product images & images from external URL

By default you are not anle to import multiple product images & images from external URL, but it’s easy possible with the Improved Import  extension. With thi Magento Module, you can add as much images as you need in additional csv column and upload them to media/import. The same works with images from external URLs!

Product tier prices import

You can easy import product tier prices for different customers groups with our Improved Import  extension.

Possible errors and solutions during products import process in Magento

Image does not exist

If you’ve got an error “Image does not exist” for product images required for the import, you didn’t  notices image in csv images columns in you media/import folder in a correct way. To solve this proble, you can use trick described above (import images for import products without images) or use Improved Import  extension to see what products images are missed.

Products are not displayed in the frontend after the import

If products are not displayed in the frontend after the import, you have to check columns = values in your csv file. Check the following columns descriptions:

  • websites = base

  • store = admin

  • status = Enabled

  • visibility  = Catalog, Search

  • category_ids = NUMBER (must be valid enabled category id in you store)

  • qty > 1

  • is_in_stock  = 1

This is a very useful article from Magento Store Manager about other reasons of  this issue –

Products are not displayed in the backend (Magento admin) after the import

First of all you have to check websites = base & store = admin in your csv file, if everything looks good there, you should go to the next step in this guide, chances are you will have to do some cleanup in Magento.

Strange stacks & errors, if there is no any other solution, use Magento cleanup tools

Below, you will find a few very useful links. Both articles explain how to cleanup Magento after failed import process, before using this tips make sure you’ve double checked your csv files according to requirements described in this article!


Another possibility for complex Magento import solution is Magmi – an open source tool with dozens of features and settings that make Magento import flawless. It is not easy to use but it is extremely powerful!