Importing Products into Magento

Magento is an extremely flexible eCommerce platform; as such, some tasks can be less than straight-forward. In this post, I will cover the primary method of importing products into Magento along with a few tips and common issues that may arise.

Note: These steps are written based on Magento Community Edition If you are using a different version, some of the steps may be different.

Important! Before making any changes to your Magento store, make sure you have a current backup of your database and Magento store files.

Things you should know, or do before you get started

  • If you are not comfortable with Magento: Do not proceed. Have the person or company who originally set up your store, or a Magento professional complete this process. Incorrectly importing products can cause issues with your product list that can be difficult and time-consuming to resolve.
  • Backup your store and database: Do not proceed with this or any other procedure related to your live Magento-based eCommerce site without current backups. If you do not have a backup, please stop and create a backup. If you do not know what to backup or how to backup your Magento files, please hire a professional. If you would like to hire us, please contact us at
  • Know how to access your Magento installation files: During the import process, you may need to access your Magento installation.
  • Importing products may overwrite existing data: If the products you are importing have SKUs that match products that exist in your store, fields included in the import file will overwrite existing field values. This is helpful if all you are doing is updating price or inventory status. However, if you include the title and description fields (or many other fields) in the import file, the existing title and descriptions will be overwritten. For new products, this is not a concern. For existing product, you need to be aware of this behavior.


  • Backup your store and database: As you can tell, this is an important step.
  • Use a test store (non-production) for your first few imports: There are a number of things that can go wrong during an import. If you practice importing your products into a test store, you can avoid or eliminate these issues before importing products into your live store. If you need assistance with creation of a test store, please contact us at and for a fee, we will be happy to help you set up your test store and teach you how and when to use it.
  • Create a template for importing products: To create a file that can be used to import products, first, export your existing products. If necessary, use the instructions under the heading Export your products.
  • Importing a supplier feed: If you are importing a feed from your supplier, make sure the field names (usually in the first line [or row] of the import file) match the field or attribute names in Magento.
  • Editing your feed in Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel makes datatype assumptions based on a certain number of rows in your import file. Before importing your file, open it in a text editor such as Notepad.exe and review the field values to make sure they contain the expected values. See the Common Issues list for more information.

Common Issues with Product Import

  • Error: sku not defined or path not valid. This error can be misleading and is often caused by illegal characters in the import file. Examples of illegal characters are trademark, copyright and registration symbols. Others are long dashes and smart quotes.  If you are receiving this error, you may want to review your import file searching for special characters in the title, description and short description fields. However, you may want to review all fields containing text.
  • Images not imported: To import images along with products, your images must be  uploaded to the /media/import folder of your Magento installation. You must also include the name of the image file in the image field of your import file.
  • Editing your feed in Microsoft Excel: Excel may change the field data type. For example, if your SKU is the product UPC, Excel will interpret that field as a number and during the import, it may add two decimal places to the SKU. If this happens to you, and your SKUs are based on the product UPC (no decimal places), the import process will not recognize the SKUs in the import file and import the product as a new product.
  • SKUs do not match exactly: If you are running the import to update existing products and the SKU listed in your import file does not match exactly the SKU in your store, the import process will add new entries for every product in your import file where it does not find a matching SKU. This could result in duplicate products.

Export Your Products

Note: If you already have a known working template, you can skip these steps.

To export your products:

  1. Open the Magento Admin and login as a user with the administrator role.
  2. From the System menu, point to Import/Export and then click Profiles.
  3. Click the Export All Products profile.
  4. Review and make the necessary changes to the the Profile Information, File Information, Data Format and Export Filters sections. If you accept the default, you will receive an export of all of your products in csv format located in the var/export folder of your Magento installation.
  5. Click the Run Profile tab and then click Run Profile in Popup.
  6. Using the appropriate File Manager software for your server, browse to your Magento installation /var/export folder and download the export_all_products file.

Importing Products

The primary method for importing products into your Magento-based eCommerce site is to:

  1. Open the Magento Admin and login as a user with the administrator role.
  2. From the System menu, point to Import/Export and then click Profiles.
  3. Click the Import All Products profile.
  4. From the Import All Products profile, click the Upload file tab, click Choose File to browse for the product file you would like to import.
  5. From the Magento Admin button bar, click Save and Continue Edit. Completing this step uploads the file to your Magento installation.
  6. Click the Run Profile tab and from the Select a file dropdown, select the file you just uploaded. If there are files already in the list, the most recently uploaded file is at the bottom of the list.
  7. Click Run Profile in Popup. Your import will proceed in a new window or tab depending on your browser settings. If you see errors, review the list of common issues or use your favorite search engine and search for Magento <error_message> replacing <error_message> with the exact error message you see in the import.

After your import is complete, review the products in Magento Admin and the online store to make sure the import processed as expected.

I hope this post is helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like us to assist you with this process.



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