Using CSV files

You use a CSV (comma-separated values) file to import products into your Shopify store, and to export products from your store. By using a CSV file, you can import or export a large number of products and their details at one time. This can be helpful if you want to exchange product information between Shopify and another system.

Learn how to open and edit a CSV file.

Get a sample CSV file

You can download and view a sample product CSV file to use as a template.

  • The sample file contains an example product and a couple of variants. Your import file likely contains many more products and variants. If you use the sample file to create your own import file, then make sure that you remove all the example products.

  • The sample file includes the Variant Inventory Qty column, which is only used for stores that have a single location. If you use multiple locations and you want to import or export inventory quantities, then use the inventory CSV file.

Product CSV file format

The first line of your product CSV file must be the column headers that are included in the sample CSV file and in the same order. Each column must be separated by a comma. The following lines (or records) in the file must contain data for your product using the same columns in that exact same order.

Overwriting product details with an import CSV file

When you import a CSV file you can select the option Overwrite any current products that have the same handle. Existing values will be used for any missing columns. If you select this option, then when the handle in the import CSV file matches an existing handle in your products list, the values in CSV file overwrite the values in the matching columns in the existing product list. If the overwrite option isn't selected, then the products that match an existing handle will be ignored during CSV import.

  • If a required column in the import CSV file is blank, then the matching value in the product list is overwritten as blank.

    For example, the Vendor value in your existing product list is John's Apparel, but the Vendor column is blank in the CSV file that you import, then the John's Apparel is overwritten as blank.

  • If a non-required column is not included in the import CSV file, but is included in the existing product list, then the value in the product list remains the same.

    For example, if the Variant Image column is included in the existing product list, but that column is not included in the import CSV file, then the value in the product list remains the same.

Description of the product import CSV file


Description of the columns in the product CSV import file.
Column Description Data requirements
Handle

Handles are unique names for each product. They can contain letters, dashes, and numbers, but no spaces, accents, or other characters, including periods. Handles are used in the URL for each product.

For example, the handle for a "Women's Snowboard" should be womens-snowboard, and the product's URL would be https://yourstore.myshopify.com/products/womens-snowboard.

Every line in the CSV file that starts with a different handle is treated as a new product. To add multiple images to a product, you must add multiple lines with the same handle.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

Title

The title of your product. For example, Women's Snowboard.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

Body (HTML)

The description of the product in HTML format. This can also be plain text without any formatting.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Vendor

The name of the vendor for your product. For example, John's Apparel.

Required, but can be blank.

Entered values must be at least two characters long.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Standard product type

A label that describes the type of product. This label must be taken from the predefined standardized list of product types.

You can input the standard product type in either of the following ways:

  • using the full path from the Shopify Product Taxonomy, for example Home & Garden > Linens & Bedding > Bedding > Bed Sheets
  • using the numerical ID, for example 371

Learn more about adding a standard product type.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Custom product type

A custom label that describes the category of a product. This label doesn't need to conform to any predefined format.

Learn more about adding a custom product type.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Google Product Category

If you currently use a Google product category, you can use it as your Shopify standard product type. You can use the standard product type, the Google Product Category, or both. Provide the most specific category possible for each item.

The Google Product Category (GPC) (google_product_category) uses Google's product taxonomy.

You can input the Google product category in either of the following ways:

  • using the full taxonomy path, for example Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops
  • using the numerical ID, for example 212

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Tags

A comma-separated list of tags used to tag the product. Most spreadsheet applications automatically add quotes around the tags for you. If you use a plain text editor, then you need to manually add the quotes. For example, "tag1, tag2, tag3".

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Published

States whether a product is published on your online store. Valid values are TRUE if the product is published on your online store, or FALSE if the product is hidden from your online store.

Required. Leaving the field blank publishes the product.
Option1 Name

If a product has an option, then enter its name. For example, Color.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

For products with only one option, this should be set to Title.
Option1 Value

Caution: Changing data in this column deletes existing variant IDs values, and creates new variant IDs. Any change to variant ID values can break third-party dependencies on variant IDs.

If a product has an option, then enter its value. For example, Black.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

For products with only one option, this should be set to Default Title.

Option2 Name

If a product has a second option, then enter its name. For example, Size.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Option2 Value

Caution: Changing data in this column deletes existing variant IDs values, and creates new variant IDs. Any change to variant ID values can break third-party dependencies on variant IDs.

If a product has a second option, then enter its value. For example, Large.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Option3 Name

If a product has a third option, then enter its name.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Option3 Value

Caution: Changing data in this column deletes existing variant IDs values, and creates new variant IDs. Any change to variant ID values can break third-party dependencies on variant IDs.

If a product has a third option, then enter its value.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant SKU

The SKU of the product or variant. This is used to track inventory with inventory tracking services.

This field can't be left blank if you're using a custom fulfillment service .

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Grams

The weight of the product or variant in grams. Don't specify a unit of measurement or use decimals. For example, for a weight of 5.125 kg, enter 5125.

Shopify always imports and exports the weight in grams, even if you specify a different unit. You must use accurate weights if you intend to offer carrier-calculated shipping or use a third-party fulfillment service.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

You must enter a value, even if that value is 0.

Variant Inventory Tracker

Include your inventory tracking for this variant or product. Valid values include shopify, shipwire, amazon_marketplace_web, or blank if inventory isn't tracked.

Required, but can be blank.

If the existing inventory tracking options are removed, then inventory is no longer tracked.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Inventory Qty

The number of items you have in stock of this product or variant. This column is used only for Shopify stores that have a single location.

If your store manages inventory at multiple locations, then this column isn't included. If you want to import or export inventory quantities, then use the inventory CSV file.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Inventory Policy

How to handle orders when the inventory level for this product or variant has reached zero. Variants with a deny inventory policy can't be purchased after their inventory level reaches zero. Variants with a continue inventory policy can be purchased after their inventory level reaches zero, allowing for negative inventory levels.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

Variant Fulfillment Service

The product or variant fulfillment service used. Valid values are: manual, shipwire, webgistix, and amazon_marketplace_web.

If you use a custom fulfillment service, then you can add the name of the service in this column. For the custom name, use only lowercase letters. Spaces aren't allowed—replace them with a dash (-). Periods and other special characters will be removed. For example, if "Joan's Fulfillment" is your fulfillment service's name, enter joans-fulfillment in the CSV file.

You must have a custom fulfillment service set up in your Shopify admin before you can add the name of the service in this column.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

Variant Price

The price of the product or variant. Don't include any currency symbols, include only the price. For example, 9.99.

Required. Can't be blank or missing.

Variant Compare at Price

The "Compare at Price" of the product or variant. Don't include any currency symbols, include only the price. For example, 9.99.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Requires Shipping

The option to require shipping. Valid values are TRUE, FALSE, or blank (which equals FALSE).

Required, but can be blank.

Variant Taxable

Apply taxes to this variant. Valid values are TRUE, FALSE, or blank (which equals FALSE).

Required, but can be blank.

Variant Barcode

The barcode, ISBN, or UPC of the product.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Image Src

Enter the URL for the product image. Shopify downloads the images during the import and re-uploads them into your store. These images aren't variant-specific. The variant image column is where you specify variant images.

You can't change the image file name after that image has been uploaded to your store. Don't upload images that have _thumb, _small, or _medium suffixes in their names.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Image Position

Enter the number that represents the order in which you want the image to appear on the product's page. The images will appear in order from smallest to largest starting from an image position value of 1. For example, enter 1. If you want the image to appear first for that product.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Image Alt Text

Alt (alternate) text describes an image and is an important part of a product description. If an image can't load for any reason, then alt text is shown instead. It's also used by assistive technology to describe an image to a customer who's visually impaired. Including alt text will boost your website's SEO. Keep your alt text brief and descriptive. The maximum length is 512 characters, but the optimal length is 125 characters or fewer.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Gift Card

States whether the product is a gift card or not. Valid values are TRUE or FALSE. The addition of this column also allows you to edit other gift card details, such as the Body or Tags columns, and import these changes. A gift card can be created and activated only in the Shopify admin. You can't initially create a gift card through a product CSV file import.

Required, but can be blank.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

SEO Title

The SEO Title is found on a product's details page under the Search engine listing preview header in the Page title field. The SEO Title has a character (letters and numbers) limit of 70. If you leave this field blank when importing a product, then the field is automatically populated with the product title.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

SEO Description

The SEO Description is also found on a product's details page under the Search engine listing preview header in the Meta description field. The SEO description has a character (letters and numbers) limit of 320. If you leave this field blank when importing a product, then the field is automatically populated with the product description.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Google Shopping metafields

The Google Shopping fields might be used by an app to sync products to the Google Merchant Center. However, Shopify's Google channel doesn't use these metafields. You can ignore fields in the columns that include Google Shopping in their names unless an app tells you to use them.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Image

The URL for images of variants. If you add an URL, then it must be a functioning image URL.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Variant Weight Unit

Valid values are g, kg, lb, and oz.

Optional.

If this field is left blank, then the Variant Weight Unit is kg.

Variant Tax Code

Available to: Shopify Plus plan

The Avalara code to apply taxes to this product. This field applies only when you import to or export from a store that uses the Shopify Plus plan's integration with Avalara AvaTax.

When you create a CSV file by exporting products from a store that uses Avalara, the Variant Tax Code field is populated. If you import this CSV file into a store that doesn't have Avalara set up, then your import will fail.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Cost per item

How much it costs you for the product or variant. Don't include any currency symbols, only include the cost. For example, 9.99.

Optional.

Learn more about how overwriting existing products affects the data in this column.

Status Whether a product is available to your customers. Valid values are:
  • active: the product is active and ready to be sold
  • draft: the product is a draft and needs to be completed
  • archived: the product is archived and no longer available to sell

Required.

If the column is missing, then all products upload as active. If the column is present, then blank values cause the upload to fail with the error: Status isn't valid. Set the status as active, , draft, or archived.

Collection column exception

To organize your products into collections during the CSV file upload, you can add a new column anywhere in your CSV file with the header name Collection.

Description of the Collection column in the product CSV import file.
Column Description Data requirements
Collection Enter the name of the collection that you want to add this product to.
  • If it's an existing automatic collection, then the product needs to meet the conditions for the collection.
  • If the collection doesn't already exist, then a manual collection is created.

You can add a product to only one collection.

Can be left blank.

Create your product CSV file

For each product, you need to decide if it's a simple product or one with variants:

  • Simple product (doesn't have variants)

    If you upload a product that doesn't have variants, then enter all the fields (as described above) for the product on the first line along with the URL for the first image. On the following lines, enter just the handle and the URL for each additional image.

  • Product with variants

    If you upload a product that has variants, then enter all the fields (as described above) for the product on the first line along with the URL for the first image. On the following lines, enter the handle. Then, skip the Title, Body (HTML), Vendor, and Tags columns. Fill out the rest of the variants' details and each image URL.

After you've added all your products and images, save your CSV file in UTF-8 format using LF-style linefeeds. If you're not familiar with encodings, then see your spreadsheet or text editor program's documentation.

To view an example CSV file, download this sample product CSV file, and then open it in Google Sheets or another spreadsheet program.

Prepare your images

A CSV file can only contain text. So you need to make sure all product images are on an existing website. Those image URLs are only used during the CSV file importing process (in other words, you can delete them when your import is done).

  • If the files are on your computer only, you must upload them to your Shopify store or another image hosting service to link to their URL.

  • If you're switching to Shopify from another platform, you can copy the current image URLs and use them in the CSV file.

  • If the product CSV file was produced by exporting your products from Shopify, then you don't need to do anything because your images are already on your website.

When you have URLs for each product image, you can start building your CSV file.

Add multiple product images in a CSV file

You can add more product images to your CSV file by uploading more images to your Shopify admin. If you're building your Shopify store with a CSV file, then the process is a little different. Here's what you need to know:

  • You need to be able to edit a CSV file. Shopify recommends using Google Sheets to view a formatted version of your CSV files.

  • You can add up to 250 images to a product.

  • Your product images must be uploaded to a publicly accessible URL. That is, they should be behind an https:// protocol with no password protection. To do this, you can upload images to the Files page of the Shopify admin. The URLs generate automatically. After clicking Upload files, you can select up to a couple hundred images to upload in bulk.

To add multiple images you need to:

  1. Insert new rows (one per picture).
  2. Copy and paste the "handle".
  3. Copy and paste the image URLs.

Insert new rows (one per picture)

  1. Open your CSV file in your spreadsheet program, such as Google Sheets.

  2. Locate the products that you want to add images to.

  3. On the next row, click and drag on the row numbers to select multiple rows. Select the same number of rows as the number of additional images you add.

    In a product CSV Google spreadsheet, the third and fourth row are highlighted.

  4. While those rows are highlighted, right click anywhere in the highlighted area, and choose Insert X rows above

    In a product CSV Google spreadsheet, the Insert 2 above option is selected.

This creates three empty rows below the product that you want to add additional images to.

Copy and Paste the "Handle"

Copy and paste the "Handle" of the desired product into column A for your new rows.

In a product CSV Google spreadsheet, the text black-shirt is entered under the handle column in the third and fourth rows.

Copy and Paste the Image URLs

  1. Upload your images to Shopify on the Files Page

  2. Click the Copy link icon, one image URL at a time.

    In the Shopify admin Files page, the link button is highlighted in the row of a black t-shirt image.

  3. Return to your spreadsheet software and scroll sideways to the final columns of the CSV file.

  4. In the column "Image Src" (short for "Image Source") paste one image URL into each line.

    In a product CSV Google spreadsheet, the black t-shirt product image URL is entered into a row in the Image Src column.

  5. Repeat steps 2 - 4 for all images of this product

  6. (Optional): Fill out the fields under the next column "Image Alt Text" to boost your SEO. Learn more about Image alt text.

You can then save the file and import it to Shopify.

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