Using CSV files to import and export products

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.

Download 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 probably 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.

Considerations for the product CSV file

Before you use a product CSV file, review the following considerations.

Formatting the product CSV file

For your product CSV file to function correctly, verify the that it meets the following criteria:

  • The first line of your product CSV file must be the column headers as specified in the product CSV description table.

  • Each column must be separated by a comma.

Required columns in the product CSV file

These columns must be present under the following conditions:

  • When you create a product CSV file to import new products, the only required column is Title. If you're adding variants for a product, then the Handle column is also required.

  • When you update products using a CSV file, the only required columns are Handle and Title.

Data dependencies

Even though the Title and Handle columns are the only required columns when you update products using a CSV file, the data in some columns depends on the data in other columns.

For example, if you update a column that is related to variants, such as Variant SKU or Variant Grams, then the data in those columns depends on the data about the corresponding variants. In this case, you must also include the Option1 Name and Option1 Value columns.

Before you remove or exclude columns from your CSV file, verify whether the data in any other columns depends on the data in the columns that you want to remove or exclude. If your data depends on a column that is missing, then you receive an error when you try to import your product CSV file.

Shopify Markets CSV columns

If you have Shopify Markets set up on your store, then your CSV export reflects the unique markets that you created. By default your CSV has the Price / International and Compare At Price / International columns. But if you replace your international market with your own market, then in the header name, International changes to the name of the market.

For example, if you create a market for each individual continent, and one of your market names is South America then column heading Price / International becomes Price / South America, and column heading Compare at price / International becomes Compare at price / South America in the CSV export file.

Columns in the product CSV file that must contain values

In addition to the Title column, some other columns must have a value. When a column requires a value, but is blank, then a default value is created automatically in the following cases:

  • The column is present, but the values in that column are blank.
  • The column is not present in the CSV file, but the values can't be blank.

The following table describes which columns must have a value, and the default value that is created automatically if the column is blank.

Columns in the product CSV file that must have a value and the default values that are created automatically if no value is present.
Column Default value created when the column is blank
Handle This value is created based on the value in the Title column. For example, if the value in the Title column is Black Sun Glasses, then the value in this column is black-sun-glasses.
Vendor The name of the store as you entered it when you created your Shopify account. For example, John's Apparel or johns-apparel. This is the same store name that you use when you log in to Shopify.
Published TRUE, which means that this product will be published and available in the online store sales channel.
Option1 Title
Option1 Value Default Title
Variant Inventory Quantity 0
Variant Inventory Policy

deny

When the value is deny, it indicates that the product can't be purchased after its inventory level reaches zero.

Variant Fulfillment Service manual
Variant Price 0.0
Variant Requires Shipping

TRUE

When the value is TRUE, it indicates that the product is a physical product.

Variant Taxable TRUE
Variant Grams 0.0
Variant Weight Unit kg
Price / International

If you sell internationally, then this is the price of the product or variant. Only include the price. Don't include any currency symbols. For example, 9.99.

This column heading name varies depending on the Shopify Markets that you have set up on your store. The default market is International. If you change the default market or add any new markets, then your column headers appear with those market names. Refer to the considerations section for more information.

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

Compare At Price / International

If you sell internationally, then this is the "Compare at Price" of the product or variant. Only include the price. Don't include any currency symbols. For example, 9.99.

This column heading name varies depending on the Shopify Markets that you have set up on your store. The default market is International. If you change the default market or add any new markets, then your column headers appear with those market names. Refer to the considerations section for more information.

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

Status active

For more information about these and other columns, refer to the product CSV description table.

Overwriting product details using 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 CSV file

For information about which columns are required, and which columns require that values are entered, refer to the considerations for product CSV files.

Description of the columns in the product CSV file.
Column Description
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.

Title

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

Body (HTML)

The description of the product in HTML format.

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.

Values must be at least two characters long.

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

Standardized 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 standardized 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 standardized product type

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

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".

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

Published

Indicates 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 not available on your online store.

Option1 Name

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

If a product has only one option, then this value should be 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.

If a product has only one option, then this value should be Default Title.

Option2 Name

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

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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 only used for Shopify stores that have a single location.

Note: This column is only available for stores that have only one 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.

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.

Variant Fulfillment Service

The product or variant fulfillment service used. The following are the valid values for this column:

  • manual
  • shipwire
  • webgistix
  • 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 and you must replace them with a dash (-). Periods and other special characters are 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.

Variant Price

The price of the product or variant. Only include the price and don't include any currency symbols. For example, 9.99.

Variant Compare at Price

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

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 or FALSE.

Variant Taxable

Apply taxes to this variant. Valid values are TRUE or FALSE.

Variant Barcode

The barcode, ISBN, or UPC of the product.

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.

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 appears in order from smallest to largest starting from an image position value of 1. For example, if you want the image to appear first for that product, then enter 1.

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.

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

Gift Card

Indicates whether the product is a gift card. 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 then import these changes. A gift card can only be created and activated in the Shopify admin. You can't create a gift card through a product CSV file import.

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 is alphanumeric and can include up to 70 characters. If you leave this column blank when you import a product, then the value in the Title column is entered into the Page title field on the product's details page.

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 Description. The SEO description is alphanumeric and can include up to 320 characters. If you leave this column blank when you import a product, then the value in the Body (HTML) column is entered into the Description field on the product's details page.

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 standardized product type. You can use the standardized 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

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

Google Shopping Metafields

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

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.

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

Variant Weight Unit

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

Variant Tax Code

Available to: Shopify Plus plan

The Avalara code to apply taxes to this product. This field only applies 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 column is filled. If you import this CSV file into a store that doesn't have Avalara set up, then your import fails.

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. Only include the cost. Don't include any currency symbols. For example, 9.99.

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

Status

Indicates 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

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.

When you export a CSV file, the Collection column is not included.

Description of the Collection column in the product CSV import file.
Column Description
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.

This value can be blank.

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

Create your product CSV file

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

  • Simple product: A simple product doesn't include variants. If you upload a product that doesn't have variants, then enter all the fields for the product in the first row along with the URL for the first image. In the following rows, only enter 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 for the product in the first row along with the URL for the first image. In the following rows, 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, therefore, you need to make sure that all product images are on an existing website. Those image URLs are only used during the CSV file importing process. You can delete the URLs after your import is complete.

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

  • If you're switching to Shopify from another platform, then 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.

Adding 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. Review the following considerations:

  • 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 you click Upload files, you can select up to a couple hundred images to upload in bulk.

Add multiple product images to your CSV file

  1. Insert new rows. You must use only one row per image.
  2. Copy and paste the handle.
  3. Copy and paste the image URLs.

Insert a new row

  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. In the next row, click and drag 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 then select Insert X rows above.

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

Copy and Paste the Handle value

  1. Copy and paste the Handle value of the required 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. On the Files page, upload your images to Shopify.

  2. Click the Copy link icon for 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. In the CSV file in your spreadsheet application, scroll sideways to the last columns of the CSV file.

  4. In the Image Src column, paste the 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 to 4 for all the images for this product

  6. Optional: To improve your SEO, enter values into all the Image Alt Text fields. Learn more about Image alt text.

  7. Save the CSV file and import it to Shopify.

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