Can I import that file?

A question about compatibility of a csv import module with a csv file is quite common and a simple answer usually is yes, but there is another main question you should ask. How does the data fit to the store? Let me explain a general approach to importing a data from any file to your store.

Here is a standard situation, a customer gets a file from their supplier and it is unclear how to import data from that file. Usually suppliers provide csv files to customers. That csv format is common and simple but inside the file the columns may be different. Here we will discuss csv files mostly, but investigation steps are similar to any files.

The simplest solution when the supplier can recommend the module developed by them or their partners and that module is dedicated to their format. In that case you gets that module and use according to their instructions but that situation is rare because of many reasons.

Let's pretend a more common case that you have a csv file from a supplier without any module. First of all you should examine that file manually by opening it in an application like OpenOffice Calc (we recommend this application because it is free and works great with csv files).

After checking all the data from the file you should create a couple of products manually from that file in the store. It will greatly help in understanding where you would like to import each column and how it will fit. At this stage you may realize that the store needs an extra functionality to perfectly use all the data from the file.

For further references we highly recommend to write down all columns from that file to a spreadsheet (MS Excel, Google Sheets,etc.) and describe next to each column where the data should go or if the column can be ignored. That information may also help you describe your need to a developer.

With full understanding of how the data should be imported you can check available import solutions and see if they can import the data according to your requirements. It might be possible that an import module cannot import the data from some columns, or the module requires specific column names. In some cases, the import module can be adjusted to work with your format.

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