989 days since this post was last revised. Specific details are likely out of date.

A few years back I used to do a lot of work with Magento e-commerce based websites. You’ll find a few posts in the archives about wrestling Magento to do certain things.

Recently I have been working with Magento again (v1.7.0.2) and one thing that is still incredibly limiting in Magento is the import facility. If you’ve ever had to try and import products through the Magento Dataflow profiles you’ll know what a world of pain it is:

  • No ability to import multiple images (for gallery images and the like)
  • No ability to import categories
  • No ability to import cross/up-sells and related items
  • No ability to include tiered pricing (dependent upon customer group)
  • Plus it runs like a sack of loose shit…

Thankfully a year or more ago I discovered Magmi. If you want to import anything into Magento, use Magmi. It’s brilliant. Seb Bracquemont, the developer of Magmi, please take a bow…

The homepage for Magmi is: http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/magmi/index.php and quite why Magento don’t just buy the project and its developer I will never know. Have a good look at the docs. It might seem a little complex at first but believe me, this will make life with Magento a whole lot easier. Need to import from a remote CSV? No problem. Need to update image options? Magmi can do that. Want to create all your categories on the fly and activate them in one fell swoop? Yep, that too!

Magmi still seems to be a tool few people use. I’m hoping that this post will do three things: 1. Raise awareness of Magmi as it deserves more recognition 2. Make life easier for you when you need to import into Magento 3: Persuade people to support the project as it’s superb!

How does it work?
From a technology perspective I’ll confess I have no idea; some SQL injection interface jiggery! However from your point of view as a developer building a Magento store, it means you can create a CSV with the kind of structure you want and overcome all the problems mentioned above. Easily. Now I’ll be the first to admit that the interface can be a little daunting but if you take the time to read the docs you will realise you can import just about anything.

Here’s an example CSV format:

When making a test CSV for Magmi import, just make sure you have the ability to enclose all values in double quotes. Excel can’t save to CSV doing this (surprise surprise) but OpenOffice can. From the menu go File, Save As, select ‘Edit filter settings’ and click Save. Then choose ‘Keep Current Format’ and ensure ‘Quote all text cells’ is selected.


You’ll notice there’s a few things in there you can’t easily do with Magento, namely gallery images and product options. A breeze with Magmi! Another killer feature is you can specify the categories you want a product to live in like this in your CSV:

"My category/sub category;Another cat/another sub category"

Not only will that put the product in those two categories, if they don’t already exist, it will make them on import!

The best bit? It’s lightning fast! If you are used to watching Magento trundle through product imports a line at a time you will be in for a pleasant surprise. Magmi does it in seconds.

In case you hadn’t already gathered, I’m a bit of a fan. If you do any sort of product importing for Magento, do yourself a favour and get acquainted with Magmi. It will make your life a lot easier!

About The Author

Ben Frain is front-end web developer and author based in Cheshire, UK.
His books, 'Responsive web design with HTML5 & CSS3' and 'Sass and Compass for Designers' are available now.
You can follow him on Twitter @benfrain.