Creating and Importing the Data File

How, then, do you create an import file? Virtually all spreadsheet and database programs have a way to export to the .csv format. You could, in theory, create the file in a text editor, but you probably shouldn't; it's easy to make mistakes. The easiest program to use is a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, but merchants with large product catalogs may already have their products in a database. If you exported a .csv file from Catalog Manager and have Excel installed on your system, you'll probably find the file automatically opens in that program.

□ note Understanding how to use a spreadsheet and a word processor's search-and-replace — function can make your data manipulation easy. For instance, let's say you want to use the same information in the Name field and in the ID field so your .html pages have words from the product name in the filename—Merchant Solutions uses the ID as the product page's filename. First, sort your data in the spreadsheet alphabetically by the Name column, then copy the Name column and paste it into a word processor. (You may be able to do the following search-and-replace functions in your spreadsheet, but generally the word processor's tools are better.) Use the search-and-replace function to remove commas, apostrophes, quotation marks, periods, & symbols, slashes (/), and non-important words such as articles and prepositions (the, with, by, on, in, for, and so on). Replace all spaces and slashes with a dash. Then replace any multiple dashes you may have with a single dash, and remove preceding and trailing dashes. Make sure you don't have any duplicates in the list, and then paste the column into your spreadsheet as a new ID column.

Here's how to get your product data into Merchant Solutions:

1. Create a spreadsheet or database file using all the field names from the file you downloaded from Catalog Manager (with the exception of the Family field, which you can ignore).

2. If you want to assign products to categories, use the Path field, too.

Dnote Remember that Merchant Solutions' IDs can contain only letters, numbers, and dashes. If ^— the IDs in your data file contain other characters, those characters will be replaced with dashes.

3. Enter all your product data into the file.

5. In the Catalog Manager home page, click the Upload Items link (or click the Upload tab elsewhere in Catalog Manager).

6. Click the Upload button.


Click "Upload" to upload a spreadsheet containing revisions to your items. Once you have uploaded your spreadsheet and addressed any critical errors, click "Commit" to apply your changes to the database. (When the "Revert" button is active, you may revert to the last saved version of your catalog.) Click "Download" to download a spreadsheet containing your existing item information.


7. Select the table where you want the data to be imported (ignore this if you have not set up multiple tables).

Be careful with the Rebuild option; it throws away the existing data and replaces it with the data from the new file. In addition, any page formatting you've done in your product and section pages is lost; for instance, if you link from a product to another product (see Chapter 16), or if you create a product accessory (see Chapter 14), that information is lost. Also, if the data file you are importing doesn't include a product that is already in the store database, that product will be removed from the database. It's always safer to use the Add option—products can be changed, products can be added, but no products will be removed. The Rebuild option is an extreme measure that should only be used if you want to totally start over with your product database and store structure.

8. Click the Add button if you are adding new data to the product database or modifying existing products; click Rebuild if you want to completely remove all products in the store database and replace them with the new data.

9. Click the Browse button and find the file you want to import.

10. Click the Upload button.

Dnote When using the Add import, if you have a blank data field, the corresponding field in the

__database will be emptied. However, if you do not include a particular data column, the corresponding data in the database will be untouched. For example, if your spreadsheet doesn't include a Sale-price column and the existing data in the database does include Sale-price data, the Sale-price data will be retained. If you want to clear the fields you must include the Sale-price column in the spreadsheet and make sure the fields in the column are empty.

11. A table appears showing what you are importing and any error messages if the system found problems with your data file. In the example in Figure 13-1, the system has found a column of data that it doesn't recognize. It will still import the data but will ignore the unknown fields. If everything looks okay, click the Commit button.

12. In the confirmation page that appears, click the Add or Rebuild button.

13. Click the Items tab at the top of the page. Review your product data to ensure everything looks okay. If everything's fine, you're finished.

14. If you see problems, return to the Upload page. The previous Upload table is still present.

15. Click the Revert button to remove database changes and return to the previous product database.

16. In the confirmation page, click the Revert button.

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