Import / Export

Importing and exporting online store data using the Volusion Import / Export system allows you to quickly update or modify the database tables that form the information backbone of your store. From updating new products to integrating with third-party services, this system lets you harness the power of Volusion, take control of your store, and extend operations beyond the Volusion ecommerce system.

Contents

To get started, go to Inventory > Import/Export in your Admin Area. article/import/export-camera show image-import export-click import export

Standard Import

Select the Standard Import tab at the top of the page. article/import/export-camera show image-standard import-click standard import

Please note that only CSV files can be imported.

The Import function allows you to quickly import a large amount of data to create new data within a table, replace an entire table with new data, or update existing data. The system can also perform diagnostic operations to test data being imported into the system. 

There are several methods that can be used to import data into your store. No matter what method you use, you should export first so you can view the column headings and ensure your import data matches the proper format. This same file can then be modified and used as the import file.

Importing a file

There are several controls you must configure in order to successfully import a file:

Step 1: Choose a Table

From the Import To dropdown menu, choose the database table into which you want to import data. You can only import data into one table at a time, so if you have multiple tables you will need to execute multiple imports.  article/import/export-camera show image-standard import-choose table

Step 2: Choose a File Name

Click Browse or place your cursor into the text field, navigate to the file you want to import, and click Open.

Step 3: Overwrite Existing Data?

Choose one of the following import types:  article/import/export-camera show image-standard import-import type

No, do not change any records already in my database

Any new data defined within the import file will be added to the chosen database table. However, if the system encounters any data within the file that looks to overwrite existing data within the table, these entries will be ignored.

For example, if during the import of the Products table, the system encounters a Product Code that already exists within the Products table, this set of data in the import file will be ignored and that entry will not be modified during the import.

Yes, replace any existing data with my new updated data

The table will be updated with any new data contained in the import file and any existing database table entry with equivalent data in the import file will be modified.

Using the previous example, when this option is selected, if a pre-existing entry in the Products table has a price field that differs from the same entry within the import file, that entry in the database will be updated with the price from the import file.

Clear entire table and replace with this import file

The contents of the table will be erased and replaced with the contents of the import file.

WARNING! This option should only be used if you want to delete all content of a table and rebuild it from scratch using the import file. Any pre-existing data within the table will be permanently removed from the system.

Step 4: Import

Once the above settings are configured, click Import.

Note that this process may take several minutes, depending on the number of records to be imported. You should also allow time for the data to be processed: for example, it should take about half a minute to import 100 products, five minutes to import 1,000 and so on.

After the Import

When the import is complete, a message stating that the import was successful is displayed. The message will also tell you to Click Here To Index. You must do this to include all the newly imported data in your site searches.

The Common Import Errors article covers errors that may occur during the importing of data.

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Standard Export

This section covers how to export information out of your Volusion system and into an external file. Data export functions within Volusion support exporting to CSV, TAB, PIPE, and XML file formats. Exporting data allows you to:

  • Obtain a list of customer information for the Customers table that can be used in a spreadsheet program to create marketing or sales reports
  • Create a list of products and current stock values for an inventory review
  • Export store data to a file in order to import it into a third-party program like QuickBooks
  • Create a file that can be manually updated and imported back into the store to update the store database
  • And more

Executing an Export

Click Standard Export or select Export Wizard from the dropdown. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Choose a Table

From the Export From dropdown list, select the table from which you want to export data. You can only export data from the tables listed in this dropdown menu and can only export data from one table at a time. article/import/export-camera show image-standard export-export table

Step 2: Choose Columns to Export

When you select a table to export from, the columns contained within the table will be displayed with their data types in parenthesis. Select those you want to export. The column marked with an asterisk (*) is known as the primary key – the column for each table containing the unique identifier for every element in the table. We recommend that you always export this value, especially if you’re preparing a file that will be imported back. article/import/export-camera show image-standard export-choose columns

Note that columns marked with two asterisks (**) are dynamic virtual columns comprised of 2 or more connecting tables. This data can be exported, but it cannot be imported back into the system. 

Step 3: Choose a File Format

As mentioned above, Volusion supports four file types for importing and exporting data – CSV, TAB, PIPE, and XML.  article/import/export-camera show image-standard export-choose file format

Exporting as Unicode

Unicode is a method that certain software and operating systems use to generate letters, numbers, and characters, often for operating systems designed for use in European and Asian countries. Data stored in the Volusion database in Unicode format may produce errors if you attempt to export data to CSV files.

If you encounter the error message Invalid Procedure Call or Argument while attempting to export data, it is likely that Unicode-based characters within the export are the cause. 

If this is the case, try exporting the data to a different file type or enabling the option Export as Unicode. To open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click on the Data option.
  3. Select Import External Data from the Excel menu.

Step 4: Export

Click Exportarticle/import/export-camera show image-standard export-click export

Note that all data from each selected column will be exported. This means an export from a very large table (e.g. a Products table that contains 100,000 individual products) may take several minutes to execute. Once the export is complete, a message is displayed showing a link that will allow you to download and save the export file.

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Saved Exports

The Saved Exports page is where you can create, save, and run exports in your store's Query Bank. You can use this if you have data export tasks that need to be executed on a regular basis, such as exporting data to CSVs to help generate quarterly sales reports.

To access the Saved Exports page, go to Inventory > Import / Export in your Admin Area and select the Saved Exports tab. article/import/export-camera show image-standard export-saved exports

Step 1: Choose a Query

Choose a saved query from the dropdown menu. article/import/export-camera show image-standard export-select saved query

To see all queries or create a new one, click List All Queries or Add New Query . This will open the Query Bank. See below for further information.

Step 2: Choose a File Format

From the File Format dropdown, choose the file type to export to – CSV, TAB, PIPE, or XML.

Step 3: Export

Click Export to run the export.

The Query Bank

The Query Bank is a powerful tool for advanced users to build their own SQL (Structured Query Language) queries. You need a working knowledge of SQL to make effective use of this page. Volusion Support cannot provide help with SQL scripting or troubleshooting.

The Query Bank can be reached a number of ways within your Admin Area. As described above, it can be accessed through the Saved Exports page. You can also access it from the Bulk Update and Bookmark Results links above most tables. 

The Query Bank page contains the following information:

ID

This is an auto-generated, numeric value used to identify each query saved within the Query Bank.

QB Customer ID

The ID of the store administrator who will have access to run the query. To enable all administrators to have access to the query, set this field to 0.

QB Access List

This shows who has access to the query beyond the administrator shown in the QB_CustomerID field. Click Click To Edit to expand the list and add administrators.

QB Table

The database table on which the query is to be performed. It will also determine which parts of the Admin Area the Export Results and Bookmark Results links for this query will be available (e.g. setting this field to Customers will make the export  only apply for the Customers table and the export will only display within the export tool in the Customers page in the Admin Page). To configure this setting to always appear within the store's Query Bank link, set to DB_Export.

QB Title

In this field, define a title for the saved export. This is the name that will be shown under in the Query Bank.

QB QueryType

This dropdown list lets you choose whether to save this query as a Select or Update query type. Select queries select data from a database and return values. Update queries can also update information in the database.

QB Query

This area contains the actual SQL statements to be executed when a query is run.

QB Export_ FileType

This dropdown lists the file format options for the output file.

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Volusion API

The Volusion API is a powerful tool you can use to extend the usability of the Volusion ecommerce system and share information from the Volusion system in XML format with other applications and services. Volusion can integrate with software from shipping providers, fulfillment services, social networking applications, and more.

Note

In order to access the Volusion API, you must be on a qualifying pricing plan (Pro, Premium, Gold, or Platinum). The API was designed for third- party developers to create custom integrations between Volusion and other applications or services. This portion of the software is described in detail in Where Do I Find Information on the Volusion API?. For additional information visit Volusion's online API developer community.

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QuickBooks Export

One of the most useful export features available is the ability to integrate with other software and services like QuickBooks. By integrating your store's information with QuickBooks, you can process order and financial information with ease.

There are two ways to integrate your store data with QuickBooks.

The first method uses an IIF file export tool that allows you to export your store data to Intuit's proprietary QuickBooks file type that will enable easy update to the QuickBooks software.

The second, more powerful method is through the Volusion API. Using QuickBooks Web Connector, you can leverage the Volusion API so your store automatically updates your QuickBooks software with your store's financial information. Using QuickBooks Web Connector with the Volusion API provides a degree of automation for Volusion / QuickBooks users wishing to share information between the two products.

For more information see the QuickBooks Integration article.

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Tips and Special Settings

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Volusion's Import / Export functions provide a powerful set of tools that allow management of a great deal of data within your store in a fast and efficient manner. However, there are some things you need to consider, particularly when using CSV file types.

Virtual Columns

As mentioned earlier, some tables within the Volusion system contain virtual columns (fields of data that are formed dynamically within the table). Virtual columns are marked within the export wizard with a double-asterisk (**). These fields are essentially read-only. You can export data from these columns, but when attempting to import these columns, you may encounter errors.

We recommend that you remove these columns from any CSV file that will be imported into the system.

Importing HTML

Volusion allows you to enter HTML in a large number of fields within the Admin Area – for example, in product descriptions or email article fields. CSV files, especially when displayed within file editors such as Microsoft Excel, usually cannot properly render HTML code. When viewing or editing a CSV file containing exported Volusion store data with HTML, formatting issues may arise within a CSV file when attempting to view or edit it.

Microsoft CSV vs. Macintosh CSV

Within the Macintosh version of Microsoft Excel, there are options to save workbooks as multiple types of CSV files. To avoid formatting compatibility issues, Mac users should save CSV files exclusively in the Windows CSV file format to ensure the CSV file is formatted according to Microsoft's CSV layout.

Extraneous Commas in CSV Files

Another frequent error when importing CSV files is caused by the inclusion of a leading comma at the end of a data cell where there should be none. For example, assigning a product to multiple categories or a coupon to multiple product codes simply by entering one product code or category after another separating each value by a comma.

However, in terms of importing data into the system, if a column such as Category(s) within the Products table ends with a comma, the import operation will fail at that point in the file because the extra leading comma tells the system that it should expect an additional value to be present. When no additional value is present, the import cannot continue.

You should inspect data prior to executing an import to avoid such errors.

File Export / Import Shortcuts

The following tips are provided to more efficiently utilize the import / export functions within Volusion. There are some ways to speed up the process required to update parts of the store.

Don't Import / Export Everything

If you want to use the Import / Export page to update product prices, you don't need to export and then import every field within your store. Doing so will be time consuming and may make troubleshooting the import file much more difficult, should the import fail.

For updating only one, two, or a few fields within a table, build the import file by exporting just those columns plus the primary key (the column that contains the one unique value the system uses to identify each entry within a table). Then, make changes to the exported file, save it, and import it using the Yes, Replace Any Existing Data With My New Updated Data option.

This will update each individual field at the same time, leaving the other database columns not contained within the import file untouched.

Time-Outs

Very large database table imports can consume a great deal of resources within your store. If you attempt to add hundreds of thousands of elements to your store's database, you may encounter what is called a time-out error once the web browser time limit has expired.

In this case, the web browser has submitted commands to your store's server and is awaiting a response. If, for whatever reason, a response is severely delayed, the browser assumes the request failed and produces a time-out error.

This could be caused if the content of the file you’re attempting to import is simply too vast to import at one time. If you are attempting large exports during your site's peak traffic hours, this might occur as the Volusion system is designed to prioritize traffic to the store front over traffic to your Admin Area.

In the event of a time-out, we recommend that you re-attempt the export or break large files into two or more smaller files to reduce the number of records the system must handle.

If you experience persistent issues with import event time-outs, contact Volusion Technical Support for help resolving this matter.

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Summary

The Import/Export page within the Admin Area not only allows management of store data, but gives access to even more powerful integration features to share that data between Volusion and other software or services.

Watch the Import/Export video series