CSV Is A Simple Format, WordPress Can Be Complex

WP CSV allows you to change a lot of fields, even the ‘hidden’ internal fields that plugin authors never intended you to manually change. The advice on this page is here to help you avoid the most common mistakes. The couple of minutes it’ll take you to read through it could easily save you a couple of hours of banging your head against a wall.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility :)

First things first, BACKUP YOUR SITE! My plugin almost definitely won’t break your site by malfunctioning, but you could easily break something if you put the wrong kind of data in certain fields (especially if you change and import those ‘hidden’ fields that plugin authors didn’t ever intend for you to change directly).

Export First (And Side Step 90% Of The Complexity)

The plugin is designed to let WP and your spreadsheet do the heavy lifting. Instead of you having to know how WP and all your plugins format their fields, why not just export a post and use its fields as a template for others?

Ok, This Is How To Make Your Life A Lot Easier…

  1. Manually create at least one page or post exactly how you want it
  2. Export ALL fields to begin with (then use the filter if you want to remove fields)
  3. Create your first Export CSV
  4. Look at the data in your current posts and pages to understand what is needed in new ones
  5. Use one row in your spreadsheet as a template for similar pages or posts
  6. Cut and paste will greatly simplify the task of creating new content
  7. After copying a row, don’t forget to make the id blank so that a new post is created

Add, Modify, and Delete

When you export, each and every post will have an ID.  For this example, let’s assume the ID is ‘123’.  You can use the ID field to control whether your post/page is updated, a new post/page is created, or if it should be moved to trash.  Using our imaginary post 123 as an example:

Add: Make the ID field blank to create a new page or post using the details on that row of the spreadsheet.

Modify: Leave the ID field as it is.  Product 123 will be updated with any changes you make.

Delete: To move a post/page to trash, simply add a minus sign.  So ‘123’ becomes ‘-123’.

Removing Columns, Re-ordering, Manually Creating an Import File, Etc

Sorry, but all these things are currently mistakes that have the potential to cost you a lot of time.

Use the export file as a template. Don’t change the column names or order.

There are filters on the settings page that you can use to reduce the number of columns. The file that exports is correctly formatted for re-import. Don’t alter it unless you understand the risks and can solve all problems you encounter yourself.

European Users

The CSV format isn’t the same everywhere in the world. Westerners use a comma (‘,’) delimiter, whereas in many European countries the delimiter is a semi-colon (‘;’). European copies of Excel will open comma separated CSV files, but when you save, the delimiter will change to a semi-colon and then WP CSV won’t be able to import your file until you change , to ; on the settings page.

Choice Of Spreadsheet Program

Excel is not always best. I strongly recommend Open Office Calc (100% FREE).

In my experience, Excel doesn’t always handle non-english character sets well and a lot of users find it difficult to see or change the delimiter and enclosure to match WP CSV.

Another option is Google Drive, which also works well.

More Detailed Information

Please also use the FAQ, and the Column Descriptions, which answer many of the other most common questions.

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