Adding and Editing Variants with a CSV

9 0 5

Is it possible to add variants to an existing product using a CSV? For example:

Existing product Shirt has Sizes: 1, 2, 3 How do I add Shirt Size 4 through a CSV?

This has been raised in an old thread, but I can't get the suggested solution to work:

If I try a file with:

Shirt Size 1 - i.e. the parent in the first line

Shirt Size 4 - the variant I want to add in the second line

I get error: Line 2-3: ignored because handle Shirt already exists.

Note, this is if I haven't selected the checkbox to overwrite existing products. If I do select to overwrite, then I end up with variants 1 & 4, but variants 2 & 3 get deleted.

I can upload a file with all the variants and ask it to overwrite, but strangely that doesn't work if I have any additional image lines in the CSV, so the only reliable way I've found is to delete the product and variants entirely and upload a fresh version. The issue with that is it breaks the link to a 3rd party app that updates our inventory, which is why I'm trying to add variants, not delete and start again.

Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
575 18 80

Hi, Robin.

This is Max from the Shopify Team. 

It sounds like there are two main elements at play. First, the CSV uploaded would need to include all desired information about a product if you are choosing to overwrite the current details. This means the main product and any relevant variants (1,2, 3 & 4) listed in the correct format.

Some apps require that you import and connect products using their methods rather than a CSV, so that the orders and inventory can be tracked accordingly. Have you considered contacting the App Developer for some advice specific to their requirements? They might have a workaround available for this issue! You should be able to search their contact details in the Shopify admin under Apps by selecting View Details beside the relevant app, or searching the App Store for their contact details. 

If you have any more questions or need some clarification, please feel free to reach out to support directly! 


Max | Social Care @ Shopify
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9 0 5

Hi Max

Thank you for your reply. My question really was whether it's possible to add a variant without touching the existing variants, i.e. not having to overwrite the existing ones. Through the admin interface there is the option to 'add variant' and perhaps that's the best way to do what I need to do, I haven't tested it yet. I just hoped this functionality would be available via a CSV, but it seems from your reply that it's not possible.

We don't want to use the 3rd party app to create or change the listings, just control the inventory stock value. The issue is once the connection between the app and the product is made and inventory is syncing, if we overwrite the product then the inventory is reset and we need to re-establish the link with the 3rd party app.

As an aside, should Shopify ever update the CSV process, it would be great if it worked like this: using an overwrite, any fields not completed would be ignored, any fields completed would overwrite the existing data.

In fact, this does *partially* work. I have found we can use a CSV to update certain product attributes without overwriting the inventory value. This isn't documented anywhere, but I found it through trial and error and it works well. In case this if of use to anyone reading this thread, you can update: tags, titles, descriptions and SEO information without overwriting the inventory value. However, there are some attributes where you need to overwrite the whole product, thus resetting the inventory. The biggest one being price, i.e. you can't update the price without also reseting the inventory (this was a big problem for us, so we had some custom software developed to adjust that from a CSV). It seems adding variants has the same issue.

Best regards



Shopify Partner
17 0 2

Hi, Robin!

You can add Variants to existing products with Bulk Import Export Update with Excel app:

To do that, you need to create an Excel document with needed data, following this tutorial: and import this document into your Shopify store. This is really easy.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Best regards!


66 0 10

It would help if the downloaded sample file contained the "Collections" column, this column is paramount to displaying your products in Shopify, but it's not included in the  sample file

The questin has to be WHY !!!