Importing WooCommerce Product Categories – WooCommerce Product Import Export

The Best Product Import Export Plugin for WooCommerce

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Since categories are a useful way to sort and organize your products, our Product Import Export Plugin For WooCommerce enables you to import hierarchical category structures as well as multiple categories which are associated with a specific product. Hence, you can easily import your categories and subcategories from a CSV/ XML file.
Product categories must be entered in the uploading CSV/XML file. While importing, if a product has multiple categories, they are separated by ‘|’, and if a product has a category with a hierarchical structure, they are separated with ‘>’.

Let us understand this procedure with the help of the following example:

Suppose, you have the following two products in your CSV file. The products with respective categories are as shown in a sample CSV below:


Note: You can download a sample CSV here.

Following are the steps to import products with their respective categories:

  • Navigate to WooCommerce > Product Im-Ex section of the plugin. Under Product > Import, move to Import Product in CSV /XML Format section, as shown below:

Import settings: Choose a file from the file selection option and click Upload file and import. You can also map the fields with column headings (CSV file header), and use Evaluation field to fix/update the required value for the particular field. Finally, click Submit to import the products into your online store.

To know more about importing products, read this article.

Once the import is successful, we can see the products have come perfectly into the system.


The plugin also generates thumbnails for products by using URL of images which is specified in the CSV file.

The products get imported as shown below:


Following are the product edit pages of the respective simple and variable products.

Simple Product


In the above image, you can see the simple product – Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos is imported to WooCommerce with a product category Mobile Phone, as specified in the CSV.

Variation Product

Variable Product

In the above image, you can see the variation product – Men’s Cotton T-Shirt is imported to WooCommerce with the hierarchical product category, as specified in the CSV.

You can view the imported categories under Products > Categories section. It is as shown below:

Product categories

To know more about other features of the plugin, read the documentation.

The Best Product Import Export Plugin for WooCommerce

#1 in WordPress Official Plugin Repository With 50,000+ Active Installs

#1 in Customer Satisfaction With Most 5 Star Reviews

WebToffee Guarantee: Get Your Money Back if You Are Not Satisfied With The Product

Buy Now!
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13 thoughts on “Importing WooCommerce Product Categories – WooCommerce Product Import Export

  1. Jerry says:

    How do you make sure that the products import into existing categories? I did an import and it created new subcategories which should have matched existing ones. Do you use the category slugs or the full name?

    • Alan
      Alan says:


      Our plugin uses the category name to import a product into an existing category. If you are having an issue with importing category using the category name then please reach us via support with the importing CSV file so that we can check it.

  2. Carl says:

    Is it possible to merge csv imports?
    I have my categories on seperate csv files. Some products are duplicated in 2 or more categories. When I import a file with a product that already is in a category, the previously allocated category is overridden with the new one and I have to manually assign the deleted category. How can I overcome this?

    • Alan
      Alan says:


      If you are required to import a new category to a product that is already having a category then you may please include the existing category name along with the new category in the CSV. You may please separate those categories using the pipe symbol( | ). Eg: If a product X already has a category Y and you are required to import new category Z to X then you may please specify the data in the category column as “Y|Z”.

  3. Patrick says:

    I took your sample CSV and filled in product information and “Heating|Fixtures” in product categories it does not separate them into separate categories it creates a new category that reads Heating|Fixtures ??

  4. Julia says:


    i´m having problems to upload my csv right, it´s not taking hierarchical categories like Bekleidung > Tops & Shirts It just uploading Tops & Shirts… What i´m doing wrong? Thank you

    • Alan
      Alan says:

      Hi Julia,

      You may please specify the category as “Bekleidung|Bekleidung > Tops & Shirts” in the CSV in order to import the product under the categories Bekleidung and Tops & Shirts. Following the format “Bekleidung > Tops & Shirts” will create categories Bekleidung and Tops & Shirts however product will be uploaded only under Tops & Shirts.

  5. Kenneth Augustyn says:

    Stunning article you have shared with us and it will be very valuable for me to increase my skills. I really impressed by your blog because you have good knowledge of import product categories. I really thankful to you.

  6. jmjose
    jmjose says:

    “Condensate Pump > Apollo Pump” is what is in the Products Categories field but the import still fails. However, upon checking the Product Categories list, Apollo Pump and its parent category Condensate Pump were created but has 0 products in it. Can you help me debug as to why this is happening?

  7. info1170
    info1170 says:

    When exporting my products the categories are separated with “|” however, when they are imported the | doesn’t separate them properly. For example, if the export has “Category A|Category B” the categories are imported as one category with the name “Category A|Category B”, not two separate categories.

    Can you help me find a solution to this?

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