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I'm creating a product (it's always a custom build - so there is never any stock to manage) with a massive number of options.....

I want to break the product down into sub sets and allow the user to select from drop down boxes or enter text fields for each of the sub sets. Some of the options will have an extra cost. Some of the options also have their own sub sets (which complicates things even more)

To better explain

PRODUCT

SIZE

SEX (Drop Down Selector)

HEIGHT

WEIGHT

MEASUREMENT A

MEASUREMENT B

MEASUREMENT C

MEASUREMENT D

MEASUREMENT E

CUSTOM OPTIONS

OPTION 1 (Yes/No) +£0.00

(If Option 1 = Yes)

SubOption 1 (Text Field), SubOption 2 (Dropdown)

OPTION 2 (Yes/No) +£0.00

OPTION 3 (Drop Down) +£5.00 - £355.00

OPTION 4 (Yes/No) +£45.00

OPTION 5 (Yes/No)

OPTION 6 (Text Field)

FURTHER OPTIONS

OPTION 1 (Drop Down)

OPTION 2 (Drop Down)

OPTION 3 (Drop Down)

OPTION 4 (Drop Down)

OPTION 5 (Drop Down)

OPTION 6 (Drop Down)

..... and so on...

I don't want all the options to be listed on the same page, as it's going to look pretty overwhelming and lead to dropped sales.

The Magento system doesn't quite appear to be able to handle this - or I'm missing how to do it, so any help would be very much appreciated.

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No, there is no default way in Magento to achieve this.
However I have found an extension (Magento Custom Options Templates by MageComp) that might help you. It allows you to show only those options based on the few options that can be selected.
You can see the demo for the extension. http://magecomp.biz/demo1/index.php/custom-options-template/bespoke-shirt.html
Hope it helps.

  • Bought the extension after a brief test on their live demo.... Regret doing so... This extension from MAGECOMP has fallen over and failed numerous times (and I've not finished entering the options yet) All sorts of fails, randomly deleting blocks of data, empting a single field (normally a required name field) The last fail happened when I hit Save Template - It emptied the entire dataset which had taken about 40 mins to create. Will keep hunting - but advise others to stay away from that extension \ company. – SkydiveNow May 31 '16 at 22:35
  • Really sorry to hear that. I actually stumbled upon this one, and thought this would really useful as it created dependent custom options. I did a thorough test on their demo site, but I guess it wasn't enough. Again really sorry I made a bad suggestion. – V.S Jun 2 '16 at 15:03

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