I am doing the following:

$productCollection = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')

    ->addAttributeToFilter('my_attribute', 1);

my_attribute is not in the flat tables, but flat tables are enabled.

I keep getting the full collection.

The reason seems to be in \Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Product_Collection::addAttributeToSelect:

$columns = $this->getEntity()->getAttributeForSelect($attributeCode);

No $this->getEntity() is an instance of Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Product_Flat which fetches the flat fields - and if none is found, just returns null.

What is a clean way to add a non-flat attribute to the collection filter?

In my case it does not sense, to add the attribute to the flat table.

  • Hi sir ARE you KIND Enought to resolve Confusion ?? WAT is mean by non-flat attribute ? Thanks .and dont make magento Confusing .It is already confusing Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 11:37
  • I am talking about attributes which are not in the flat index. These are those with "Used in Product Listing" set to "No".
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 13:53

5 Answers 5


You could join the necessary table yourself.

$productCollection = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')

$table = Mage::getSingleton('eav/config')->getAttribute('catalog_product', 'my_attribute')->getBackend()->getTable();
$attributeId = Mage::getSingleton('eav/config')->getAttribute('catalog_product', 'my_attribute')->getAttributeId();

$productCollection->getSelect()->join(array('attributeTable' => $table), 'e.entity_id = attributeTable.entity_id', array('my_attribute' => 'attributeTable.value'))
                            ->where("attributeTable.attribute_id = ?", $attributeId)
                            ->where("attributeTable.value = ?", 1);

You might want to join by store_id, too.

  • I think I would still have the problem that I do not get the products of all stores. (whenever I did not originally see this problem in my question). Looks like I want to fully disable the flat indices.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 16:15
  • If you need all products, then flat tables won't be your friends, yes. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 16:19
  • I guess you may want to modify your question or accept my answer (which works for the original question), then. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 9:48
  • awasome.. concept
    – Amit Bera
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 14:07

A hack (CE is to pass the condition as an array and believe it or not this works as intended:

$collection->addFieldToFilter(array(array('attribute' => 'my_attribute', 'eq' => 1)));
  • Any clue why that works?
    – Alex
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 12:09
  • 3
    It works because for eav collection addFieldToFiler is a wrapper for addAttributeToFilter and this has an option to pass the attribute as an array: if (is_array($attribute)) { $sqlArr = array(); foreach ($attribute as $condition) { $sqlArr[] = $this->_getAttributeConditionSql($condition['attribute'], $condition, $joinType); } $conditionSql = '('.implode(') OR (', $sqlArr).')'; }
    – Marius
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 10:35
  • @Marius, does that mean it's not a hack? :P Can I feel good about using it?
    – Erfan
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 6:53
  • 3
    @Erfan. it's not a hack. it's a feature.
    – Marius
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 7:04
  • Sweet. It's still kinda odd the product table implementation (eav/flat) isn't abstracted away for things as simple as filtering a collection. Does this mean I always need to use addFieldToFilter instead of addAttributeToFilter in my code, because I won't know if it's using eav or flat? Whats the point of addAttributeToFilter anyway?
    – Erfan
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 8:46

The reason ColinM's answer works is due to the code in app/code/core/Mage/Catalog/Model/Resource/Product/Collection.php's addAttributeToFilter method. If you use this array format, it doesn't call addAttributeToSelect. In flat mode, addAttributeToSelect silently fails if the attribute is not in the flat table.

(below is a re-hash of my answer on https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6271284/can-i-add-other-attributes-to-magentos-flat-product-catalog-table/17021620 - I'm not sure what the etiquette is for that but know I would've found it helpful)

I wanted a "clean" solution for flat-mode collection selecting and filtering on non-flat attributes, which:

  • does not require the attribute to have specific settings in admin (it might be added by a user, or hidden on the front end)
  • works for both flat and non-flat mode

I used the associated product collection, but this applies to any EAV collection.

Failing code:

$_product = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->loadByAttribute( 'sku', 'ABC123' );
$coll = $_product->getTypeInstance()->getAssociatedProductCollection()
    ->addAttributeToSelect( 'my_custom_attribute' )
    ->addAttributeToFilter( 'my_custom_attribute', 3 )

In flat mode, the above code silently fails to select or filter on the attribute if it happens not to be in the flat table.

Adding to the select:

$_product = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->loadByAttribute( 'sku', 'ABC123' );
$coll = $_product->getTypeInstance()->getAssociatedProductCollection()
    ->joinAttribute( 'my_custom_attribute', 'catalog_product/my_custom_attribute', 'entity_id', null, 'left' )
    ->addAttributeToSelect( 'my_custom_attribute' )

The joinAttribute method adds a join to the query for the specific attribute requested. It still works when the attribute is already in the flat table, but will be slightly less efficient than purely using the flat table.

I've used a left join there, to ensure that it fetches products if my_custom_attribute is not set on those products. Change that for inner if you're only interested in rows where my_custom_attribute is set.

Adding to the filter (as per ColinM above):

$_product = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->loadByAttribute( 'sku', 'ABC123' );
$coll = $_product->getTypeInstance()->getAssociatedProductCollection()
    ->addAttributeToFilter( array( array( 'attribute' => 'my_custom_attribute', 'eq' => 3 ) ) )

The above code will add it to the select as well as obeying your filter.

(tested in CE


In the Mage_Rss module they used the a hacky-method to disable the flat tables. They use the fact, that flat tables are always off in the admin store and so just emulate the admin store.

class Mage_Rss_Helper_Data {


 * Disable using of flat catalog and/or product model to prevent limiting results to single store. Probably won't
 * work inside a controller.
 * @return null
public function disableFlat()
    /* @var $flatHelper Mage_Catalog_Helper_Product_Flat */
    $flatHelper = Mage::helper('catalog/product_flat');
    if ($flatHelper->isEnabled()) {
        /* @var $emulationModel Mage_Core_Model_App_Emulation */
        $emulationModel = Mage::getModel('core/app_emulation');
        // Emulate admin environment to disable using flat model - otherwise we won't get global stats
        // for all stores
        $emulationModel->startEnvironmentEmulation(0, Mage_Core_Model_App_Area::AREA_ADMINHTML);

After starting the emulation you should reset it with emulationModel->stopEnvironmentEmulation()

  • Where was this answer 3 days ago? ;_;
    – sg3s
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 12:58
  • Right here? Since Mar 20.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 13:59

when you create the attribute it should be on the Global level and filterable. This way it will be usable in the layared navigation. Also it will require the attribute to be a dropdown or multiselect. I would personally advice against changing the core files to fit your needs in this case

  • I do not want the attribute in the frontend filter - I simply want to do a collection filtering for internal use.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 15:54

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