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A client of mine would like to have a filter (in the left menu, on product listing pages) which updates the product's in the product listing bases on the selection in the filter. Values in the filter would include attributes like length, material etc. So far the request is quite common of course.

But, whats specific for this request is that (as products are imported from an ERP), there are no attributes filled. All the 'attributes' are contained in the names of the products. So a product has a name like for example 'Product X 250mm grey steel cable". The client would like to supply the values for the filter, for example "grey" and "steel". When a user clicks on a value, the products which have that term in their product name, show up. It should be possible to select multiple values.

I have already informed the client that it's wiser to move all the data, which is now in the product names to separate attributes, but as the product stock contains a large amount of products this is not really an option at the moment.

What would be the best approach?

Thanks in advance

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In my opinion, you should create product attribute in magento, attributes like color, material etc all attribute that you need. Next you can create a script that will fill these values in corresponding fields and if that value is not in product options lists then you ned to enter that value dynamically using same script. Attributes created should be dropdown, multi select or of price type then only we can use it in layered navigation.

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