So, I'm using Magento on a project and I'm seeing I have options for import, export, and dataflow profiles. In previous versions I've used the interface has been like the dataflow profiles. What is the difference between these, and what are some scenarios which I should be using each one?

The reason I'm asking is because I've been trying to import products with new images and it's not working whatsoever. Using the Import feature it's all going through without any error messages. When I try to import the same file using dataflow, it gives me errors about the images not existing, and there are also other errors since it looks like the exported data using the export feature isn't in the proper format to import using the dataflow profiles. I can't find any information in the forums or anywhere else, so maybe someone can shed some light for me.

1 Answer 1


In short: Don't use Dataflow for anything, it's deprecated. Yoav Kutner once (2011) said that Dataflow is not usable, and that was the reason they added ImportExport in Magento 1.5. The main disadvantage of Dataflow is its very low speed.

ImportExport is much faster. It's not perfect as its CSV format is not too intuitive (I have summarized it at http://www.integer-net.com/2012/04/04/importing-products-with-the-import-export-interface/), it doesn't support all product types (only simple, virtual, grouped and configurable) and the export supports even less functions (for example no grouped products). But it's very reliable and faster than all other import methods. And it still has a lot of features, like product relations, custom options, product images and tier prices. By the way, the CSV format is different from the Dataflow format, the two modules are not compatible to each other.

I have written a comparison of all import methods I know at http://www.integer-net.com/2014/05/27/product-import-with-magento/. It includes a description of all methods (among them Dataflow and ImportExport), a comparison of features and performance tests.

  • Thanks so much! This is exactly what I'm looking for, and your extra link described the problem I was facing about images not showing up in the media gallery on the back end. Two birds with one stone, kudos :) Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 22:00

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