I know how I can add a product attribute from an installer script, but how do I tell Magento to use one of the values as default value? (or more values in case it's a multiselect attribute).
I use this code in an installer script to add an attribute with options:

$installer->addAttribute('catalog_product', "some_code_here", array(
    'type'       => 'int', //or varchar if it's multiselect
    'input'      => 'select', //or multiselect
    'label'      => 'Attribute label here',
    'sort_order' => 1000,
    'required'   => false,
    'global'     => Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Eav_Attribute::SCOPE_STORE,
    'backend'    => 'eav/entity_attribute_backend_array',
    'option'     => array (
        'values' => array(
            0 => 'Value 1',
            1 => 'Value 2',
            2 => 'Value 3',


So I need to make the Value 2 be the default value. Or Value 2 and Value 3 in case I create a multiselect attribute

  • The only way I know is to get the values after creating the attribute, get the id and update the attribute. I think you tried default => 'value 2’? Jul 22, 2014 at 11:30
  • @FabianBlechschmidt. Thanks. I know this approach, but this is what I'm trying to avoid. I want, if possible, to do it from the install script, without any additional selects and updates. I feel dirty doing it otherwise. But if it's not possible I guess I'll have to tackle it like that.
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 11:32
  • @Marius maybe I am still confused. Is your problem that you have an attribute you add in a set-up script but options are added later via the admin? Or another set-up script? Or something completely different ;) Jul 22, 2014 at 11:42
  • @DavidManners. I'm adding an attribute via a setup script and along with the attribute I add some options. And through the same setup script I want to set one of the options as default. This has nothing to do with the admin. Let's say I create the attribute color with options Red, Green, Blue and I want (without admin interaction) the Green option to be the default one. I hope this was a bit clearer.
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 11:45
  • 1
    @FabianBlechschmidt. Might as well write your comment as an answer. I guess there is no way of doing this from the install script elegantly.
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 12:03

2 Answers 2


tl;dr: For select attributes this cannot be declared directly in the initial addAttribute() call; two calls are required.

In order to set the default value, eav_attribute.defaultmust be set with the primary key value from the eav_attribute_option table At a high level the need for two calls is apparent by looking at the flow and function of the addAttribute() and addAttributeOption() methods:

  1. Prepare values
  2. Insert/update into the eav_attribute table
  3. Insert/update set/group
  4. Call addAttributeOption() to insert/update option values

The only hope then would be that addAttributeOption() will be able to update the eav_attribute record. However, there is no code which does this. The only tables accessed by this method are eav_attribute_option and eav_attribute_option_value.

It is therefore necessary to call getAttribute() after the initial addAttribute() call, grab the attribute option ID and then call updateAttribute().


After the earlier answer I couldn't help but verify my answer against the existing code; after all, for catalog_product entities we have a nice MVC flow to follow thanks to the attribute CRUD GUI. And there it was, in \Mage_Adminhtml_Catalog_Product_AttributeController::saveAction(), that I saw the attribute model being set with the following data just before being saved:

Option and option configuration data visualized with PhpStorm & Xdebug

Note that the attribute's default value has references to the value keys. Do a little digging and you end up at \Mage_Eav_Model_Resource_Entity_Attribute::_saveOption(), which is called from this resource's _afterSave() method - just as you'd expect given that we need to have an eav_attribute record to update. You can even see how multiselect and select defaults are handled in the same place, just before the final update:

$bind  = array('default_value' => implode(',', $attributeDefaultValue));
$where = array('attribute_id =?' => $object->getId());
$adapter->update($this->getMainTable(), $bind, $where);

So, another alternative is to work directly with the resource model.

  • Thanks. I'm very disappointed in this. I took the updateAttribute approach, but there should be a way to do this elegantly. Maybe in Magento 2. oh...and nice explanation.
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 13:15
  • Thanks, but... too bad I'm wrong! Trying to figure out why though.
    – benmarks
    Jul 22, 2014 at 13:29
  • What do you mean you are wrong. To bad you are right :)
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 13:30
  • Updated - thought I was wrong, but I wasn't. It's possible to work directly with the resource model, and there is a precedent for this in how attributes are saved via the GUI.
    – benmarks
    Jul 22, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    Thanks for the update. Great minds thing alike. I ended up in the same place for inspiration. This is exactly how I handled this in the mean time :)
    – Marius
    Jul 22, 2014 at 14:29

In installer These are the two line after addAttribute which ben explain to add default:

$setup = new Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Setup('core_setup');
. . . . 
. . . . 
. . . .     
$attr = $setup->getAttribute('catalog_product', 'attribute_code');
$setup->updateAttribute('catalog_product',$attr['attribute_id'],'default_value', 'default_value1,default_value2,default_value3,default_value4');

attribute_code: will be your attribute code default_value1: will be your corresponding value separate by ,

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