I have been running into problem after problem with the CSV export/import functions. My currently problem is that I cannot seem to assign 'image', 'small_image', and 'thumbnail' attributes to any image path.

This even fails:

  1. I manually change the image, small_image, and thumbnail of a product to one of the images associated with the product, and save.
  2. I export my product CSV.
  3. I check to see if those attribute fields are filled in for that product, and they are.
  4. I import the CSV using the CSV import tool, using the 'Replace Existing Complex Data'.
  5. I check the product that I changed, and it is now not showing any assignment for image, small_image, or thumbnail.

If my understanding is correct, a CSV that is exported and unchanged should be importable to yield the exact same product data, yes? What's going on here?

  • I am running Magento CE
    – Julien
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 4:55
  • You must put the images into the folder media/import/ otherwise nothing happens Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 6:51
  • I cannot reference the files in the /[first letter]/[second letter]/[full file] format if they are already there? This way appears to add the images to the product using _media_images just fine. Are you saying that I have to re-import the images in order to reference these files in their final location? Is there no way I can assign images already associated with the product via _media_images the image, small_image, and thumbnail attributes?
    – Julien
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 7:38
  • Read this document done from a friend of mine about import. Go to the product image chapter. avs-webentwicklung.de/fileadmin/documents/… Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 7:56
  • No you cannot do the reference to an existing picture. You have to import again. But it makes no sense to re-import into the same products, the same images. Remove them from the CSV import file otherwise add new one and set the images into /media/import/ Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 8:00

4 Answers 4


First you have to upload alll the images you want to import in the media/import/yourimagesfolder/

The in the CSV columns for image, thumbnail and small_image your image path should look like this



First, unfortunately Magento doesn't import the files generated by it's export. AFAIK, this is true for both import/export module and default out-of-box dataflow profiles.

Second, I'll try to bring more light on images question as I see for many it's unclear how it works:

  1. When you import, it expects that images are placed in media/import.
    So if you have a value in csv image = "/a/b/c.jpg", it will look for it in media/import/a/b/c.jpg - and if it won't find, it will not import image.

  2. When you export, it doesn't do anything with your images, just generated CSV with populated values. So it generates the images path respectively to your media/catalog/product folder. If you try to import them unless you copied them to media/import folder.

If you looking for way to bulk download/upload the products with their images and consider paid modules. During export, it copies media files to the folder where it expects to see it during import, so you never get the situation that your images were missed during export/import etc. After export, you can download the folder with all the copied products images and simply re-import it into another website.

  • so is it var/media/import or media/import ? Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 13:55
  • it's media/import Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 10:47

You must have to specify the _media_attribute_id and _media_image attribute. Without using these two attributes, you cannot import images properly. So the right CSV format for images import is as follow:

sku, image, image_label, small_image, small_image_label, thumbnail, thumbnail_label,_media_image,_media_attribute_id,_media_is_disabled,_media_position,_media_lable

Click here to see the right csv file for Images import

Note: Make sure the images are placed in the magento_root/media/import/ folder. Otherwise Magento could not Import the images.

For more information, visit this link


I had the same issue and solved it without purchasing an extension. After exporting the products, I deleted the columns for image, small image and thumbnail. after editing as required, i imported and appended complex data. so i only replaced data for the information i needed.

anyway. worked for me. for new products, i had to upload the images to the import folder and reference the image and it worked too.

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