File Formats

Unless you are using one of the ecommerce platform integration options, you will need to create the data feed that you will be importing to SingleFeed. SingleFeed accepts files encoded in the ASCII standard and in the following three formats:

  1. Comma delimited text (.csv)
  2. Tab delimited text (.txt)
  3. Excel 97-2003 files (.xls)

No matter which method you use to create your feed, make sure you include all of SingleFeed's required fields and that the field headers match ours exactly.  You may leave out any fields that you do not use. Here you can view a complete list of the required and optional fields.  You have several options to create your feed, depending on your individual situation:

  1. If you have technical assistance available or are tech-savvy yourself, the needed product data can be pulled directly from your website database. This is not an insignificant task and it may take several hours to develop the right queries to match the SingleFeed requirements.
  2. If you use an ecommerce platform (other than the five SingleFeed has integrated with (listed above), it may have an option to export your data in a custom (SingleFeed-compatible) format. Alternatively, you can download your product catalog from your ecommerce platform, then cut and paste the relevant information into our pre-formatted Excel spreadsheet: Sample SingleFeed Template.
  3. If you only have a small number of productsand few technical resources, you can manually build your feed using Excel. Start with the Sample SingleFeed Template and simply add your product information into, at least, each of the required fields. To make your life easier, you may want to quickly get started by creating a small feed of your top products, then continue adding to the template and re-uploading the entire file at your convenience.
  4. We can accept any of these file formats in a zipped file format that ends with .zip.

 

Special notes on commas and double quotes:


If you are using a comma separated file (.csv) and intend to include commas or double quotes (as the inch symbol, for example) in your titles, descriptions, or other fields, there are special formatting rules you need to follow. This is because, in a comma separated (or "delimited") file, commas indicate where one field ends and the next begins; double quotes also have a specific formatting purpose. Therefore, if you need to use a comma or double quote as plain text, and not as a delimiter or formatting character, there are special formatting rules to follow. Likewise, if you are using a tab delimited file (.txt) and intend to include tabs or double quotes in your titles, descriptions, or other fields, there are similar special formatting rules you need to follow.

For comma or tab delimited files (.csv, .txt), you will need to properly escape any double quotes that are supposed to appear as text. Let's look at an example. Here's a feed snippet that contains a couple products. Both have double quotes in the product names:

 

ScreenShot104.jpg

 

Our system (as with most .csv parsers) sees double quotes as formatting characters, so our parser isn't sure what to do with these products and will likely not import them or will cause a mis-alignment of the fields.  To properly escape these quotes you will need to enclose each affected field in double quotes and then DOUBLE double quote the originals.  In other words, the file above should look like this:

 

ScreenShot103.jpg

 

Learn more about CSV file formatting rules here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma-separated_values

The "Delimiter Collision" section of this article is also useful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delimited

 

Special notes on Microsoft Excel:

Please note that opening a .CSV file in Microsoft Excel may change the formatting of your data if you are not careful. When you open a .CSV file in Excel by double-clicking on the file, it tries to determine the format of the data being loaded. For number fields (like UPC, SKU, etc..) Excel may remove leading zeros or change other important formatting. In order to prevent this, it is crucial to always open .CSV files in Excel (should you need to edit them) in a specific fashion:

1.) Don't open the .CSV by double-click.
2.) Open Excel first and then goto Data > Import External Data > Import Data and select your file from the browse interface.
3.) An Import Wizard will start and will allow you to specfy Text rather than General format and this will preserve your formatting.

More information is available here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/214233

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