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Troubleshooting | Data Import/Export

BigCommerce uses CSV files for all import and export functionality. If your CSV does not have the correct column headers or if the CSV is not created correctly, it can lead to inaccurate data being imported. However, there can be a multitude of reasons for why an import or export did not go as planned. Below we've provided a few common scenarios and their solutions.

Regardless of the type of data you're importing or exporting, it's a good idea to make backups of your data and should be your first priority.


Stuck Imports

If you find your imports not completing and becoming "stuck," there could be a few potential causes:

Cause: The CSV being used is larger than 512 MB or you have a slow internet connection.

Resolution: Break up the CSV into smaller files and save those files to the import_files folder through WebDAV. Then, use the Use a file already on the server option during import.

Cause: The CSV being used has an unusually high number of blank image columns.

Resolution: Double check your CSV file and delete the duplicate columns.

Cause: The CSV contains base64 encoded images in the Product Description column.

Resolution: In this situation, it's best to use HTML markup to reference your images in the product description.


Invalid Track Inventory Value Ignored (Importing)

Cause: The Track Inventory field in your CSV import is blank. Although it is not required for a successful import, you will receive an error message when importing if this field is left blank.

Resolution: In the CSV file, fill the Track Inventory field with one of the following values:

  • none — do not track inventory for this product
  • by product — track inventory for the base product
  • by option — track inventory on the product's variants

Excel Converts SKUs into Scientific Notation and Removes Special Characters

When opening an exported CSV file, you may experience an issue in which Excel automatically converts long SKU or tracking numbers to scientific notation or removes unique characters from text. If you are experiencing these problems, use the steps below to prevent Excel from making alterations.

Example CSV that has been converted

Formatting a Blank Worksheet

Since Excel will automatically make these changes when the file is opened, it is best to import the data from your exported CSV file into a blank text-only worksheet. Note that these steps will only prevent Excel from doing the conversion to future exports. It will not fix an export that Exel has already converted. For this reason, we recommend having a back up of your export file before opening it in Excel.

These steps are for Excel 2016, but the process is similar for other versions. (You may also want to consider creating a custom export template without SKUs to use when you do not require the SKU.)

1. Open a blank Excel Workbook.

Opening a Blank Worksheet in Excel

2. Highlight the entire workbook by typing Ctrl + A (Windows) or Command + A (Mac).

3. In the Home tab, change the Number format to Text.

Changing Excel's Number Format dropdown to Text

4. Go to DataFrom Text/CSV.

Excel 2016 menu

5. An Import Data window will appear. Locate your CSV file, select it, then click Import.

6. An import window will appear allowing you to configure the import settings. Select the following then click Load.

Excel import settings

  • File Origin: 65001: Unicode (UTF-8)
  • Delimiter: Comma
  • Data Type Detection: Based on entire dataset

Excel will now open your export file as a text-only comma delimited worksheet. Be sure to save your changes after you make your edits.



Is my data being exported in scientific notation from BigCommerce?

No. All data is exported in a comma-separated value (CSV) file which allows data to be saved in a table structured format. Traditionally they take the form of a text file containing information separated by commas, hence the name. The scientific notation conversion happens when Excel opens the CSV.

How do I use numbers in other columns?

If you have other number-based columns that need to be recognized as numbers so that you can execute Excel functions, highlight the column and change the number format to Number or General. This option will convert your column without affecting the Product Code/SKU column.

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