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Import Custom Posts via CSV

  • We have had success importing repeater fields using their ACF add-on but it was a HUGE struggle. Not our favourite plugin, I must say.

  • But you did it! I’ll keep trying then… If you had time to drop any hints how you got it working some time I’d appreciate it. I’ve managed to populate the repeater field, but only the final record appears in the post, I think because it overwrites the previous record each time as it processes the file.

  • Any luck? I can get it to work with an XML file but the client needs CSV because they aren’t too savvy with code.

  • Hi – same here, I almost got it working with a nested XML. I could populate the repeater field… but if the record had too many entries the whole process would time out. Also, the client would need to convert their CSV to XML first, which would be beyond them. So I’ve reverted to using CSV and have restructured my posts so that the repeater field isn’t required – using another custom post type for the repeater data instead, grouping together with taxonomies & linking to them with ACF select taxonomy. Its not ideal but it does the job.

  • @flyingant – as I said, we were able to use the plugin to import to repeater fields but it took a long time back and forth with the plugin’s devs. It took us over 3 weeks testing, recording screenshots, reporting and effectively beta testing their product for them!

    The cost of those 3 weeks massively outweighed the cost of the plugin!

    It has the distinction of being equally the best and worst premium plugin we have ever used.

    I have urged Elliot to develop his own importation add-on specifically for ACF as I feel it would be in better hands, and could be lucrative for him too.

  • @Bruce – yes I’ll join those saying they would pay a nice sum for an official importer.

  • Importing posts has been a major drama for myself over the past month. So after heaps of research and trial and error I have managed to import 150,000 custom posts.

    The best options I found were TurboCSV importer and a MySQL script written by some one on Fiver (cost me $50).

    TurboCSV was incredibly useful and imported all the WordPress fields and ACF fields from multiple CSV’s. The only problem being time- 10,000 or less posts is fine.

    My new friend from Fiverr custom designed a MySQL script to import CSV’s from the root folder, which imports most fields except categories and tags. You are welcome to steal the script from-

    Please share your results with the community, and we can as planned; once more hold the world at ransom for one million dollars!!

  • I know this is old, but the problem with most importers is that they don’t do images and other attachments and most of the ones you pay for can’t handle fields like repeaters and some of the other more complicated stuff, and even when they say they do they don’t always work… like one of them assuming that a post type named “product” means you are using Woo even when you don’t check the box and do check ACF. I think what we need is a plugin that works specifically with ACF and just ignores everyone else. If it was not attempting to be all things to all people it might do a better job at dealing with ACF.

    I’ve actually been building a php tool that does what I need by jamming everything directly into the DB. I’ve been getting a pretty good handle on what it takes to get ACF to see the data that’s been jammed in there. Problem is that I have to customize it for every site.

    Honestly the main issue I have doing through the WP interface is having the import timeout before it’s completed so I’ve been running it using a cron.

    What I’d really like to see is a system where you can associate columns in a spreadsheet with the post and meta keys to be inserted, upload csv files and images to be used in the import. It would also need to be able to handle custom post types, multiple taxonomies, custom taxonomies. It somehow also needs to contend with importing custom fields used on terms. And it has to be CSV because everyone wants to be able to edit the import in Excel and they want it to be easy, single columns of data.

    Too bad I don’t have a few months of vacation I could take..

  • Hey Hube,

    Working with the web is sometimes a serious uphill battle.

    These are the scripts I ended up getting made, and you don’t have to worry about time outs.

    Imports posts from root of WordPress install and automatically populates wp_posts and wp_postmeta. This script has a long way to go for categories, tags and mapping ids. Tested with 150,000 posts imported in 10 minutes.

    A few importers I used for different tasks.

    Please use and fork at will. M

  • I purchased WordPress Ultimate CSV Importer Pro from Smack Coders.

    The interface looks capable but I am waiting for support to lead me to documentation on how to attack ACF Fields. I see documentation elsewhere about using pipes for wp category selections and ID numbers for other stuff, but haven’t figured out if that holds for ACF yet.

    I need to do fields like User, Relationship, Post Object and Image. I see a few people on here claim that this plugin doesn’t support ACF images, but I will post back if I learn differently. It certainly import the easy stuff — standard fields, text, text areas — which was a small relief in itself. I can train other people how to get things done without MySQL!

  • I have tried WordPress Ultimate CSV Importer Pro from Smack Coders. It didn’t work for me and I cot tired of back and forthing with their support. My problem was that the site in question used “product” as a post type and “product-type” as a taxonomy. Their plugin assumed the presence of these things meant I was using WooCommerce, even when I did not check the WooCommerce box and checked the ACF box.

    I also tried it on other sites that use ACF. ACF support in this plugin is poor and spotty. The other problem I have with it is the fact that the code is obfuscated with IonCube and they always use the latest version, it is difficult to use if your host is not on the latest version or they change versions because it seems that IonCube is almost never backward compatible.

    Overall, my experience with the plugin was poor and my experience with their support was poor. I personally will never attempt to use it again.

    Everything I build in WP is done with ACF and I doubt that we’ll have a csv importer to work with ACF until someone takes the time to build one that focuses on how ACF stores data.

  • A little late to the party, but thought I’d just add that I was able to import my custom post types/taxonomies from one site into another with the use of WP CSV to export, then Ultimate CSV Importer to import.

    What I did was on the new site, create one sample post that had all my ACF fields filled in, then export it to CSV with WP CSV plugin and use that as a template to format my big export from the other site.

    I’ve simply copied all the relevant data into the sample CSV I made under correct headers. The ‘duplicate’ _sample field that only shows up in the database was populated with the correct acf key value for each field as visible in the one sample post row – it basically means the whole column under a particular _sample field has the same acf key value (the one originally assigned when first creating the custom field on your new website).

    All posts show up with correct fields and taxonomies in the WP back-end and a quick glance at my database, shows all post meta with double entries – field and _field with assigned key.

    I did not import any images or gallery fields. All my ACF fields are either text or numerical (regular and select). Can’t really comment on image handling as I did not have a need for it. Figured moving websites is a great time to review the few thousand media files; optimize and organize them properly before re-uploading, so that’s a manual jobby for me:p

    In my case setting ACF the way I wanted on the target website and using the sample export file to configure my import CSV did the job just fine 🙂

    Running Ultimate CSV Import plugin and mapping the fields was a matter of 30 seconds, as the only choices available in the dropdowns where those relevant to the existing fields, and for _field I simply choose Create Custom Field at the bottom of the list for each, and it auto generated the correct name.

    I’m not brilliant at explaining things but hope that helps someone 🙂

  • This is Louis from WP All Import.

    I just wanted to drop by and announce that we’ve just launched WP All Import v4 and a new version of our ACF add-on which solves all the known problems with the add-on and makes a lot of enhancements.

    We spent a ton of time testing and polishing the ACF add-on to make it robust and reliable. Our ACF add-on used to be buggy. But it’s not anymore.

    So if you previously looked at WP All Import for your ACF import it needs and it didn’t meet them, take another look!

    New in v4:

    Works with both the free and pro versions of ACF.

    In addition to supporting all the standard ACF field types, you can now:

    You can easily import to repeater fields, whether you are importing an XML or a CSV. A “variable” repeater mode has been added for CSV files.

    Import images to ACF gallery fields – including a variable number of images.

    Import to relationship fields and match by ID or slug.

    A note about our support: If you submit a ticket to us, you can expect ~24 hours for a reply during the week, and no support over the weekend. We don’t try to provide fast support. We try to make a reliable, quality product, and handle issues at a reasonable pace.

    Try it before you buy it to make sure it will work for you:

  • Anyone following this thread, have you tried the plugin posted just before this posted? WP All Import? The “Pro” version? If you have, can you tell me how that went?

  • Answering my own question, if your looking to import into complex ACF fields from a CSV file, I’ve been fighting with WP All Import for 5 days with little luck. It might work great from XML, don’t know, haven’t tried it. My clients can’t write XML files. I do know that there are serious issues when importing with from a CSV. It may work eventually, but if you’re looking for an easy fix, this isn’t it.

  • 5 days? You were lucky, we spent 3 weeks! It was by far THE most horrible WordPress experience we’ve encountered.

    Perhaps they’ve improved importing from CSV files and we shall find out soon as we’ve upgraded recently – had to repurchase the ACF add-on at an inflated cost compared with old price, so it had better be good!

  • Bruce, I’m still working on it. I haven’t actually gotten it to work 100% yet. From my perspective the ACF import is extremely buggy. It has been extremely time consuming and frustrating. Overall I am not happy and if someone (not me) hadn’t promised this client a CSV import tool I would give up. As it is I’m kinda stuck banging my head on my desk until I get this to work… somehow.

  • Hube, we eventually got it to work but I dread upgrading!

    Just out of interest, which versions of WPAI are you using?

  • wpai = 4.0.6
    acf add on = 3.0.1

  • Hube2, now you’ve got me worried! It might mean we’ll have to go through the 3 weeks of utter hell again!

    According to this post it has been dramatically improved:

    Have you contacted WPAI support with your issues?

  • Yes, I’m in the process of getting ready to set up a copy of the import for them to look at.

    There are a couple of major problems I’m seeing.

    One of them is importing the content from the wrong column in the CSV into a repeater subfield. I could be wrong, but it appears that if a column contains a / like in a url it imports the content of the previous column.

    another is with importing images, it does not import images into an ACF field at all if the images are stored in the local folder and you have to do it by URL.

    Then there seems to be a problem importing data into a checkbox field but the error is inconsistent, some work fine and others do not work at all.

    Then there is a problem with radio fields if the value you want to set is 0 (Zero) I assume this is being interpreted as false.

    One of the biggest problems I see is that only the first 10 to 12 characters of a CSV column heading are significant, making it very hard to create column headings that are friendly for the client to understand what’s supposed to be in them.

    Overall, the product is not very client friendly, the interface is designed for someone with experience in development and I dread teaching a non-developer how to use this.

  • All of the problems are similar the ones we had and we had to adapt the CSV generated by the form software we use to collect data (machform) and even then we have to import data in small amounts.

    It was a nightmare experience and one I hope to never have to go through again. And, the worst part was it cost us a lot of time worth more than the price of the product!

    On the face of it, without having put version 4 through its paces yet, it does seem to be a better interface than previously but I do hope the improvements are not just cosmetic because WPAI was by far the buggiest and most costly premium plugin we purchased.

    p.s. even expert WP developers we know had trouble with it!

  • Seriously, if I had the time I would build a plugin using ACF to import data for ACF. I’ve been digging around in the database a lot since I’ve started using ACF, I already know how things need to be stored. My code may not me as “elegant” as some, but the damn thing would work and be easy enough for non-techies to use. It’s too bad that I don’t have a few months to kill, but it’s too big a project to do only on weekends.

  • After working with WP All Import support, it appears that the problems that I’m seeing have something to do with a MySQL server misconfiguration and not with the plugin itself. I can’t reproduce these errors on their testing server and it seems neither can they.

    If we can figure out what the problems is I will post it here just in case anyone else is having similar problems.

  • K, so, WP All Import is a decent choice. The problems I was seeing had do to with code and/or file caching. If you try WP All Import and your seeing problems importing the same data into multiple fields you’re probably running into the same thing. My web host has XCache installed and this was the culprit.

    If you can add php settings you your .htaccess file you can add this:
    php_flag xcache.cacher 0

    WP all import may be lacking is some areas, like importing custom data for taxonomies and terms, but it will get the data into posts and custom post types. You also need to import files and images from URLs to get them into ACF fields as it does not work from files, but that’s a small detail.

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