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How to bulk add and remove Products in Shopify Custom/Manual Collections

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Shopify Custom Collections are most frequently used (also known as Manual Collections), although there are also Smart Collections (also known as Automatic Collections).

Adding products to the Shopify Custom Collections can be a challenge, that is why Excelify has developed a tool to do it quickly!

Should I use Shopify Smart Collections or Custom Collections?

It is a better practice to use Smart Collections for grouping Products, as it is more dynamic and you don’t need to attach each product manually. But if defining rules for Smart Collection seem too complicated, or you need to have more than 5000 collections, then Custom Collections are a way to go. Shopify has a limit of 5000 Smart Collections, but no limit on Custom Collections.

In a Custom Collection, products are added manually by Product ID or Product Handle. Typically there are be two cases –

  1. You want to create a new Custom Collection and add products.
  2. Edit what products are linked to existing custom collections.

1. Create new Shopify Custom Collection and add Products to it

To create new Custom Collections with products, you need to know Product IDs or Product Handles for those products you want to add. Let’s get this data by exporting products with the Excelify.io app. You might even not need to export any additional details about those products:

Export Products

When Products are exported, open the exported Excel file:

2 - export product basic details frm shopify bulk excelify excel csv

Now I will create new Excel document. There will be only one Sheet, called “Custom Collections”.

As a bare minimum, you need only 2 columns in the Excel:

  • Title – Custom Collection title. Title is mandatory in Shopify to create a new Custom Collection.
  • Product: Handle – Handles of the products I want to add to this collection

You can also add other fields to the Custom Collections import file. Find all possible fields in our Custom Collection documentation page.

You will have as many rows, as many Products you want to include into this Collection. And it is important to provide Title on each row, as this will tell the app that the Product will be included in this Collection. Take “Product: Handle” column values from the exported Product file.

Remember to call this Excel Sheet: “Custom Collections”.

3 - import new custom collections with linked products

Now I am importing this Excel file with the app:

4 - import new custom collections with linked products

My Manual Collection is imported and I can check that in the Admin:

5 - import new custom collections with linked products

2. Update Existing Shopify Custom Collection by adding, removing, or replacing Products in collection

First of all, I will export my Products and Custom Collections with Linked Products with the app. It is good to export those both because then you will have them both in the same file, and in Custom Collections you will see also “Product: Handle” values for existing products, not just the “Product: ID” values.

6 - export custom collecitons and product details bulk Shopify Excelify Excel CSV XLSX

Download the exported Excel file and open it.

In the file, you will see two sheets “Products” and “Custom Collections”.

7 - import custom collecitons add products to it in bulk

Removing products from existing Custom Collection

There are 2 products in the Collection “Summer collection”. I would like to remove one of the Products from the collection.

This is done by using the “Product: Command” column with value “DELETE“.
The app will remove that product from the Custom Collection.

8 - import custom collecitons add products to it in bulk

Adding products to the existing Custom Collection

I would like to add 3 more products to this collection. I will find their handles in the Products sheet and add 3 more lines for collection with the same ID and Handle values, so that app knows that those lines belong to the same Shopify manual collection.

You need to make sure that the “Product: Command” column has the value “MERGE“.
This will tell the app to add products from those rows to the collection.

To make it easier, you can just copy the previous row – to mark the spot for the additional product in that manual collection.

9 - import custom collecitons add products to it in bulk

Replacing existing products with ones from the file

If you wish to replace all existing products in a collection with the ones from your file, then you only need to list the new Products.

Let us assume that I would want my collection to only have the 3 new Products.
I would add 3 new rows as in the previous step but then delete the two existing ones.

In this case, it is important to set the “Product: Command” column to “REPLACE“.
Then the app will replace all existing products in the Custom Collection with the ones listed in the file.

10 - import custom collecitons add products to it in bulk

Importing your update

Now I will delete the Products sheet from this file because I don’t want to import products now – I want to import just Custom Collections. Save the file and import it into your Shopify store with the app.

11 - import custom collecitons add products to it in bulk

Good to know: