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How to import materials and variants
How to import materials and variants

Import materials and their variants into Katana, using structured templates.

Dayvid Lorbiecke avatar
Written by Dayvid Lorbiecke
Updated over a week ago

Importing materials and variants in Katana is streamlined via a detailed spreadsheet template. This guide provides instructions on how to prepare and upload the data effectively, from initial stock levels to detailed variant options.

Note: While products can be imported directly from an e-commerce platform, materials are typically not listed in e-stores. Materials need to be added manually into Katana or imported via spreadsheet.

Importing materials using a spreadsheet template

The Add new materials template simplifies materials importing into Katana. The template supports material variant creation and adding variants to existing materials. The template has instructions included as comments on how to structure the file to create variants.

If you already have materials in Katana, the imported file matches items by Variant code / SKU to avoid importing existing materials (matching items will not update, since they'll be skipped during import). If you want to update materials, use the Update existing materials template.

Import materials and initial stock to Katana

  1. Find the template in Katana from the Settings screen > Data import > Add new materials > Download template.

    Shows where the template for adding materials in the Settings screen is

  2. Fill in the template using the column header comments to help you understand the structure of the template. If you have any questions, reach out to us in chat or via email.

    The import template supports material variant creation. Material name fields are used for grouping variants, i.e. rows with matching names are grouped under the same material card in Katana. Enter different Variant options and Variant values to create variants of a material.

    Example: If you have a material "Cloth" that comes in white and black color, create two rows with a matching material name "Cloth", add "Color" to "Variant option 1" for both rows, and enter "White" to the first row and "Black" to the second row for "Variant values 1".

    If there's material in Katana that you want to add new variants to, import additional variants using the same template. Make sure the "Material name" in the imported file perfectly matches the Material name in Katana.

  3. Save the completed template in a .xls or .xlsx format.

    Creating .xlsx on Mac: Open the spreadsheet in Numbers and choose File > Export to > Excel... from the menu at the top of your screen.

    Creating .xlsx in Google Sheets: Open the spreadsheet in Google Sheets and choose File > Download as > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).

  4. In Katana, navigate to Settings screen > Data import > Add new materials > Upload data and select the completed template file.

    Shows where to upload a template from the settings screen

  5. The materials will begin importing to Katana (this may take up to a couple of minutes, depending on how much is being imported).

    When the import completes, a message will indicate how many items imported. For an item to be imported, the Material name must be filled. Rows in the imported file with a blank item name will not import.

    Note: If a cell in the imported file doesn't match the requirements of the cell (e.g. column name doesn't match template; letters inserted into number only fields), the data in the cell won't import, and the associated field for the item will be left blank in Katana.

    Find your new materials from the Items screen.

Tips for importing

  1. Column names in the uploaded file must match the template. If not, the import will fail, or some data will not be imported.

  2. The template supports multiple variant creation of the a material. The "Material name (required)" field is used for grouping variants, i.e. rows with matching material names will be grouped under the same material card in Katana. Enter different "Variant options" and "Variant values" to dedicated columns in the template to define variant characteristics for the same material.

  3. Data in the columns will be uploaded to the associated data fields in Katana.

  4. "Material name (required)" is the only required field.

Additional importing information

Material name (required) - If you have variants of materials, the name field is used for grouping variants, i.e. rows with matching material names will be grouped under the same material card in Katana.

Category - All variants of the same material should have the same category. (Max. 35 characters allowed)

Unit of measure - All variants of the same material should have the same unit of measure. (Max. 7 characters allowed)

Batch trackable? - Enable batch tracking for your materials by entering "Y", "y", "Yes" or "yes" to the column. If the field is left empty, the item will be set as not batch trackable. Batch tracking is an item-level feature, not a variant-level setting. We recommend using the same setting for all the variants of the same material item.

This is part of the Full traceability add-on and the field only shows in the template if you're on a higher plan.

Variant code / SKU - We recommend using unique Variant codes for each material variant.

Supplier item code - Assign one or multiple supplier item barcodes to identify raw materials and purchasable products. Multiple barcode numbers are separated by a comma "," to your item variant as a supplier item code. Supplier item codes are imported only when the supplier item code is switched on in barcode settings.


โ€‹This is only available on a Standard or higher plan, and this field only displays in the template if you're using a higher plan.

Internal barcode - Assign one unique internal barcode to track your inventory movements. The barcode number has to be between 3-40 digits. The internal barcode is only imported if the internal barcode is switched on in the barcode settings.


If internal barcodes are generated automatically, the barcodes are not imported.


โ€‹This is only available on a Standard or higher plan, and this field only displays in the template if you're using a higher plan.

Note: if you need to import internal barcodes, but still want to generate barcodes automatically, switch off automatic barcode generation, import internal barcodes, and switch automatic barcode generation back on.

Variant option 1 - This column is used to define the characteristics of the material variants. It is the attribute of the item that differentiates the variants. E.g. "Color", "Size", "Type". Leave blank if you don't have variants of materials.

Variant value 1 - The values for the "Variant option 1". E.g. if you have defined "Color" as the "Variant option 1", values might be "Red" for one row and "Blue" for the other row (if you have 2 color variants of the material, for example).

Variant option 2 - This column is used to define another characteristic of material variants. For example, a material can come in different colors and sizes. In this case, use "Color" for "Variant option 1" and "Size" for "Variant option 2".

Variant value 2 - The values for the "Variant option 2". E.g. if you have defined "Size" as the "Variant option 2", values might be "Small" for one row and "Large" for the other row (if you have 2 size variants for the same color of the material, for example).

Note: Add new columns for variant options and values if you have more than 2 variant options per material. Name the columns in the same format, e.g. "Variant option 3", "Variant value 3" etc.

Default supplier - The material supplier that is added to purchase orders (PO) in Katana by default. This can be edited on each PO. All variants of the same material should have the same default supplier.

Default purchase price - Maximum of 9 decimal places allowed.

  • Starter plan: Value is per unit of measure and in your base currency. You can set the base currency inside the Settings screen > General.

  • Standard, Professional, Professional Plus plans: Value is per unit of measure and in your supplier currency, by default supplier currency is your base currency. Read here about purchase prices in foreign currency.

Purchase UoM - Fill this in if you buy this material in a different unit of measure then you track your inventory.

Note. If you enter a purchase UoM, then the value in the "Default purchase price" is also considered in this purchase unit of measure.

Conversion rate - Fill this in if you have filled the Purchase UoM field. It's the conversion rate of the purchase UoM to the tracking UoM. For example: in case you buy the item from a supplier in boxes, each box is 100 items, then enter '100' as the conversion rate here.

Note. If you enter purchase UoM and do not specify the conversion rate or vice versa, then both values are not imported.

Additional info - This info is stored on the material card (the same info for all variants of the material). All variants of the same material should have the same additional info.


Your feedback is invaluable. Let us know your thoughts on this article or anything in Katana you'd like to see improved: [email protected]

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