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How to associate products to PrestaShop (secondary) categories in bulk

Reminder : a product has one (and only one per shop) primary category (also named default category) and can have any number of secondary categories (also named linked categories).

In the front office, the product is listed in all linked categories.
Note: a product is automatically linked to its primary category.

In this post, we'll show you how to define secondary categories, meaning how to add products into or link them to categories, with PrestaShop, one product at a time and how to do it in bulk with Merlin.

Link a product to categories with PrestaShop

  1. Click on Catalog
  2. Click on Products
  3. Click on the pencil to edit the product:

How to edit products in PrestaShop

  1. With PrestaShop 1.6, go to the "Associations" tab. With PrestaShop 1.7, go down to the categories bloc in the right columns.
  2. Search the category.
  3. Turn on the check box to add the product in the category.
  4. Click on the cross label to unlink the product and the category:

Add a produc into secondary categories in PrestaShop

Be aware: the column "Default category" permits to move the product. Effectively, when changing the default category of a product, you move it. By the way, doing so this will also change its URL. Be careful, this is killing the current SEO of the product page.

The main disadvantage of this method is that it can operate on only one product at a time. If you have hundreds or thousands of products to categories associations to create or change, this will takes weeks.

Link multiple products to categories thanks to Merlin Backoffice ™

The first approach is not appropriated when you have a large number of products to add to categories. In this case you must use a mass edit software like Merlin Backoffice, to do these cross linkages much faster.

Here is a short extract of the Merlin Backoffice video training, showing how to bulk link products to secondary categories :

Step by step operation using Merlin :

  1. Display and select lines of products to associate.
  2. Open the right control panel, also called "Target categories".
Then :
  1. Select in this panel the categories to link products to (with Ctrl+clic or Shift+clic).
  2. Click on the large "chain" button, to add the products. You are done.

Massively add products into secondary categories using Merlin Backoffice

Or (our recommended method)
  1. Click on the "Show associations" button. This is adding at least two columns into the table : one indicating the current associations and one per shop, showing what is the default category.
  2. Select in this panel the categories to link products to (with Ctrl+clic or Shift+clic).

    Note : take the time to study this other trick, the recursive serach and selection, to search for and automatically select all categories matching any given criteria.

  3. Check one of the check box of these lines, in the columns "Associated products". You are done.

Massively add products into secondary categories using Merlin Backoffice, method 2

There is a color code to be familiar with :

  • A blue check box means that all selected products are linked to the category.
  • An orange check box (with a square check mark) means at least one product, but not all products is/are associated to the category.
This is very practical because it allows you to quickly and visually check whether a selection of products supposed to be associated with one or more categories are all so.
If this is not the case, select all the rows of categories to be associated, and click on one of the orange boxes of this selection, to change it to blue (as well as those of the other selected rows), and the problem is resolved.

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