PrestaShop mass category management, mass editing module

28/10/2023 Franck Bugnet Category How to

Mass management of PrestaShop categories

A PrestaShop store is almost always organized into product categories and subcategories. The first step after installing the store, creating this structure is simple enough to build when the number of categories is very low, but as soon as you exceed a few dozen branches, it becomes very tedious, as it's very slow to do.

This is why a mass category management module quickly becomes essential when you want to launch a new business quickly and above all succeed.

Merlin Backoffice is a Windows-based software (or Mac with Parallels Desktop), born in 2018 from the merger of two quick-editing modules, PrestaPricing for products and PrestaCatégories for categories, developed from 2010. This page will give you an overview of the features relating to quick category administration.

Mass category management in PrestaShop back office version 1.7 or 8.x

Virtually non-existent functionality (even worse in versions 1.5, 1.6 or older). There's only the "Grouped actions" button, which lets you do just three things: activate or deactivate a selection of categories en masse, and delete them. That's all there is to it. What's more, you're limited to selecting rows from a single page at a time.

  1. Go to the "Catalog" menu.
  2. Click on Categories
  3. Select the lines to be modified.
  4. Unroll the "Grouped actions" menu.
  5. Choose one of the proposed actions.

Grouped actions on categories in PrestaShop 1.7

Bulk management of product categories with the Merlin Backoffice Flex module for PrestaShop

This fantastic tool is used today by thousands of efficiency-minded merchants. With an easy-to-use interface, it was conceived and designed based on the realization that since PrestaShop only allows the creation and modification of categories on a per-category basis, it was unthinkable with this back office to manage a large store.
The need for mass editing is in fact found at many stages of the catalog creation and maintenance process:
  • When creating the category tree.
  • When organizing levels and branches, such as moving categories or duplicating them.
  • To add logos and thumbnails.
  • When associating categories with customer groups.
  • To associate products to categories en masse.
  • When a large number of branches need to be deleted.
  • To correct errors in large numbers or replace one word with another all over the place.
  • To change the display order.
  • To transfer categories en masse between stores.
  • To activate or deactivate a batch of families.
  • To manage multi-languages in detail.
  • To apply and manage discount rates by product category for each customer group.
  • When we need to repair the database, such as recalculating the breadcrumb trail for all categories.
  • To create a new catalog more quickly or add new categories en masse via csv import.

All these areas are taken into account, and many more.

The time savings are such that it can pay for itself in just a few hours or days of use. We sincerely invite you to give it a try, it's free.

Evaluate the SITOLOG solution risk-free for 15 days with our free trial period:

Interface of this category editing module (version 1.6)

  1. Button to switch to category management mode.
  2. The main editing table.
  3. Access to table column configurator.
  4. Administration panel for moves, duplication, cross-association...
  5. Secondary editing tabs, HTML description, SEO, images and logos, customer groups, translations.

Merlin back office mass category editing module interface

You can also switch to "Product view" and use the panel on the right to manage product movements (choosing their main or "default" category) as well as their associations with secondary categories.

Selection of displayed headings

Each table in this module can be configured, to display only the data you need. Using the natively included grid configurator, you can create an infinite number of configurations (e.g. one to optimize SEO, another to manage product associations, a third to reorganize the tree structure, one for prices, one for stocks etc...).

  1. Choose a pre-configuration or open the configurator.
  2. Go to the "Categories" tab.
  3. The table on the right lists the columns already included in the mass edition table.
  4. The one on the left shows all other available headings or fields.
  5. To move a row from one table to another, simply drag and drop it (feasible, of course, with several rows at the same time).
  6. In the right-hand table, you can change the title displayed for each future column, as well as its width and visibility.
  7. Help tooltip explaining the role of each PrestaShop heading.
  8. Manage configurations (new, duplicate, rename,...).
  9. Click to close the window and refresh the tree view.
Grid Configurator

Quick copy and paste editing

The principle of mass management is to be able to edit several categories at the same time. There are many possible methods for this in this module, the easiest to use and quickest is copying and pasting a value. Often used for the mass management of prices and stocks, it also proves useful for categories.

  1. Select multiple lines (with click, shift+click, crtl+click).
  2. Right-click with the mouse on the value to be copied (from one of the selected lines).
  3. In the context menu, choose "Paste ["my-value"] in all selected cells of this column" (or in all the column as desired).
  4. For true/false type headings, it's even simpler to achieve, simply check or uncheck one of the boxes in the selection, the action is immediately reflected in all the selected categories.

Copy and paste values.

Don't look for the "Save" button, it's been a long time since the software saved your change of values in the database. We work in real time.

Advanced fast editing with MagicEdit or MagicFormula tools

As before select several lines, right-click in the column to be modified (here the HTML description), and in the pop-up menu choose the tool (here MagicEdit).

A whole world of management options opens up, such as searching and replacing a word with a synonym from a list, either en masse in the entire database or just in a selection of categories.

This kind of tool is also very handy for improving your store's SEO, for example by copying category names en masse into page title tags.

Mass replacement of words in texts.

Add new families in volume, without importing csv


  1. Select parent category(ies)
  2. Request creation button.
  3. In the creation window, pre-fill the fields defining the names given to the new categories (you can give a generic name, a prefix, a suffix, a counter or index), their simplified urls, their associations with stores and customer groups...
  4. Indicate the desired number of sub-categories per parent category.
  5. Go.

Mass generation of new categories.

Rapidly generate a tree structure of repeating structures

Merlin is particularly appreciated by those who run a store selling car or motorcycle parts or ink cartridges. This type of store often requires the creation of a very large, repetitive tree structure, with the same branches of sub-categories containing brands and models.

For example:

All you have to do then is create the branches containing the brands and models once, and then with the duplication tool, duplicate these sub-category branches throughout all the part families. This is done in a single operation:

  1. Select the parent category containing the sub-categories (do not select the sub-categories).
  2. Open the target categories panel by clicking on the orange band (temporary opening) or on the padlock (to anchor the panel).
  3. Select the set of parent categories in which to clone sub-branches.
  4. Click on the duplicate by quantity button.

Cloning sub-category branches.

Associate categories with customer groups

For a customer to have access to a category, it must be associated with the customer's default group.
But when a new customer group is created in PrestaShop, by default it is not associated with any product family. This has to be done manually by checking a box for each category, which is impossible when the store is very large.
Fortunately, our PrestaShop module allows you to do this in a single operation. Here's how:

  1. Go to the "Customer groups" tab.
  2. Select the groups you want to associate.
  3. In the right-hand control panel, click on "All" to select all categories (including sub-categories hidden thanks to automatic recursive mode).
  4. And finally, with a click on the button representing a string, the script performs the cross-association between groups and categories.

Associating customer groups and categories.

Automatically search, associate and add the right images to the right categories

There are many modules for transferring multiple images at the same time. But only Merlin Backoffice is capable of searching and identifying in a local folder on the PC or in a remote directory on a server the image corresponding to each category, then associating and uploading it.

How is this possible? Simply take care to name your files with either the PrestaShop identifier (the number), or all or part of the corresponding category name. By comparing character strings, the module will find the right pairs. Here's how it works:

  1. Optional: start by selecting the categories that are to receive an image.
  2. Go to the "Category images (logos)" tab.
  3. Open the photo upload settings window.
  4. In the "Associations" tab, choose "Associate images whose file name contains:" with "The category name" as the setting. If necessary, use the other settings to exclude prefixes, suffixes, file indexes, ignore capital letters or spaces etc. then validate these settings.
  5. Click on "Add by..." then "Folder".
  6. Indicate the location of the files, either a folder or a url. If necessary ask for a recursive search and indicate the access login if it is secure.
  7. You can also add filters, for example on the names or minimum or maximum size of files (which plays on the resolution and quality of images) or their date or type (extension).
  8. The "Add to list" button launches the search and adds matching category/file pairs to the transfer preparation table.
  9. With the window still open, you can explore other folders, or close it.

Searching for and adding category images and logos.

All that's left is to indicate whether these are main images or thumbnails, in which store(s) to use them if you're multi-shopping, then launch the downloads. Everything is done in the background, with Merlin taking over other tasks while the photos are being downloaded. He takes care of everything else, including http or ftp transfer, creating thumbnails of different sizes, writing links to the database...


Fast editing of category pages, in particular updating of description content.

There's another method, mainly used for html editing of descriptions and meta fields (SEO optimization), but also for entering translations. It's quite similar to the method available in PrestaShop's BO, but with one very big difference: speed! With this module, you can move from one form to the next or the previous one in the list in less than 2 seconds. The integrated HTML editor is CKEditor, available here in three versions: basic, standard and complete.

Editing PrestaShop 1.7 category files

Category import export (csv, xls, xlsx + xml export only...)

Merlin is one of the most powerful csv or Excel file import modules. No file size limit, high speed, numerous additional configurations (import into custom fields, import automation, choice of lines to import, etc.).
It is mainly used to import products and their variations, but can also be used to import and update categories.
Import is an option, but export is a basic feature.
These two tools combined allow you to migrate a complete catalog from one version of PrestaShop to another, when migration or updating fails.

Database repair and cleanup

We can't count the number of panicked customers who call us after breaking their PrestaShop store with a free tier module. In the majority of cases, it's the famous breadcrumb trail that's broken, creating orphaned categories, blank pages or all sorts of ancillary problems.
Each time, the database repair module part has saved them, if not their lives, at least their store.

Just launch the tool, check the desired cleanup options and let the scripts do the work. In less than 20 seconds, everything is repaired.

And when the automatic cleaning scripts aren't enough, there's still the option of repairing the tree structure by displaying in the category table their technical info such as "level", "nleft", "nright", "parent id", "store association", "default store"... to quickly identify inconsistencies and correct them line by line or globally.

Other quick catalog administration functions

Other very important features have justified the writing of a dedicated article in this knowledge base, such as mass editing of the display order of products and categories, duplication with and without associated products, rapid management of associations between a product and its secondary categories etc.

These complementary articles can be accessed via the links below... Enjoy your reading.

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