Importing Data from a CSV File into Drupal with Content Import

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Import data from a CSV file into Drupal 8 with the Content Import module

Sometimes you would like to import a huge volume of data from a CSV file into Drupal. Maybe from another CMS. Maybe from a spreadsheet. There is no such UI-oriented functionality in the Drupal 8 core. 

To import your data from a CSV file, you need to install and enable the Content Import module. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the process of importing data with Content Import.

In this example, we'll import data into a Customer content type. This Customer content type will have the following five fields:

Field Name Field Description Field Type

The name of the customer / this is the default Drupal title field for each content type

Plain text
Body Customer information Long text
Contract Date The date when the contract with the customer was signed In the mm/dd/yy format
Customer Picture The picture of the customer Image
Discount This field indicates if the customer qualifies for an extra discount at the end of the year Boolean (Yes/No)

Step #1. Create the Customer content type

After creating the Customer content type and adding fields, you will have the following starting point:

Starting point

There are some details that you have to take into account to run this process without complications:

  • The date field has to be set as Date and time (this is related to the Unix timestamp. You can read more about this here).

Setting the Date Type

  • When creating the Customer Picture image field, configure the file directory for the images as [MACHINENAMEOFYOURCONTENTTYPE/images] You’ll upload your images to this directory with the help of the IMCE module or some kind of FTP software

Configure the file directory for the images

  • Set the On and Off labels in your Discount boolean field to Yes and No respectively

Set the On and Off labels

Step #2. Prepare your spreadsheet for import

You can use the spreadsheet application of your liking for this. I’m using Google Spreadsheets. The langcode column is mandatory

Google Spreadsheets

  • Save your spreadsheet as a Comma Separated Values file. Once you do, your file will have a .csv file extension.

Save file in CSV format

Step #3. Upload the profile pictures to the specified directory

With the IMCE module:

  • Go to yoursite/imce in order to open the IMCE browser
  • Create the /customer folder inside the public directory
  • Create the /images sub-folder inside the /customer folder
  • Upload the profile pictures to this folder by clicking the Upload button on the top (/customer/images folder in our case)

New folder

Upload button

Uploaded profile pictures

Step #4. Import your content with CSV file

  • Click Configuration > Content Authoring > Content Import

You will see a screen with two options.

  • Select the Customer option for the Select Content Type
  • Click on the Upload File button
  • Select the CSV file on your hard drive
  • Click Import

Click Import

Congratulations! If you followed along with my instructions, you should now see the Content screen of your Drupal installation with your newly imported content. 


While importing content, you may run into the following error on the white page:

"The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later."

To deal with this error, please do the following:

  • In your Drupal site root go to modules > contentimport > src > form
  • Open the contentImport.php file in your text or code editor
  • Find the following two lines (around line 275):

$dateTime = \DateTime::createFromFormat('Y-m-d h:i:s', $data[$keyIndex[$fieldNames[$f]]]);
$newDateString = $dateTime->format('Y-m-d\Th:i:s');

Replace them with the following two lines:

$dateTimeStamp = strtotime($data[$keyIndex[$fieldNames[$f]]]);
$newDateString = date('Y-m-d\TH:i:s', $dateTimeStamp);

You’ll find more information about this error here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

About the author

Jorge lived in Ecuador and Germany. Now he is back to his homeland Colombia. He spends his time translating from English and German to Spanish. He enjoys playing with Drupal and other Open Source Content Management Systems and technologies.