Imports and Exports

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Fishbowl can import and export information using CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. CSV files can be viewed and edited in spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel, or in any text editor. Fishbowl can also import and export data using TXT, XLS, and XLSX files.

  • Imports provide a convenient way to bring external data into Fishbowl (update a vendor part list, import an order from an online shopping cart, etc.)
  • Exports allow Fishbowl data to be used externally (update a website with product prices, export a list of customers, etc.)
  • The Small.Schedule.png Schedule module allows imports or exports to run automatically.
  • The Small.Data Import.png Data Import module allows files to be imported, even if the column headers don't match the Fishbowl format. This allows many external files to be imported into Fishbowl without modification.

Using imports and exports

The list of imports and exports, along with the corresponding documentation, can be found in the Fishbowl Client. The following steps outline the basic use of imports/exports:

  1. Click the File Menu at the top-left of the Fishbowl Client and choose Import or Export.
    Import Menu.png
  2. Select an import/export from the list. The list can be filtered by typing any portion of import/export name. A brief description of the selected import/export is given in the lower pane.
    Import List.png
  3. Click Next to read the instructions for an import/export. A template can be saved and opened by clicking the Export Template button.
    Import Instructions.png
  4. Click Next to choose the file to be imported/exported.
    Import File.png
    • Fishbowl can also import data from TXT, XLS, and XLSX files.
  5. Click Finish to complete the import/export.


Fishbowl provides two ways to create templates that contain the column headers or the actual data.

    Export Template.png
    Click the Export Template button at the top of the instructions for any import or export. This will create a CSV file with the column headers and the headers for any custom fields that are used in the database.
  • DATA -
    Export Template CSV.png
    Use the corresponding export to export the actual data from your database. For example, click the File menu and select Export to create a Product export (CSV, TXT, XLS, or XLSX file). To avoid duplicates, the exported data should usually be modified or removed before importing the file back into Fishbowl.

Import tips

  • The Small.Data Import.png Data Import module allows files to be imported, even if the column headers don't match the Fishbowl format. This allows many external files to be imported into Fishbowl without modification.
  • The Small.BOM Import.png BOM Import module allows user to import parts, products, and BOMs. This allows many external files to be imported into Fishbowl without modification.
  • Most imports have a corresponding export. It is often easiest to use the export to create a file to use as a template for the import. Because this export will include actual data from the database, it may be necessary to remove the existing data to avoid duplicates when importing the file back into Fishbowl.
  • To create a CSV template with just the column headers, click the Export Template button on the Instructions step of the wizard.
  • Data in an import must be formatted exactly as the import instructions specify.
  • Many imports require column names in the first row and some columns are case sensitive.
  • The maximum number of items that can be imported at once depends largely on the computer hardware. Large imports may take several minutes.
  • If the client logs out before the import finishes, try extending the client inactivity time. If Fishbowl continues to become unresponsive, it may be necessary to separate the import into smaller sections and import each section individually. Alternatively, imports can be committed after each line.

Import CSV to Excel

Opening a CSV file in Excel can occasionally cause formatting issues. For example, if a Fishbowl part number is 0123, Excel may format it as 123. In this case, the data should be exported as a XLS or XLSX file instead. Alternatively, a CSV can be imported into Excel, instead of just opening the file in Excel.

  1. Open Excel, click the the Data menu, and then click From Text.
  2. Select the CSV file that was exported from Fishbowl and then click Next.
  3. Change Tab to Comma and then click Next.
  4. Select all columns by holding down the shift key and clicking the last column. Then change General to Text and click Finish.
  5. Select a location and then click OK.

List of imports and exports

Below is a list of imports and exports available in Fishbowl. Click the Instructions links below to see the instructions that are included in the Fishbowl Client. The Small.Data Import.png Data Import module also allows files to be imported, even if the column headers don't match the Fishbowl format. This allows many external files to be imported into Fishbowl without modification.

Name Description Instructions
Add Inventory Import to add inventory. The quantity in the import will increase (not adjust) existing inventory. Import Instructions
Associated Pricing Import/Export associated pricing. Import/Export Instructions
Associated Pricing Type Import/Export associated pricing types. Import/Export Instructions
Bill of Materials Import/Export a bill of materials. Import/Export Instructions
Bill of Materials Details Import/Export details for a bill of materials. Import/Export Instructions
Bill of Materials Instructions Import/Export instruction steps for a bill of materials. Import/Export Instructions
Carriers Import/Export carriers. Import/Export Instructions
Country And State Import/Export Country and State information. Import/Export Instructions
Currency Import/Export currency conversion information. Import/Export Instructions
Custom Field Data Import custom field data. Import Instructions
Custom Field Lists Import/Export custom field lists. Import/Export Instructions
Custom Fields Import/Export custom fields. Import/Export Instructions
Customer Group Relations Import/Export customer group relations. Import/Export Instructions
Customer Parts Import/Export customer part numbers. Import/Export Instructions
Customers Import/Export customers. Import/Export Instructions
Cycle Count Data Import/Export to perform a cycle count. Import/Export Instructions
Default Locations Import/Export part default locations. Import/Export Instructions
Discounts Import/Export discounts. Import/Export Instructions
EDI Shipping Export an EDI Shipping 856SOPI file. Export Instructions
Generic Shopping Cart Import information from a generic shopping cart. Import Instructions
Inventory Move Import to perform an inventory move. Import Instructions
Inventory Quantities Export current inventory quantities. Export Instructions
Kit Items Import/Export kit items. Import/Export Instructions
Locations Import/Export locations and Location Groups. Import/Export Instructions
Memo Data Import/Export memo data information. Import/Export Instructions
MIVA Shopping Cart Import information from a MIVA shopping cart. Import Instructions
OS Commerce Shopping Cart Import information from an OS Commerce shopping cart. Import Instructions
Packing Data Import orders that have been packed. Import Instructions
Part Import/Export parts. Import/Export Instructions
Part and Product Renaming Import/Export part and product names. Import/Export Instructions
Part and Quantity Import basic part information and quantity. Import Instructions
Part Cost Import/Export part average costs. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Part, Product, and Vendor Pricing Import/Export part, product and vendor pricing. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Part Standard Cost Import/Export part standard costs. Import/Export Instructions
Part Units of Measure Import/Export part units of measure. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Payment Data Import/Export payments. Import/Export Instructions
Payment Terms Import/Export payment terms. Import/Export Instructions
Picking Data Import orders that have been picked. Import Instructions
Pricing Rules Import/Export pricing rules. Import/Export Instructions
Product Import/Export products. Import/Export Instructions
Product Pricing Import/Export prices for products. Import/Export Instructions
Product Tree Import/Export products and the corresponding product tree categories. Import/Export Instructions
Product Tree Categories Import/Export product tree categories. Import/Export Instructions
Purchase Order Import/Export purchase orders. Import/Export Instructions
Purchase Order As Sales Order Export a purchase order that can be imported as a sales order. Export Instructions
Purchase Order Line Items Export purchase order line items. Export Instructions
QuickBooks Class Import/Export classes. Import/Export Instructions
Receiving Data Import/Export a record of what needs to be received from outstanding purchase orders. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Reorder Levels Import/Export reorder levels. Import/Export Instructions
Sales Order Import/Export sales orders. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Sales Order Details Import/Export changes to sales order details. Import Instructions - Export Instructions
Scrap Data Import details of inventory that has been scrapped. Import Instructions
Ship Carton Export ship carton information. Export Instructions
Ship Carton Tracking Import/Export ship carton tracking information. Import/Export Instructions
Shipping Data Import orders that have been shipped. Import Instructions
Tag Information Export inventory tags. A tag is an internal number used to group similar items together. Export Instructions
Tax Rates Import/Export tax rates. Import/Export Instructions
Transfer Order Import/Export transfer orders. Import/Export Instructions
Unit of Measure Conversions Import/Export unit of measure conversions. Import/Export Instructions
Units of Measure Import/Export units of measure. Import/Export Instructions
Users Import/Export users. Import/Export Instructions
Vendor Cost Rules Import/Export vendor cost rules. Import/Export Instructions
Vendor Parts Import/Export vendor part information. Import/Export Instructions
Vendors Import/Export vendors. Import/Export Instructions
Yahoo Shopping Cart Import information from a Yahoo Shopping Cart. Import Instructions
Work Order Steps Import/Export work order instruction steps. Import/Export Instructions

Suggested order of imports

Below is the suggested order of importing (or manually entering) data into Fishbowl when creating a new database:

  1. Units of Measure
  2. Unit of Measure Conversions
  3. Location Groups/Locations
  4. User/User Rights
  5. Payment Terms
  6. Carriers
  7. Custom Fields
  8. Vendors*
  9. Tax Rates
  10. Customers*
  11. Customer Group Relations
  12. Part Product And Vendor Pricing*
  13. Kit Items
  14. Default Locations
  15. Add Inventory*
  16. Bill of Materials*
  17. Product Tree Categories
  18. Product Tree
  19. Pricing Rules
  20. Sales Orders*
  21. Purchase Orders*

* This is essential data needed to utilize Fishbowl's features. These can be imported from QuickBooks via the Accounting Configuration Wizard.