Product variants

Admin → Products → Select product

Sometimes, you may want to sell products that are very similar (e.g. A desk in two different colors, or a T-shirt in different sizes). Shopify refers to these similar products as Product variants.

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What is a product variant?

Product variants are the styles a product comes in. For example, one product that comes in only one style would be a single-variant product. A product that comes in three different styles, such as small, medium, and large, would be a product with three variants.

Product variants are defined by their option names and option values. Product options and values can relate to one of the following aspects of a product:

  • Size
  • Colour
  • Material
  • Style
  • Custom options (choose an option name yourself)

Each option must have a set value.

For example, a small t-shirt would have the option of size, and value would be small. A medium t-shirt would have the same option: size. Its value is medium.

Product Variant
T-shirt Option Value
First Variant Size Small
Second Variant Size Medium
Third Variant Size Large

Caution

By default, any product created without any specific option selected will be given the option "Title" with the value "Default Title". If you change this, it's possible that a single-variant product may display incorrectly to your customers.

Creating a Product with Variants

When creating new a product, variants can be set up immediately.

1. Click the This product has multiple options checkbox

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2. Use the Option Name drop-down menu, choose the name of an option you want your product variants to have. For example, size

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3. Enter the option values for the option you've created in the Option Value box, separated by a comma

As example, if you selected Size as your option, you might type Small, Medium, Large in the box, separating each variant with a comma to distinguish each variant.

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Whenever you create a new option value, you will have the ability to automatically create variants for the product based on the number of option values you have set. If a product comes in different material, each size will be made available in both materials.

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This also allows you to generate sets of variants automatically based on the options and values you've just set up. However, if you want to set different prices, SKUs, or barcodes for each item, uncheck that box to select which variants will be created:

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In this example product, there are a total of six variants, one for every possible combination of size and material. Each variant has its own price as well.

To put this in perspective, here's what a product with multiple options and values would look like in table form, similar to the above example with one option:

Product Variant Variant Name
T-shirt Option 1 Value Option 2 Value
First Variant Size Small Material Hemp Small/Hemp
Second Variant Size Medium Material Hemp Medium/Hemp
Third Variant Size Large Material Hemp Large/Hemp
Fourth Variant Size Small Material Cotton Small/Cotton
Fifth Variant Size Medium Material Cotton Medium/Cotton
Sixth Variant Size Large Material Cotton Large/Cotton

Reminder

You can create products on Shopify with up to 3 product options with a total of 100 variants. If you want to create Products with greater customization, you can use an app to do it, or use Line Item Properties.

Creating New Variants

Once you have created your product, the process for adding variants is similar to adding variants during product creation, but there are some very important work-flow changes to bear in mind.

Adding a single variant

To add a variant to a product, click Add a variant in the Inventory & variants section of the product screen.

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Once you do, the Add a variant menu will appear.

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Information

The additional fields on the Add a variant menu allow you to configure your variants. These fields are explained later on. Learn more ›

This product currently only has one option: size. Only the size option appears in the top section of the menu. In this case, because this product currently only has a one variant, enter medium as the option value.

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Click Add variant to create the second size. The new size will now appear on the product screen as a variant.

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Adding an option

To add a new option to a product, click edit options.

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The edit options menu will appear:

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Here you can add options to your product variants. As an example, you would add Material as an option. You can also add a custom option.

You may only create an option with one value at a time, and so for example, enter hemp as the material.

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Click Save changes to add the option.

Adding multiple variants

Now that you have a small and medium hemp t-shirt, use the bulk actions dropdown to create the rest of the variants. First, create a large hemp t-shirt by selecting one of the variants.

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Next, click Bulk actions to open the bulk actions menu.

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Click ... in another Size, and enter Large in the pop up, and the third size will appear.

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You can repeat the process to continue adding multiple variants. Select the three t-shirts that are the same Material and use bulk actions to Duplicate variants ...in another Material:

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Create a set of shirts in Cotton, and you will now have 6 variants: 3 sizes, 2 different materials.

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Reminder

If multiple variants are selected, you can only create a new variant with a different value for options that have matching values.

Managing variants

Editing variants

Editing variants in-line

Shopify's Admin allows you to use in-line and bulk editing on the visible option values on the Inventory and Variants overview.

You can edit one value at a time by clicking on a specific value and making changes on the overview:

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Editing variants with Bulk actions

You can also edit several variants at a time by using the Bulk actions menu:

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The bulk actions menu allows you to:

  • Change variant prices
  • Change on-hand inventory
  • Change variant images
  • Delete selected variants

You can also edit in more detail using the Edit variant menu. Click Edit on the right side of the Inventory & variants section of the product screen

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The Edit Variant window opens.

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The Edit Variant menu is one of the most important sections of the Shopify Admin. This is where your product variants are fully configured and set up in your Shopify Admin.

Product Options These are option values that are configured for the product. The edit variant menu allows you to alter values as needed, but options are edited separately.
Price The current selling price of a variant. This can vary from variant to variant.
Compare at Price Allows you to show a higher price than your current selling price. You can use this to indicate a markdown, or a discount on MSRP.
Weight The weight of your variant, which is used to calculate the weight of your order. This is used in weight-shipping rates and real-time carrier calculated shipping
SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) The unique identifier you can use with your suppliers or fulfillment services to identify your variants. This field is case-sensitive.
Barcode The barcode associated with your product on Shopify POS. This is also used to list products in the Google Shopping app.
Charge taxes on this product Allows you to enable or disable taxes on a variant. If this box is unchecked, taxes will not be charged on that variant, but can still be charged on others.
Require shipping Indicates whether the product is a physical product or not. If your product is a physical object, enable this checkbox.
Fulfillment Defines which fulfillment service to use when fulfilling an order with this variant. If you are fulfilling this variant yourself, select manual from the drop-down menu.
Inventory Policy Configures a product's inventory policy, as well as how many units you have in stock.

Reordering variants

To reorder variants within the Admin, click reorder variants within the Inventory & variants section of the product screen.

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The pop-up menu allows you to drag and drop options and option values in the order you prefer. You can reorder options to present them to the customer in a specific order.

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If you wanted your customer to pick their material before choosing a size, you would drag Material up to the top of the reorder variants menu:

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After saving changes, the material option is now first on your store:

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Editing options

To change which options your product has, click edit options in the Inventory & variants section of the product screen.

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To offer this t-shirt in two colors instead of two materials, use the drop-down menu to select color instead of material.

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Reminder

You cannot rename option values within the edit options menu. This must be done with in-line editing or through the edit variant menu. Changing an option does not change its values.

Deleting variants

To delete a single variant, click the trash can button on the variant table:

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You can also delete multiple variants as a Bulk action. Select several variants, and click Delete variants from the bulk action menu:

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Caution

Deleting variants cannot be undone. If you delete a variant by mistake, you must add that variant again from scratch.

Deleting option values

To delete option values from a product:

1. Open the edit options menu from the Inventory & variants section of the product page

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2. Click the x on the option value you wish to delete

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3. When you delete an option, you will be warned about how many variants will be deleted as a result.

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4. Click Delete to delete the option value and remove the variants with this option value from the product.

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Deleting product options

To delete an option from a product, use the trash can icon in the edit options menu.

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Reminder

Options can only be removed from a product when only one option value exists. You must delete all possible option values before deleting an option.

FAQ

How many variants can a product have?

The maximum number of variants a product can have is 100. If you require more variation in your product, you can use an app, or use line item properties to allow for more customization to a product.

How many product options can I have?

You can have three product options on a product.

How do I create a custom variant for my customers?

In order to create a custom variant for a product, you must use an app, or use line item properties .

My product page shows variant selectors but I only have one variant, how do I fix this?

If you've set an option other than Title with Default Title on a single-variant products, a theme might recognize this as an option with multiple values. All single-product variants should only have Title as an option, and Default Title as the value.

Why are some of my variants showing as 'unavailable'?

If certain combinations of options and values are showing as unavailable on the storefront, make sure that you have every possible combination of options and values for that product.

How do I make my variant image change when I select a variant?

This additional behavior could confuse shoppers, leading to a customer adding the wrong variant to the cart, and this is not Shopify's default behavior as a conscious decision. If you wish to implement this behavior, you can use this gist in your product.liquid template.

Caution

This is a theme customization and is not supported under the Shopify Design Policy.

How do I make customer select a variant before an item can be added to their cart?

That is also available as an unsupported customization here.

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