Getting started


This section describes how to get started with import-export. We’ll use the example application as a guide.

import-export can be used programmatically as described here, or it can be integrated with the Django Admin interface.

Test data

There are sample files which can be used to test importing data in the tests/core/exports directory.

The test models

For example purposes, we’ll use a simplified book app. Here is our

# app/

class Author(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

    def __str__(self):

class Category(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField(max_length=100)

    def __str__(self):

class Book(models.Model):
    name = models.CharField('Book name', max_length=100)
    author = models.ForeignKey(Author, blank=True, null=True)
    author_email = models.EmailField('Author email', max_length=75, blank=True)
    imported = models.BooleanField(default=False)
    published = models.DateField('Published', blank=True, null=True)
    price = models.DecimalField(max_digits=10, decimal_places=2, null=True, blank=True)
    categories = models.ManyToManyField(Category, blank=True)

    def __str__(self):

Creating a resource

To integrate import-export with our Book model, we will create a ModelResource class in that will describe how this resource can be imported or exported:

# app/

from import_export import resources
from core.models import Book

class BookResource(resources.ModelResource):

    class Meta:
        model = Book  # or 'core.Book'

Importing data

Let’s import some data!

1>>> import tablib
2>>> from import_export import resources
3>>> from core.models import Book
4>>> book_resource = resources.modelresource_factory(model=Book)()
5>>> dataset = tablib.Dataset(['', 'New book'], headers=['id', 'name'])
6>>> result = book_resource.import_data(dataset, dry_run=True)
7>>> print(result.has_errors())
9>>> result = book_resource.import_data(dataset, dry_run=False)

In the fourth line we use modelresource_factory() to create a default ModelResource. The ModelResource class created this way is equal to the one shown in the example in section Creating a resource.

In fifth line a Dataset with columns id and name, and one book entry, are created. A field (or combination of fields) which uniquely identifies an instance always needs to be present. This is so that the import process can manage creates / updates. In this case, we use id. For more information, see Create or update model instances.

In the rest of the code we first pretend to import data using import_data() and dry_run set, then check for any errors and actually import data this time.

See also

Import workflow

for a detailed description of the import workflow and its customization options.

Deleting data

To delete objects during import, implement the for_delete() method on your Resource class.

The following is an example resource which expects a delete field in the dataset. An import using this resource will delete model instances for rows that have their column delete set to 1:

class BookResource(resources.ModelResource):
    delete = fields.Field(widget=widgets.BooleanWidget())

    def for_delete(self, row, instance):
        return self.fields['delete'].clean(row)

    class Meta:
        model = Book

Exporting data

Now that we have defined a ModelResource class, we can export books:

>>> from core.admin import BookResource
>>> dataset = BookResource().export()
>>> print(dataset.csv)
2,Some book,1,,0,2012-12-05,8.85,1


Data exported programmatically is not sanitized for malicious content. You will need to understand the implications of this and handle accordingly. See Security.