How to Import Items Data into Bidstation from Excel

Most of time, items are being collected over some months leading up to the event.  And quite often, an Excel sheet is used to track the collections and donations, often including useful details relating to the process of collecting tracking the item donations. When it comes time to start preparing for the auction event, you’ll need to get those item details into Bidstation.  Not all of those details mind you, but just the ones you’ll need according to how you will be proceeding.  You won’t need to include details about whether an item has been collected, who collected it and so on in order to run your auction.  But you will need to have details such as the title of the item, the value, the starting bid, they type (silent or live).  You could input them one at a time in Bidstation, but importing is a much faster way to go for most.  But you’ll need to prepare your import data correctly so that it will work properly and you’ll need to consider what data you need to include by looking ahead at your processes. 

For example, to create bid sheets in Bidstation, you’ll want to choose your template, or templates, that you’ll use and then consider each data point on the bid sheet and that will help identify what you’ll need to have in your import file (and what data needs to be collected on each item as they come in).  So for a bid sheet that has pre-printed bid increments (which is a good idea), you will need to have the item value, starting bid and increment in order to be able to produce that bid sheet.  You may also want to display the donor, category and/or custom information on the bid sheet and knowing ahead of time what that is will help you ensure your team is collecting the data you’ll need while they are busy securing items.

When you’re ready to build your import file, it’s helpful to know that Bidstation provides a convenient template with headers for importing Items and other data, found in the File Menu. Select  File/Import/Import Templates, then select Item from the Import Type drop-down menu.



Select Generate and you will be prompted to save the Excel file to a preferred location. Save with the default filename or change it and Save.

The template will open in Excel. It provides pre-populated headers and follows the formatting conventions required for successful importing of Items into Bidstation. You may delete headers and columns that you don’t need and you may re-order the headers and columns but you must not change the header titles or include other headers columns that are not provided in the template.  Changing or adding headers likely will cause your import to fail or malfunction.



Enter data in the Excel spreadsheet columns using the following required conventions, then Save:

  • Title and Type are both required fields for creating a record and importing data. Title refers to what the item is to be listed as on invoices, bidsheets and other areas and type is ONLY one of three options:
    • Silent
    • Live
    • Basket
  • Item numbers (required for the auction) may be entered in the field CatalogueNumber (equivalent to Item Number): Use numbers only (not alpha text) or leave blank if you want to add them later or use the item numbering tool.
  • Do not use currency symbols such as “$” in the Value field
  • Use any combination of symbols/letters/numbers up to 5,000 characters including spaces in the Description field
  • To import ITEMS and apply a tax/surcharge, enter the numeral 1 (one). (The Tax/Surcharge field box in the item’s profile will then be checked if taxes should be applied to the winning bid.)
  • If you are not applying a tax/surcharge, leave the field blank or enter the numeral 0 (zero).
  • Columns may be reordered or deleted, except for the required headers Title (of item), Type (Basket, Live or Silent) and Item Number.



When you are ready to import the list of Items, use the navigation menu to select File/Import/Items, browse to find the Items list you have prepared (named Item by default), select the file and click Open.  The items in your list will be added in Bidstation.

Imported information can be changed within the program as required. New items can be imported using the method described but must be imported from a new Excel/CSV file each time since importing always adds, and never overwrites or updates existing records. To update data, edit it in Bidstation or delete the record in Bidstation before re-importing.

For more information about importing items information consult the Bidstation™ User Manual, Section 9.