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Using the Administrator

Throughout the Administrator, the same control screen is used when presenting information on products, categories, attributes, orders, customers, and other types of items. The control screen consists of various forms to manipulate what is being displayed and help you maintain the information. A good share of learning how to manage your store through the Administrator is simply learning how to use the features of the control screen.

Here is a summary of each of the forms on the control screen:

One of the ways the control screen features can save a dramatic amount of time is in the case of updating product prices, particularly if your store has a large number of products. The following example shows how to review and update a large group of products all at once. It uses the products from the demo store to demonstrate what to do.

You can use this same technique in the Administrator to make many other sorts of updates or to generate ad hoc reports. For example, it can help you:

In several areas of the Administrator, you need to make "assignments"; for example, assigning products to categories, and assigning attributes to products. In either of these cases, the process is essentially the same. The following steps describe how to create an attribute and assign it to a product. (The process of assigning products to categories is specifically covered in the Adding Your First Product section.)

Example 4.2. Creating an Attribute and Options, and Assigning it to a Product

  1. Navigate to the Products -> Attributes screen.
  2. To add a new attribute, click the "Add New Record Button."
  3. An Attribute is used to provide customers with the ability to select options for their products, or enter personalized information. In this example, let's define an attribute named "Color".
  4. Use "Color" for the name, and "COLOR" for the code, or whatever else you'd like to use.
  5. For the type field, to have the Color options displayed next to each other on the product page using radio buttons, select "Expanded (radio buttons)"; otherwise, you can use "Compact (drop down)" to display the options in the form of a drop-down menu.
  6. You can optionally enter in a price, cost, weight, description, etc. for the new attribute.
  7. Hit "Add New Record" to add the new attribute to the system.
  8. Now navigate back to the Products -> Attributes screen. You should see your new attribute in the table in the center of the screen.
  9. Click the "Options" button next to the new attribute, and on the susequent screen click the "Add New Record" button to add a new Option under the Color attribute.
  10. Add a new option named "Blue". Use "Blue" for the name, and "BLUE" for the code. Optionally, set the option's price, and add a description and image path. The price will be added to the customer's subtotal if he selects this option.
  11. Hit "Add New Record" to add the new option to the system.
  12. Repeat the above two steps for "Red", "Orange", "Yellow", or whatever other colors you like.
  13. Now that you've added the Color attribute, and created the color options under it, you need to assign the attribute to a product. Navigate to Products -> Products screen.
  14. Click on the "Attributes" link next to the product you wish to add the color attribute to. (If you haven't created any products, click the "Add New Record" button to create one.)
  15. You should now see the new Color attribute (along with any other attributes that were already defined) in the table in the center of the screen. To assign one or more of the attributes to the product, click the "On" button next to "Edit Mode".
  16. Check the checkbox under the "Assigned" column next to the Color attribute.
  17. Click "Update/Delete" to save the change.

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