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Posted on November 17, 2023

The 5 Best WordPress Plugins to Import Users from Excel

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There are three main criteria when assessing WordPress plugins to import users from Excel:

  1. Can a plugin import data directly from an Excel file format (.xls, .xlsx)? This only matters if you want to automate your WordPress user imports on a schedule. If you plan to run your imports manually, you can always just save an Excel file to a CSV format and import that. If this is your situation, you're better off reading The 5 Best Plugins for WordPress User Import from CSV.
  2. Can a plugin filter the incoming users to import only the users you want? If it can't, and you get an import file containing users that you don't want to import, you'll have no choice except to manually edit the file in Excel before you import it. That can be a hassle.
  3. Can a plugin modify the incoming data on the fly to adjust for data layout and formatting issues? The less control you have over the creation of the user import file, the more likely you'll need to do this. If it becomes necessary, but the plugin can't help you, you'll again have to manually edit the file in Excel before you import it. But this isn't just a hassle. Depending on the nature of the required changes, it may become an editing nightmare.

Of these three criteria, only the third needs elaboration, as there are four typical variations:

  • Sometimes, the data from multiple Excel columns might need to be consolidated into one WordPress user field, or one Excel column might have to be split into multiple user fields;
  • An Excel cell may contain a value that needs to be reformatted to match the requirements of a WordPress user field; this often occurs with date fields;
  • An Excel cell may contain multiple values separated by a pipe ("|") or other character; depending on the WordPress user field, you may wish to retain this format or alter it;
  • An Excel cell may contain an even more complex structure, like a JSON object; again, you may have to deal with this in a specific way;

In this article, we rank the plugins from our The 5 Best WordPress User Import Plugins article against these criteria for Excel files.

1. WP All Import

WordPress Import Users from Excel - WP All Import

WP All Import is the one plugin in this list that can do it all.

First, it can import from either Excel file format (.xls or .xlsx).

Second, it has an advanced filter system so that you can limit incoming users to those that you truly want to import into your WordPress database.

Third, it gives you complete control over the layout and format of incoming Excel data. For example, to create a unified address field, you can combine literal values with multiple incoming data elements:

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Combination Fields

You can use simple inline PHP formulas to control the format of individual user fields. For instance, this function deletes any instances of commas inside an incoming data element:

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Simple Field Formulas

If that's not sufficient, you can use WP All Import's embedded function feature to apply far more sophisticated changes. Here, a custom function is used to round a dollar amount:

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Embedded Functions

This function can then be applied to any relevant field in the import process.

With this toolset, you can convert any type of incoming Excel data into exactly the WordPress user field values that you require.

Beyond these layout and format capabilities, you can also:

  • Selectively update only the fields that you want;
  • Schedule your imports;
  • Control whether the import will update existing users, or delete existing users that don't exist in the import file;
  • Try to retain existing User IDs and passwords;
  • Import any other WordPress or WooCommerce data types;
  • Link users to other related data even when their User IDs change;

For more information, see Import Users From CSV, Excel, and XML.

2. Export and Import Users and Customers by Webtoffee

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Webtoffee

Like WP All Import, this plugin will import directly from either Excel format.

However, it doesn't let you filter incoming users.

In terms of modifying data during an import, it will let you merge incoming user fields:

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Webtoffee Merge Fields

And it will let you apply some operators to numeric fields:

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Webtoffee Formulas

But it won't let you use inline PHP functions or create custom functions, so your ability to correct layout or formatting problems in Excel is extremely limited.

You also can't selectively update specific fields, meaning you have to take an all-or-nothing approach for user updates.

Finally, while other Webtoffee plugins provide good coverage of WooCommerce data types, this is not true for other WordPress data types. So, after learning the Webtoffee, you may still have to learn completely different plugins for other import tasks.

All in all, this feels very much like a WP All Import Lite.

For additional information, see Export and Import Users and Customers.

3. Woo Import Export by Vjinfotech

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Woo Import Export

This is the third and final plugin on this list that will import directly from either Excel file format.

It has a good data filter system very similar to that of WP All Import.

It will let you selectively update user fields, as well as choose how to match existing users on your site.

Unfortunately, it won't let you modify incoming data in any meaningful way, as it lacks the ability to use inline PHP functions when populating WordPress user fields, and it doesn't have any kind of embedded function editor.

This makes this plugin substantially less capable than WP All Import, though it is a bit more flexible than Webtoffee's Export and Import Users and Customers plugin. So, why isn't it ranked above Webtoffee's plugin? There are two main reasons:

  • Quality concerns, both in terms of user reviews and our own experience when using Woo Import Export's demo site;
  • A lack of full documentation;

For more information, see Woo Import Export.

4. Import and Export Users and Customers by Codection

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Codection

This plugin cannot import users directly from Excel file formats.

To learn more, see Import and Export Users and Customers.

5. Import Users from CSV by Andrew Lima

WordPress Import Users from Excel - Import Users from CSV

This plugin cannot import users directly from Excel file formats.

To learn more, see Import Users from CSV.

WordPress User Import Plugins — Wrap-Up

Unfortunately, there are not many plugins that will let you import WordPress users directly from Excel. In the case of this list, we're limited to just three plugins.

Of those three, there is a clear distinction between WP All Import and the other two. WP All Import will let you do everything you could possibly want with data from an Excel file. You can filter it, reorganize it, and modify it in every way imaginable, from small inline changes to drastic changes based on conditional logic — all during the import itself. You can dictate whether to just add new users, update existing users, or even delete existing users that are not found in the import file.

Put another way, there is no import action that you can't do with WP All Import.

The other two plugins that can import directly from Excel involve significant tradeoffs. With the Export and Import Users and Customers plugin by Webtoffee, you have no control over which users are imported from the incoming data or which fields get updated for existing users, though you can modify the incoming data at a field level in a few limited ways.

With Woo Import Export, you get good filtering capabilities but lose the ability to modify the incoming data.

This is not a great situation if you prefer to have a lot of plugin candidates for any given task, but it is what it is.

Related Info

The 5 Best WordPress User Import Plugins

The 5 Best Plugins for WordPress User Import from CSV

The 5 Best WordPress CSV Import Plugins To Speed Up Your Workflow in 2024

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