Options - Basic Concepts


The Actinic system allows you to create several different product variations in the same item file. These different variations are called Options.

Front Office:
1: The customer chooses an item from the product list 2: Once in the detailed view, they can select the variation (size, color, etc.)

Click image to zoom

Click image to zoom

Back Office:
These types of items are called Parents Parents are actually made up of several Options that represent the different product variations.

Click image to zoom

Click image to zoom

Options are full-fledged items and have their own properties: stock, weight, price, description, etc. Their properties are identical to those of an item without Options.

 Items, Parents , Options

An Item is a product that does not have any different variations.

As soon as Options are added to an Item, it becomes a Parent.

Parents are virtual items that contain the product variations. These variations are called Options.

Each Option corresponds to a "real" element in your inventory. The Parent simply allows you to regroup Options and define their shared properties to save you time.

 Option Creation Wizard

Transforming an Item into a "Parent + Options" is done in the option creation wizard. This wizard uses a selection of criteria to generate the different product variations (Options). These criteria are called Option Types.

Option Types are used to create Options. You can read more about how Option Types work in the following help topic: Options - Option Types


Parents allow you to define the properties shared by all of the Options. This way, at the Option level, you only have to edit the properties that differ from Option to Option, saving you time when creating the Options initially.

The concept of Parent/Option inheritance follows 4 important rules:
  • When created, Options inherit the Parent's properties.

    Example, Part 1:
    - You create a Parent from an Item whose description is “Men's 100% cotton v-neck T-Shirt”
    -> All of the Parent's Options will have “Men's 100% cotton v-neck T-Shirt” as their description.

  • The properties of each Option can then be modified without impacting the other Options or the Parent.

    Example, Part 2:
    - 4 of your Options have a boat neck
    -> You can edit the properties of these 4 options individually to change their description to "Men's 100% cotton boat neck T-Shirt”. The other Options will not be affected by these changes.

  • Changes to one of the Parent's properties is passed on to each of the Options, but ONLY IF it was still the same as the Parent.

    Example, Part 3:
    - You decide to change the Parent's description to “Men's 80% cotton, 20% acrylic v-neck T-Shirt”.
    -> All of the Option descriptions that were “Men's 100% cotton v-neck T-Shirt” will be updated with this new description. The 4 Options whose descriptions were changed to "Men's 100% cotton boat neck T-Shirt" will not be modified.

  • The concept of inheritance is INDEPENDENT for each property field.

    Example, Part 4:
    - Now you change the name of the Parent. Note that the name was not individually changed in any of the Options.
    -> Therefore, all the Options had the same name as the Parent and will be updated with the new name. The descriptions that were previously modified will not be affected. The 4 items with the boat neck will keep their different descriptions.
 Linked Parents and Options

When a Parent is duplicated, the system allows you to link the copy to the original item. Therefore, the Options of linked Parents are also linked.

Linked Options share the same stock. Certain other properties can also be collectively modified. See the help topic: Options - Duplication.

Linked products are especially useful when you want to propose the same item in several different languages. By linking the copies, you can be sure that for each Option sold in the UK, for example, the stock level for the French version is up-to-date and vice versa.

A Parent can be duplicated up to 6 times in linked mode.

 Warning Messages

When editing a linked Parent or a linked Option, the system will give you the choice of extending the concepts of inheritance described above to their linked items. These choices and their impact will be described on warning pages explaining the consequences of the choice you make in detail.

Click image to zoom

We recommend reading these warning messages very carefully! Picture a Parent with 200 Options, duplicated and linked 6 times. Modifying the Parent in linked mode will potentially lead to an update of... 1,200 Options in your site!

When in doubt, the first choice is always the less "risky" option.

 Difference Between Attributes and Options

Actinic also proposes another tool allowing you to create product variations: Attributes.

Attributes are managed completely differently than Options. Multiple Attributes only affect the price of the item. No other properties, including the stock and weight of the item, are affected when an Attribute is selected.

Attributes can be applied to a Parent, but all Options share these Attributes, which cannot be individually modified in the properties of the Option.

In general, Attributes are especially useful in that they are not connected to the stock level of your products. Imagine that you want to offer gift wrapping for your products for an additional fee. You aren't going to gift wrap ahead of time and define a stock level for your black t-shirt is small with a v-neck and gift wrapped and another for the same product without the gift wrapping! Attributes are perfectly adapted to meet this type of need.

Attributes are described in detail in the following help topic: Multiple Attribute Management.


By default, the product list only displays Items (without Options) and Parents.

In the list, there are two ways to distinguish between a Parent and an Item (without Options). Parents have:
  • A funnel shaped icon next to the item code
  • A 4th icon to the right of the item that is in color

Click image to zoom

This display mode is useful to have an overall view of your products without going into the details. If every Parent in your shop had a lot of Options, the "real" list of your products could easily reach tens of thousands of references.

The “Show options” check box allows you to switch to a display mode that lists the Items (without Options) and the Options (without the Parents).

Before changing an Item to a Parent, the 4th icon in the item's row is greyed out. This icon allows you to launch the option creation wizard. Once the Options are created, both the funnel and the colored [Edit Options] icon allow you to access your Options, but each in its own way:
  • The [Edit Options] icon allows you to access the Option list. This mode allows you to:

    • Quickly modify all of the main properties of your Options: stock, price, default option, and position.

      Click image to zoom

    • Relaunch the option creation wizard to add new Options to the Parent.

    • Edit or view the properties of each Option.

    • Define the page layout for your Options using the "Element Layout" tab. - See help topic: Options - Layout

  • The funnel icon simultaneously performs two actions:

    • It switches the item list to the "Show options" mode.

    • It applies a filter to the Options of the selected Parent.

      Click image to zoom

      Note that this is a simple "filter" that can then be completed with the rapid filters or by clicking on the [Edit View] button. The icons with the funnel crossed out allow you to go back to the original display view.

      In this mode, the Options can be directly edited, just like in the "Show options" mode. This display is most useful to perform batch processing procedures on your Options. See help topic: Options - Batch Processing.
Modifying the properties of an Option is identical to modifying the properties of an Item, except that certain fields cannot be edited, such as categories, attributes, etc.

 Volume Allowances

Billing for options has changed and is now: 1 option = 1 item in regards to your volume allowances.

You can find more information about our subscription packages and volume allowances here: http://www.actinic.co.uk/online-ecommerce/pricing-plans.html.

Add to favorites: http://www.oxatis.co.uk/Help/HelpCenterContent.asp?ActionID=512&MID=9000%7C55337&TID=55338&LangID=1
© 2001-2018 Oxatis. All rights reserved.