How to Set Up and Extend Variable Products in WooCommerce

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When you start building sites for clients, you will learn quickly that the use of variable products is a much needed option. This will help you to understand the basics and how to extend the power of variations.

What is a Variable Product in WooCommerce?

Variable products in WooCommerce lets you create specific products that have multiple variations, for example, different colors, sizes, prices, and other data. When you create them, you will apply attributes, terms and variations to your products, as well as add specific images for each variation. T-shirt products are a good example of of a variable product in WooCommerce.

How to Create Variable Products in WooCommerce


Before creating your variable product, you need to create the attributes. If you go to Products > Attributes, you get this screen. As you see, I have already created the attribute size. Now I’m going to add colors.

add attribute

Attribute Terms

Once I have created it, I will now configure the terms (see above), which, in this case, is the specific color.

Here I will add blue and give it a short description, which may or not show, depending on the theme.

add color attributes

Once I add them, they appear here.

And also will appear on your attribute page.

Creating the Variable Product

The next step is creating your Variable Product. Under Products, click on Add New. Below your description, you need to assign the product date to Variable Product.

You will of fill in all the other necessary data and descriptions. Now let me show you information specific to Variable Products.

Adding Attributes to Products

Here you will select the attribute or attributes that you want to add to the product.

adding attributes

If I select colors, I have the options to add all terms or none. If you want to add only certain terms to this specific product, if you click on it. you will see a dropdown. Make sure to select Used for variations. This box is not toggled by default and if you add your terms, it will disappear.


If I were to click on Select All, all the terms I created for this variable would be added. Also, I can add a new term if I choose to.

add colors

After doing the same for sizes, I save both.

add all color

Creating Your Product Variations

Now you will create all the variations of your product. Simply click on Variations and you will have the option to add variations or create variations from all attributes.

options for adding variations

If you click on the add variation, for example, you can fine-tune what variations you want, based on attributes. In this example, I chose to have the variations created for black and all sizes. I also set the default form values to pre-select the black, large t-shirt on the front end of the store.

add variable

And you have several other options when creating the variations.

options for variable

If we expand that variation, we can fill in the rest of the details, such as prices, images, stock, etc.

expanded variation options

Or we could add them all at one time.

add all variations

You will get this confirmation message.

run all variations message warning

And here are the results.

all variations added at once

Now I would go into each of these and set them up, filling in the necessary information.

setting up one variation

Now if we view it on our store, this is what it will look like (depending on the theme you have installed.)

front end product

This helps you create the variations of the different products that are being sold on the WooCommerce site.

Products by Attributes Block

With WooCommerce comes several blocks to allow you to add products to posts or pages. Included in these is the Products by Attribute Block.

Simply add the block to where you want it on the page or post, then select which attributes you want to display. Or you can add all attributes.

And this is how they look in the editor.

Need To Expand Variable Products?

Here a four other extensions that we have written about that will help you extend the variations.

How to Control Where a Single Variation Displays

Variations of product are often buried and WooCommerce doesn’t give you much control over displaying any single variation. With the WooCommerce Show Single Variation plugin, you get more control over where and how a variation will show up. You can even add them to the shop page. Check out our post here.

How to Add Custom Product Fields to Variations

This article will teach you how to set up WooCommerce custom product fields using the WooCommerce Custom Fields for Variations plugin.

How to Link a Group of Any Type of Product by Attributes

The ability to link products together using their attributes via variations, can help with search, filtering and better archives. It also adds the benefit of giving each product variant a title, description and a unique URL. As a result, it really helps Google to index the products for a lasting long-tail SEO. Read more about it here.

How to Let Customers Add Multiple Variations to Their Carts with a Single Form

If you sell to businesses and your customers order bulk from variations of a single product, giving them an easy form to use could keep them as customers. This is useful with a number of products, from clothing to tech. A simple form could save them a lot of time on your clients store. Read more about how the extension Bulk Variation Forms gives you the ability to offer such an option on project that require it.

Bulk Edit Your Attributes and Variations

Although this extension can do more than variations and attributes, it will make it an easy task if you need to edit a lot of product attributes. Check out this post.

How to Add Variation Photos and Swatches

Learn how to add variation swatches and photos to your clients WooCommerce store with this step-by-step guide.

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