Magento 2 Configurable Products – What is going on?

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So, I have recently been bumping into some problems with the way configurable products work in Magento 2. As documented here: Issue #2564

My story:

I am a merchant and I sell iPhone cases in 4 different colours: Red, White, Blue & Charcoal. These are all simple products in my Magento, but now my collection is growing and I want to create a configurable product to associate all of them too. Simple.

The Magento 1.x process:

Catalog > Manage Products > Add Product

Create Product Settings

Attribute Set: Default

Product Type: Configurable Product

Select Configurable Attributes

Colour ✓

New Product

I fill in all the details for the configurable item then head to Associated Products at the bottom of the left-hand menu.

Here I am presented with a list of all the products I could associate, I filter them by name (iPhone Case) and tick the box on their rows, save the product and done.

The Magento 2 process:

Products > Catalog > Add Product Dropdown Arrow > Configurable Product

I then get straight to the product information section, amazing this is so much faster & better than M1. I fill in all the details for the configurable item then head to Configurations at the bottom and… hmm.

The only option I have is “Create Configurations” but, I already have simple products created.

Ok, I’ll go with it.

Create Configurations
Step 1: Select Attributes > Colour
Step 2: Attribute Values > Red, White, Blue, Charcoal
Step 3: Bulk Images, Price, and Quantity > Well, I really don’t want to do this because I already have my simple product created that I want to associate! How annoying.
Step 4: Summary > Great, a list of products I don’t need or want that I now have to generate.

So now I have a list of variations that are not my existing simple products and I don’t want, how can I sort this?

Notice the new “Actions” dropdown: Select > Choose a different product

“Choose a new product to delete and replace the current product configuration.”

Click the variant and its replaced… Now, is it just me or is that completely backwards? The “Choose a different product” functionality seems like a hack to get it to do something it should from the start.


Also, coming out of my merchant role playing, as someone who regularly trains business owners to use and update their Magento websites through the admin, this is going to be a nightmare to teach! If it stays this way I will be saying “I don’t know, that’s just the way it is.” a lot more often.

Another fun feature: Product Types Are Now Fluid

If you create a configurable product with simple variations everything is fine, but if you then delete these variations that configurable suddenly becomes a simple product.

If you create a simple product with a weight everything is fine, until you declare that this simple product has no weight (Hey! Maybe it’s really light, or you don’t know the weight, or it’s not important, or whatever) then it becomes a virtual product.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I hate or love this. It’s just so random.

  • If you already have your simple product(s) created, then after Step 4 — click on Generate Configuration where you’ll have the ability to replace all this configuration with existing simple products (select action -> replace -> select correct product form the list). (Let me know if that doesn’t help clear things up!)

    • Hi Sherrie, yes I have seen and used the Actions dropdown in my steps above, but doesn’t seem a very good user experience.
      Everything else in the M2 admin seems simpler and quicker except this. Surely it would be much better not to have to go through a pointless 4 step process to generate new simple products that you then just replace with the ones you wanted to add in the first place? Could it not use the functionality you get after you have added one configuration and look like the attached when you first create the configurable? & if not, what are the restrictions as to why it can’t work this way?

  • To top this, when you finally reach the “Select Associated Product” there are no products to select.
    Even though they are all enabled, visible in “Catalog, Search”, have weight and proper stock qty and status set to “In stock”. Magento 2.1.

    [Edit] UPDATE: Figured out how to make Magento 2 to show the products. You’ll need to remove every single generated product (without saving) and you’ll be able to select existing simple products.

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