I have a large catalog import where the items often refer to a single common image (such as "brand_logo"). When I import the images via CSV parser, if the item refers to the same image file, an incremented duplicate is created.

Example: Using the example files supplied with the module, I modified 2 books to use the same image file, which are imported to files/field/image/ as 51JQbhO0MmL.jpg and 51JQbhO0MmL_0.jpg.

This causes the images directory to balloon to 20 times the size it should be (lots of shared images).

Honestly, what I would prefer to do is to upload the images to the site separately (manually, via FTP etc.) and just import the links to the images, but I haven't figured that one out either.

(The data (files) is not being replicated, just the images are replicated.)

  • Do you have a unique target setup in the mapping? If you don't, it will duplicate. Dec 20, 2011 at 21:42
  • Yes, both product import and the reference import have Unique Targets.... In this example I am using the supplied example files (csv, prod import and ref import). They are not overridden.
    – Mark
    Dec 20, 2011 at 21:51
  • Try deleting the import... if this is possible. you will see an option, delete items, on the import page (/import/whatever_your_importer is called) Dec 20, 2011 at 22:29
  • After re reading your issue... I see that you will continue to have this problem no matter what. It is looking at the image as its own image for that node. I am not aware of a way to check duplicates of a file field on an importer. I would recommend doing an import of the catalog and using the file name as a flat URL field instead of importing the file... then in your node you should use the field to reference the image library using a template suggestion (drupal.org/node/1089656) It is a bit hackish, but if you mind the duplicates that much.. its your best bet. Dec 21, 2011 at 0:46
  • I see two relevant issues that may help. drupal.org/node/1357934 discusses using a reference to the image instead of importing the image itself. drupal.org/node/1171114 was a feature request. You might want to post a support request in the feeds queue in addition to following those issues.
    – rfay
    Dec 21, 2011 at 16:47

3 Answers 3


I found a solution to this. What you need to do is to install the Media Feeds module.

In your CSV file there is a column called e.g. image and reference the image using public://myimage.png.

Then in your mapping delete the original image mapping and create a new image mapping. When you do this you will have a new option for the image mapping. Make sure you set the target configuration to "Source is exactly the filename".

No more duplicated images.

  • Shane - I'm trying to follow what you did here. One question do all the images have to the in the public folder first? Currently I am downloading the images from the url in the csv file in the feeds import process, and am getting duplicates that I don't want. Sep 25, 2013 at 15:49
  • Hi, in my particular case I had all the images the public folder, I didn't try this on a remote url in csv. Let me know if you came right. Oct 1, 2013 at 6:13
  • Shane - No it didn't work for me with the url in the csv. Still duplicates :( Oct 2, 2013 at 11:09
  • Tried. Does not work :( When importing it says things like "Failed to get the file object for public://0091.jpg." Jan 30, 2014 at 14:24
  • Hi, not sure why you don't get the same result but just to be sure, the "public://0091.jpg" must be inserted with no quotes and the image must already exist in your Public file system path which can be found at admin/config/media/file-system , in my case it was sites/default/files Jan 31, 2014 at 16:17

There is some movement to resolve this issue (still in dev right now):

Apparently the official way going forward (will not apply to 7.x-2.0-alpha8 without errors): "Allow user to choose the method of file handling" https://drupal.org/node/1171114

Alternatively, this patch will apply to 7.x-2.0-alpha8 but will not be committed: "Allow the reuse of existing file entities instead of creating new ones" https://drupal.org/node/2093829


After banging my head against this issue for a while, my best option was to stop importing images into the nodes as files, but rather using imagecache_external module to reference the external image url and generating image styles from there. The module adds an Imagecache External Image formatter that behaves just like a normal image formatter in views and node displays.

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