I am struggling to find a clear explanation of what the "attach to content type" field in the basic settings of a Feeds importer actually does. The closest explanation I can find is from here:

"Feeds importers" can be used attached to a content type or on standalone forms. If attached to a content type, an import (or aggregation) is created by creating a node. This is e. g. useful when you would like your users to contribute feeds or when you need to track many feeds of data of the same kind.Alternatively, a Feeds importer can be used on a standalone form. This is useful for one-off imports like importing nodes.

I don't understand what this explanation means. Would be grateful if someone could explain what setting this "attach to content type" option actually does.


2 Answers 2


Yeah - I found this confusing as well.

Personally, I always select "standalone" which means that when I'm ready to import nodes with an importer I've created, I go to the path /import (e.g., http://example.com/import)

On this screen, I can select my importer and then launch the actual import (the one I created under /structure/feeds).

If you decide to attach to a content type instead, it just means that you go to /content/add/[content type] to launch the import process rather than /import. This way just never made sense to me conceptually, but there are probably good reasons to use this approach. Probably depends on who (which roles) you want to be able to use feeds imports.


  • Attaching it to a content type is great for end-users. You can also add fields that can be then used to alter/add to the uploaded feed. May 5, 2017 at 7:17

Basically it comes down to this:

  • If you have one source to import: use the standalone import form. For example: a single CSV file.
  • If you have multiple sources to import (all in the same data structure): attach to a content type. For example: several RSS feeds.

When attaching an importer to a content type it means that you need to create node of that type in order to import content. Since you can create multiple nodes of that type, you can import multiple sources this way.

Attaching an importer to a content type can also be useful if you want to allow your end users to import content. You could for example make use of node access to determine who may import what.

  • Ok, I think I got it. So in the case of being attached to a content type, when content for that type is saved an import will be triggers with the data source being the field data on that node. Is that correct?
    – Benjen
    Jun 29, 2017 at 2:14

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