What is an attribute?



An attribute is a product’s characteristic. A product is usually composed of several attributes: an identification number, a name, a description, a price, a color... Depending on your Akeneo Edition version (Community or Enterprise), you can choose amongst 18 attribute types.

In Akeneo, attributes are gathered into families, so all products belonging to the same family share the same attributes. If you are not familiar with the concept of families, check our What is family? article.

You can easily create attribute groups to gather your attributes and ease their enrichment in the product form. Read the following article to get more information about attribute groups: What is an attribute group?.

Akeneo attribute types

Here are the attribute types available in Akeneo:

  • Identifier attribute: a code to identify your product, there can only be one identifier attribute in the PIM, this code must be unique for each product. This identifier attribute is always named SKU This attribute is mandatory to create products and can not be removed.
  • Text attribute: a single-line text field that can contain up to 255 characters, it is usually used for a product name.
  • Text area attribute: a multi-line text field that can be used for a product description.
  • Simple select attribute: a single-choice list coming with custom options. Only one value can be selected amongst the available options.
  • Multi select attribute: a multi-choice list coming with custom options. More than one value can be selected amongst the available options.
  • Yes/No attribute: a boolean attribute. You can define a Default value: this value is used at product/product model creation when no value is specified for this attribute.
  • Date attribute: a date field, the PIM will display a calendar to choose the date, which includes day, month and year.
  • Number attribute: a single-line field that can only contain numbers.
  • Measurement attribute: a single-line field composed of a first field containing a value and a second field containing a measurement unit. It allows you to automatically convert measurement values to others to fit your export needs. You can check the What about measurements article to get more information about this feature.
  • Price attribute: a price attribute with values per currency. The displayed values will depend on the currencies enabled in the PIM. Learn here how to enable or disable a currency in Akeneo PIM.
  • Image attribute: a drag and drop down zone to upload an image (extensions allowed: gif, jfif, jif, jpeg, jpg, pdf, png, psd, tif, tiff)
  • File attribute: a drag and drop down zone to upload a file (allowed extensions: csv, doc, docx, mp3, pdf)
  • Asset collection attribute (Enterprise Edition only): an advanced attribute type to manage several digital resources like pictures, pdf files, Youtube videos... Read the following article What about assets? to learn more about this attribute type
  • Reference entity simple link attribute (Enterprise Edition only): allows enriching common data related to products with a rich content (text, images...), more complex than just a code and labels. Check our dedicated article What is a reference entity? to learn more about this attribute type.
  • Reference entity multiple links attribute (Enterprise Edition only): the same as above but allowing you to manage multiple links
  • Reference data simple select attribute: allows you to manage any kind of data that has its own properties, as a single-choice select.
  • Reference data multi select attribute: allows you to manage any kind of data that has its own properties, as a multi-choice select.

You can have only one attribute identifier, but you can have several attributes from the other types. If you need more identifier fields, use a text field with a unique value parameter set to Yes.


The only mandatory attribute is the Identifier attribute type. You first need to create an identifier attribute type before creating products.


Options for simple and multi select attributes can be translated in any enabled locale in the PIM.


To store GTIN, EAN, UPC… in your PIM, use the text attribute type and use a regular expression to control the field input. 
For instance, to store an EAN13 in Akeneo which does always contain 13 digits, add a validation rule based on the following regular expression: /^[0-9]{13}$/


Reference entities or reference data?


Reference entities are an Enterprise Edition feature. To learn more about Reference entities, read our dedicated article What is a Reference Entity?. 
Reference Data is a native Community and Enterprise Edition feature that manages links with products. They imply a custom development (installation of the Custom Entity Bundle) to enrich the reference data through the user interface, collect and distribute it.

If you are starting a new Enterprise Edition project, we strongly recommend that you use the Reference entities. On SaaS platforms (Growth Edition and Serenity), users can’t create Reference data attributes anymore.



Yes! If you were using Reference Data in a previous PIM version, you can migrate your Reference data thanks to the CSVToReferenceEntity tool. 
CSVToReferenceEntity will allow you to migrate data from the Custom Entity Bundle and transform them into Reference Entities records. 
This tool can also be used to initialize reference entities data from an ERP/MDM.


Yes, however only for PaaS platforms (Flexibility Edition).

Specific properties of attributes

An attribute can have several specific properties: it can have a value per channel, per locale, be locale specific, be read-only (Enterprise Edition only)

You can mix and match attribute properties to achieve a powerful result.


The value per channel property

This property should be enabled if the attribute's values differ for each channel. For instance, you might want to have:

  • a short description for your e-commerce website
  • a even shorter for your mobile app
  • a long one for your print catalog

In this case, when creating your attribute, enable the value per channel property.

The value per locale property

This property should be enabled if the attribute is meant to have different values per locale. This allows you to manage a product translations according to the activated PIM locales.

For instance, this feature will allow you to have one product name or a description for each locale activated in your PIM. It is mostly used for text or text area attributes.

In this case, when creating your attribute, enable the value per locale property.

The Attribute guidelines property

Thanks to this property, it is possible to explain what the expectations are for each attribute, in terms of enrichment. When an attribute guideline is defined, it is displayed under the attribute in the product edit form.

This property can be translated into all the UI locales.

The Read-only property

If you enable this property, users will not be allowed to edit the attribute through the UI, it will only be updated through imports, API or rules. The attribute will appear as greyed out in the interface.

In the case of the Product proposal import job, you cannot import read-only attributes (only editable attributes). Values will be automatically skipped from the import.


The Usable in Grid property

This property defines whether or not the attribute can be displayed as a column or used as a filter in the product grid or in the published products grid and proposals grid

The Locale specific property

Some attributes must be shown only for some locales. We will call them locale specific.

For instance, a cold resistance attribute for Russia, a Canadian tax only for Canada. In this case, when creating your attribute, enable the locale specific property.