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    Your Zen Cart?


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Zen Cart Help

We have been working with the Zen Cart program for many years. Below are a list of instructions that we have provided for our customers. After trying to find your solution within this help FAQ, should you find yourself still dealing with a problem, please e-mail us, asking for further assistance.  Send your e-mail to: [email protected]

  • The best way to get to the admin is to go to www.yourwebsite.com/catalog/myadminarea this should take you to the login page. The username is always admin. If you forgot the password click on Resend Password. It should then email you a new password. Once you get this, copy and paste it into the password box.

    You will be asked to reset your password right away. Change the password to whatever password you would like.

    1. Log into your admin
    2. Roll your mouse over catalog
    3. Select categories/products
    4. Click on the category you would like to put the new product in (if the category is not there click on new category and add the category)
    5. Click on new product button at the bottom of the list of products
    6. Add product information and image
    7. Click on the preview button at the bottom right hand corner
    8. Check to be sure all information is correct
    9. Click insert
    10. You’re Done!
    1. Log into your admin
    2. Roll your mouse over catalog
    3. Select categories/products
    4. Click on the category where the product is that you would like to delete.
    5. On the same line that the product is on you will see a red X.
    6. Click on the red X to delete the product.
    1. Log into your admin
    2. Select tools
    3. Select “Define Pages Editor”
    4. Choose the page you want to edit in the drop down box
    5. Make your changes in the box
    6. Click “Update’
    1. In your adminarea go to Locations/Taxes > Zones Definitions > Insert
    2. Zone Name: Colorado
    3. Description: Colorado State Sales Tax (Or whatever you like)
    4. Click on ‘insert’
    5. Click on ‘Details’ after creating a zone
    6. Click on ‘Insert’
    7. Country = United States
    8. Zone = Colorado
    9. Click on ‘insert’
    10. Next go to Locations/Taxes > Tax Classes
    11. Click on ‘New Tax Class’
    12. Title = Taxable Goods
    13. Description = Whatever you like
    14. Click on ‘insert’
    15. Next go to Locations/Taxes > Tax Rates
    16. Click on ‘New Tax Rate’
    17. Select your zone, ‘Colorado’
    18. Set your tax rate give it a description, ex: Colorado State Sales Tax
    19. Click on insert
    20. Last, make sure you apply the new tax class that you created (Taxable Goods) to any and all products that you might be charging tax on.

    Note: To make this faster when adding new products, in the Admin area, you can select a default Tax Class to be applied to all new products you create, by selecting “Catalog -> Product Types -> (choose a product type) -> Edit Layout -> Default Tax Class

  • HOW TO USE – Rich Text Editors / Email Archiving / HTML Mail Sending

    Enabling HTML/Rich-Text Edit editor support:
    You can choose your editor setting under Configuration => My Store => HTML Editor

    Email System Settings relating to rich text messages
    In the ADMIN section, go to Configuration => E-Mail Options

    a. Make sure your “E-Mail Transport Method” is set appropriately for the webserver you’re using.
    b. Use MIME HTML When Sending Emails = “true”
    c. Send E-Mails = true
    d. Email Archiving Active? = We recommend setting this to “true” — note, this will increase your database size regularly.

    Where do I go to send HTML messages (Newsletters)?
    You can send newsletters from the admin area, under the “Tools” => “Newsletter Manager”.
    This works with Product Notifications, since they’re generated with the Newsletter Manager screen, too.

    You can also use “Tools” => “Send Email”, or in your Admin “Customers” => “Customers” screen, click “email“.

    Same for your Coupons, Gift Certificate Mail, and Gift Certificate Queue.

    What if I have my own HTML code to paste into an email? (rather than using the editor)
    You can optionally toggle the HTML editor’s “source” option on (check the box, or click the symbol), and just paste raw HTML into the editor directly, if you wish.

    Further, if you leave the editor disabled, but enable sending HTML messages, you can simply paste the raw HTML in the rich text field directly.

  • Customers who don’t have an existing PayPal account:

    1. Go to
    2. Click Sign Up Today.
    3. Set up an account for Business Owners.
    4. Follow the instructions on the PayPal site.


    Customers who already have a Personal or Premier account:

    1. Go to
    2. Click the Upgrade your Account link.
    3. Click the Upgrade Now button.
    4. Choose to upgrade to a Business account and follow instructions to complete the upgrade.
    5. If you haven’t already, add a bank account to become a Verified member. Follow the instructions on the PayPal site. (This process may take 2-3 business days.)

    Step 3: Setup API Access

    1. Log in to your PayPal Business account.
    2. Click the Profile subtab located in the top navigation area
    3. If you have a “My Selling Tools” tab on the left navigation area, click it and go to the next step. Otherwise you’ll see two or three columns of choices. You’ll want to click on the “API Access” option in the first column, and skip the next step.
    4. Beside the “API Access” option, click the “Update” link/button
    5. Under the Setting up PayPal API Credentials and Permissions heading, under OPTION 2 click the “Request API Credentials” link (If it already says “View API Signature”, click that and skip the next step)
    6. Click the “Request API signature” radiobutton then click “Agree & Submit” button (after agreeing to the terms).
    7. Write down the values listed next to API Username and Password
    8. Select the value listed next to Signature Hash, copy it, and save it to a file or some other location. This is your API Signature.
    9. Use the values from #7 and #8 to configure the API SIGNATURE settings in the PayPal Express Checkout module in your Zen Cart® admin area.
  • In your admin area go to Configurations => Credit Cards and enable any cards that you would like to use. After doing this if there is still a problem please contact your gateway provider and make sure that they have it setup on their end.

    1. Login in to your shopping cart admin
    2. Roll your mouse over modules
    3. Select order total
    4. Select Group Discount
    5. Select install
    6. Select edit if you need to
    7. Now roll your mouse over Customers
    8. Select Group Pricing
    9. Select insert to make a new group pricing
    10. Enter your Group Name
    11. Enter your Percentage Discount
    12. Click save
    13. You will need to select which Customers get what Group Discount.
    14. Roll your mouse over Customers
    15. Select Customers
    16. Choose the Customer you want to have the Group Discount
    17. Scroll down until you see Options and then select the discount that you would like this customer to have.
    1. Login in to your shopping cart admin
    2. Roll your mouse over modules
    3. Select Shipping (From there you will see all the different ways you can set your shipping up.)
    1. Login to your admin area.
    2. Go to => Modules => Shipping
    3. Click on the Module that you would like to edit and then click on the edit button to the right.
    4. Once you make your changes done make sure to click on the update button at the bottom.


    If you are setting up 1st Class shipping for USPS and it is not showing up do the following.

    1. Go to => Configuration => Shipping/Packaging
    2. Click on Package Tare Small to Medium – added percentage: weight
    3. Change settings to 0:0 and then click update.
    1. Place your Mouse over Modules
    2. Click Shipping
    3. Click Table Rate and Install
    4. Click Edit
    5. Here’s where it can get tricky – the formula is (Price or Weight of item) : (Price to ship)
    6. So if anything under $25.00 is $5.00 to ship it would look like 25:5.00, and the next one.
      There is an example above the box.
    7. Select By weight or price.
    8. Update
    1. Login to your shopping cart admin
    2. Scroll over catalog Select Product Price Manager
    3. Select Category with Product
    4. Click edit button
    5. Select Tax Class
    6. Click update
    7. Click on the next button and repeat steps 1-7
    1. Log into the admin portion of your site
    2. Scroll over tools
    3. Select Database backup from the dropdown menu
    4. Click on backup
    5. Select no compression
    6. Click backup
    7. This step may take a few minutes
    8. You will see a fresh backup in the list with the current date
  • There are 2 parts to attributes:
    • Option Name (size, color, ect)
    • Option Value (small, medium, large & pink, blue ect.)

    1. Defining Option Names:
      Admin -> Catalog -> Option Name Manager
    2. Type Option Name – Example: “Size” or “Color”
    3. Order (This is the sort order the Option Names will be displayed on the screen.)
      Example – Size – 1 Color – 2
    4. Select an Option Type: The way it will be displayed on your Shopping Cart.
      • Dropdown (note when only 1 option value this will automatically be switched to a Radio Button and later when more than one value it will automatically switch to the dropdown)
      • Radio Button
      • Checkbox
      • TEXT (this does not get an Option Value)
      • FILE (This does not get an Option Value)
      • READONLY (this is for display purposes only and is not part of a calculation nor does it appear on the order. It is more or less an informational attribute that can be used with 1 to many products and then changed once to change on all products.)
    5. (Insert)

    Repeat to Build All Categories Options.

    1. Defining Option Values
      Catalog … Option Value Manager
    2. Pick the Option Name you already created from the drop down box
    3. Give a Name like red, blue green
    4. Sort Order … 1 or 2 or 3…ect
    5. (insert) and Repeat

    Adding Attributes to the Products
    So now to add them to the products. This is done via the Attributes Controller

    1. Catalog….Attributes Controller
    2. Select a Product to add Attributes to
      You can look up a product in a couple ways …
      – Either pick a Category or a Product
      – When you pick a category, the ones with a * have products in them and this will display the first product Previous/Next
      – When you pick a product, click display … this sets the category to this product’s master category id … so you can now use the Previous/Next if you like.
    3. Add the Attribute Option Name+Value Pairs
      Once the Product is displayed that you want to add attributes to … go to the
      • Add Attributes box
      – The Product Name should already be selected.
    4. Now select the Option Name (Color)
    5. Next select a matching Option Value, notice they say what kind of Option Type you have selected. i.e.: Blue [COLOR]
      You will notice the Option Values say their names and next to them the Option Name that they match to.
    6. Depending on what you want to do with attributes there are several methods to price, add weight, sort order, and mark the type of attribute this is.
      Price can be entered with a prefix of + or – or blank.
      + and blank will add the attribute price
      – will subtract the attribute price. So if a Large Cost more put +2.00 in the price box
    7. Be sure to click Add to add the newly-defined Attribute.
      You can always edit or delete them after adding.
    8. You repeat these steps for each color or size available for that product.
  • To sell Gift Certificates in your store, you need to create them as specific products (according to special requirements, outlined below):

    1. In the Admin, make a new category called Gift Certificates. Add a product to the category called Gift Certificates.
    2. On the Product Information Page fill in the blanks as follows:
      • Products Status: In Stock
      • Date Available: leave blank
      • Products Manufacturer: leave blank
      • Products Name: Gift Certificate
      • Product is Free: No
      • Product is Call for Price: No
      • Product Priced by Attributes: Yes No
      This is up to you, if you choose to price by attributes you only need a single ‘product’.
      • Tax Class: choose appropriate
      • Products Price (Net): Your price or zero if pricing by attributes.
      • Products Price (Gross): figured automatically
      • Virtual Products do not have a shipping charge and do not require a shipping address such a Services, Gift Certificates, etc. Always Free Shipping does not have a shipping charge, but do require a shipping address Downloads are assumed to be Virtual Products – Neither option needs to be marked
      • Product is Virtual: Yes, Skip Shipping
      • Always Free Shipping: No.
      • Products Quantity Box Shows: Yes, Show
      • Product Qty Minimum: leave blank
      • Product Qty Maximum: 0 = Unlimited, 1 = No Qty Boxes or Max ##
      • Product Qty Units: leave blank
      • Product Qty Min/Unit Mix: leave blank
      • Products Description: Your description.
      • Products Quantity: leave blank or put in a large number to track number sold.
      If you are finding that you cannot add a Gift Certificate to your cart while shopping, try adding a quantity here!
      • Products Model: GIFT-xxxxx
      • The model MUST begin with GIFT
      • Products Image: Upload an image
      • Upload to directory: choose directory
      • Products URL: leave blank
      • Products Weight: leave blank
    3. Click Preview and then Save it.
    4. Now go to Modules->Order Total and click Install to install and/or Edit to configure the ot_gv Gift Certificate module.
      HOW DOES IT WORK THEN ?
      After the Administrator has approved the Gift Certificate (There’s a “release” button in admin area if someone buys one), THEN the Gift Certificate funds are made available to the customer.
      The customer can then USE those funds for themselves, OR they can email them to friend(s) via the links provided automatically in the store (esp shopping cart sidebox). They can email as much as they want, to various people, up to the amount they’ve purchased.

    How do I sell Gift Certificates?

    1. Create Gift Certificate products as described above
    2. Enable the Gift Certificate order-total module, as described above
    3. Draw attention to gift certificates on your store, perhaps by creating a home-page graphic with a link to your gift-certificates category. Sometimes people will create a new sidebox just for drawing attention to this sort of thing.
    4. When Gift Certificates are purchased, be sure to log into your Admin area and release them if you’ve configured it to queue them rather than auto-release them.
    1. Place your Mouse over Configurations
    2. Click on Customer Details (5th one down)
    3. Click on Date of Birth
    4. Verify that the blue triangle is pointed to the right
    5. Click False and Hit Update.
  • After logging into your admin area of your site please follow the instructions below to post items on sale.
    1. Roll your mouse over Catalog on the menu and select Specials.
    2. Next click on the button new product
    3. Now select the item that you would like on sale.
    4. Type in the sales price
    5. Select Available date
    6. Select Expiry date
    7. Now click insert.

  • Those counters show “unique hits” and “hits”.
    The number of “sessions” is the number of unique “sessions” started on your site. A session is typically started when a browser comes to your site.

    The “total” is the number of pages browsed, regardless of the number of sessions started.

    So, three separate visitors would normally start 3 separate sessions.
    If one of those visitors clicks on 4 pages, and another on 7 pages, and another on 2 pages, then the “total” would show 4+7+2 = 13.

  • Downloads are handled as product attributes.
    So, FIRST you should familiarize yourself with: setting up attributes.

    To add a Download Attribute to a product

    Go to Option Names … and create an Option Name that is either Radiobutton or Dropdown …
    Call it something like: Download
    Go to Option Values Manager and add what you want to call it …
    example: Zip File
    If you have multiple choices you could have these as the Option Names you create:
    – MS Word Zip
    – Note Pad Zip
    – etc.
    Go to Attributes Controller and find the Product …
    Add the Attribute as:

    Option Name: Download
    Option Value: MS Word Zip
    Sort Order: 10
    Filename: (enter name of file you uploaded to the /download folder)

    Option Name: Download
    Option Value: Note Pad Zip
    Sort Order: 20
    Filename: (enter name of file you uploaded to the /download folder)


    Now when shopping, the customer can choose the format. Depending on your downloads you will want to adjust how you configure things.

    If using Radio buttons and have multiple selections, be sure to set one as a default.

  • Admin > Configuration > Customer Details > Customer Shop Status – View Shop and Prices – set to 2.

    Customer must be approved to shop
    0= Not required
    1= Must login to browse
    2= May browse but no prices unless logged in
    3= Showroom Only

  • Admin = > Configuration = > Index Listing => Show New Products -below Product Listing

    You will need to set this to 0

  • Go to your Admin => Catalog => Product type => Product General => Edit Layout => Show Date Added set this to 0

    1. Log into your admin area put your mouse over Tools and then select Define pages editor
    2. Select from the drop down to the right HTML area
    3. From the left select the page that you want to edit.
  • Open your Admin. Put your cursor over the Configuration in the top menu, choose My Store. Locate the “Show CategoryCounts” option. Turn it off.

  • Admin => Configuration => Layout Settings => Categories Separator between the Category Name and Count (Click on the then select edit and remove what is in the box and then click update)

  • You will need to login to your admin area. Once in there go to =>Tools => Send Emails

    Once you are here you just need to select the customers that you want to send it to. Make sure to add a subject. For more advance tools select HTMLarea from the Text Editor drop down. When you are done typing your email up just click on the Preview Button. This will take you to another screen to preview it. If everything looks good click on the Send Mail button.

    Just a little side note. If you are typing a large email up you may want to type it up in a word document first and then copy and paste it in to here. The reason I say this is because the site will time out after a period of time and you may lose your email.

    1. Login to your admin area and put your mouse over customers.
    2. Click on the first option Customers.
    3. Now do a search for that customer by using the search box at the top right. (You can use their full name or email address)
    4. Once you find the customer click on the edit button at the top right
    5. Change any information that you need to.
    6. Now click the update button at the bottom and that is it.
  • Admin->localization->countries..
    Delete the ones you don’t want.

    1. Go to your admin area
    2. Click on any customer under New orders.
    3. On the Orders page click on the Customer name.
    4. Scroll to the bottom of the page an under Statues make your selection and then click update.
  • First make sure that you have Discount Coupons installed. Go to => Modules => Order Totals=> Discount Coupons. If there is not a green dot under sort order then it needs to be installed. Just click on the word Discount Coupon and then click the install button. Now that this is installed do the following.

    Under Gift Certificates/Coupons go to Coupon Admin
    Click insert
    Fill out the information for your coupon and then click preview.
    If everything looks good click confirm.
    Now try doing a test order and make sure that this works.

  • Login to your admin area and then put your mouse over Configuration and then click on E-Mail Options. Once there you will see many options on who or where you want any or all emails to be sent.


    How to setup wholesale pricing?

    To set 4 levels of wholesale pricing, edit the product and change the wholesale price to be a dash separated list, eg. 50.00-30.00-0.00-25.00
    Attributes can be set in the same way, but you need to use comma separation, eg. 50.00,30.00,0.00,25,00
    Pick a customer and click “edit”. You will see a new text box under the email address box. The number should be 0, If you change it to a number above 0 then the customer gets wholesale pricing at that level.

    So, if you set a customer to 1 they’ll see wholesale price instead of the retail price.

    If you set it to 2 they will get the second wholesale price.

    If there is only one wholesale price they will get that.

    If there is no wholesale price at their level then they get either level 1 wholesale pricing or retail pricing.

    How to setup what credit cards you will accept?

    In your admin area go to Configurations => Credit Cards and enable any cards that you would like to use. After doing this if there is still a problem please contact your gateway provider and make sure that they have it setup on there end.

  • To set 4 levels of wholesale pricing, edit the product and change the wholesale price to be a dash separated list, eg. 50.00-30.00-0.00-25.00
    Attributes can be set in the same way, but you need to use comma separation, eg. 50.00,30.00,0.00,25,00
    Pick a customer and click “edit”. You will see a new text box under the email address box. The number should be 0, If you change it to a number above 0 then the customer gets wholesale pricing at that level.


    So, if you set a customer to 1 they’ll see wholesale price instead of the retail price.

    If you set it to 2 they will get the second wholesale price.

    If there is only one wholesale price they will get that.

    If there is no wholesale price at their level then they get either level 1 wholesale pricing or retail pricing.

  • It doesn’t matter if your emailing photos of your grandson or putting images of your latest product on your online store. Too many people don’t consider optimizing their photos for the web. We’ve all been on too many web pages where it seemed that the photos would never load, and sometimes they didn’t. So here are some steps to make sure that your photos show up on your site.

    1. Always have a back up original format copy of your image. Never alter the original. Believe me you will regret it.
    2. Crop to size. Make sure that you crop out any extra information that isn’t needed. Remember the larger the photo the longer it takes to load or send.
    3. Resize to reduce pixels. There should be an option to resize according to pixels. You’re going to want the largest size to be no more than 250 pixels or you can reduce the dpi to no more than 96.
    4. Reduce the color palette. Many images have millions of colors so the first thing that you need to do is reduce the colors to 256. You will lose some depth with this.
    5. Save the file in a standard format. JPEG is the most common for photos and you can compress the image with a JPEG for further reduction in file size. It’s not unusual to see GIF or PNG as well. If you’re creating a web page every photo that you add will add to the time it takes to download all of the images. If you keep the images small in size the smaller resolution will not be as obvious.
  • 1. Log into your admin area
    2. Place your mouse over Configuration and choose My Store
    3. Click on Store Status
    4. Choose the option for the status you wish to have
    5. Click update and you’re done

    1. Once you logged into your admin area put your mouse over Customers and select Customers from the drop down.
    2. Next in the top right side of your screen do a search for there email address. (Hit enter once you typed there email address in the search bar)
    3. If they used that email address you should see their account.  You should see three buttons to the right. Click on the delete button to delete their account.
  • Before you import a spread sheet with products it would be a good idea to add a few products to the shopping cart from with in the admin area. The reason for this is so when you download the database you can get an idea of the format.

    One thing you will need when doing this is a copy of OpenOffice on your computer. You can get a copy of OpenOffice at http://www.openoffice.org/ You do not want to use Microsoft Excel. The shopping cart program does not like it.

    First do a database backup. ( Also do a backup of the database before you begin this process.)

    How do I do a database backup on my site?

    1. Log into the admin portion of your site
    2. Scroll over tools
    3. Select Database backup from the dropdown menu
    4. Click on backup
    5. Select no compression
    6. Click backup
    7. This step may take a few minutes
    8. You will see a fresh backup in the list with the current date

    Now you are ready to add your products.

    Please make sure to do a database backup. If you have done this then continue to the first step of these instructions.

    1. In your admin area put your mouse over Tools and click on Easy Populate. (If you do not see Easy Populate then it may not be installed. If you would like it installed please contact us to do this for you.)
    2. Next click on Download Complete .csv file to edit (Attributes Not Included) The download should begin.
    3. Once the download is complete find the file on your computer and open it with OpenOffice.
    4. When you first open the file in OpenOffice you will see a few setting options. Make sure to select the options that is in the screen shot below.
      screenshot
    5. Once the file opens you will see your products that were already added. You can now begin adding to the database. You just need to make sure that you stick with the format that is in this file. Also do not use dollar signs ($) and you must have a model number for all products. Once you are done with adding or changing your products do the following.
    6. Select File => Save As
    7. Ensure File type: is Text CSV (.csv)
    8. Check the Edit Filter settings box
    9. Click Save. Once you click save click Keep Current Format.
    10. There should be a new window that pops up. “Export Text File” Make sure that the Field Options match the screen shot below.
      screenshot2

      Now we are ready to import the new database.

      1. In your admin area put your mouse over Tools and then click on Easy Populate.
      2. Click on the Browse button under Upload EP File.
      3. Select the file that you just edited from you computer.
      4. Now click on Insert into db button
      5. Once you do this the site may take a moment to refresh. Once it is done if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see in green everything that imported fine. Anything in red did not. It should tell you what the problems is. You will then need to go back and fix the problem and re-import it. If everything is green go to the front end of the catalog and make sure everything looks good and is in the right place.

      If anything goes wrong you can always restore your catalog from the backup that you made.

  • If you want to add one product to more then one category then this is a great option. Once you have done this and the pricing changes or you just need to update the info. You just go to the original product make your change and then update it. Doing this will update all the other products that are linked to this one.

    1. After logging into your admin are go to the product that you would like to link to another category
    2. Once there you will see a blue  circle with the letter “C” in it. Click on this.
    3. Select the category that you would like to link this product to.
    4. Under “Copy Method” select Link product.
    5. Click the copy button and then you are done.
    1. Login to your Admin Area.
    2. Put your mouse over Tools
    3. Click on “Export Email Addresses.”
    4. Follow the instructions that are on this page.


    If you do not have the “Export Email Addresses” option and you would like it feel free to contact us and we can install it.

    1. Once you logged in to your admin area go to Catalog => Featured Products
    2. Click on new products
    3. Select the product that will be featured add your Available dates and Expiry date if there are any
    4. Click insert
    • Login to your admin area
    • Go to Catalog => Categories/Products
    • To the right under Status you will see a green dot click on this
    • Once you click on that then you will go to a new screen click on update
    • Once this is done the Category and all the products are disabled and will not show in your catalog. To enable the Category go back and turn the red dot to green.