ACF Custom Database Tables v1.1

WP All Import compatibility

As of version 1.1.0, it's possible to use WP All Import in conjunction with ACF Custom Database Tables to import data into custom database tables.

This has been tested using all supported fields — including repeaters — and is working when importing both user and post objects. All table formats — including sub (repeater) tables and join tables — appear to be receiving data as expected.

Important — please read

It's important to note that this compatibility layer is complex and may require finessing as the WP All Import plugin evolves. If you notice anything unusual when importing data, please let us know so that we can investigate and, if possible, deploy a patch.


  • The Advanced Custom Fields plugin must be installed and activated
  • The WP All Import plugin must be installed and activated
  • The WP All Import Advanced Custom Fields Add-on plugin must be installed and activated
  • The ACF Custom Database Tables plugin (version 1.1.0 or greater) must be installed and activated
  • The WP All Import Plugin Compatibility layer must be enabled in Custom Fields > Database Tables > Settings > Compatibility

About the compatibility layer

At the time of writing, the WP All Import plugin's import process does not use ACF's built-in API functions to handle data. This is a problem for any third-party plugin that intercepts ACF's functions to handle the data in any way on its way into the database. Fortunately, the WP All Export plugin uses ACF's functions correctly when exporting data so exports are unaffected.

To facilitate importing, the ACF Custom Database Tables plugin contains a built-in compatibility layer which, when enabled, runs some additional functionality during import. The additional functionality fires the necessary hooks and filters required by ACF Custom Database Tables to move data into the correct tables. This also facilitates core meta bypassing if/when enabled.

How to enable the WP All Import compability layer

  1. In the WordPress admin, Head to Custom Fields > Database Tables > Settings
  2. In the Compatibility section, check the box next to the Enable WP All Import plugin compatibility option.
  3. Click the Save Changes button to save your configuration.

Considerations, issues, problems, etc

These issues may well be problems without custom tables in play, but I want to share anything I noticed that may benefit you when planning out your import/export configuration.

Join table imports may produce errors if/when two posts are in the same relationship field with the same name

When exporting relationship fields, WP All Export may export a character separated list of post titles. e.g; My first post|My second post. If you happen to have two posts with the same title, you may run into issues when importing the relationship field.

Whilst testing, I noticed that a relationship field that was configured to use a join table failed to store any data when there were two posts with identical post titles.

A possible workaround here (I haven't tested this) could be to use a custom function during export that exports the ID instead of the post title.

The default separator charactor for repeaters can be inconsistent between the import and export plugins

The release notes for version 1.6.5 of WP All Export indicate this may no longer be an issue but just be mindful that you need to check the separating character when importing repeater data to ensure it matches the data. If it doesn't, the data will not import correctly.

Spot an issue? Please let us know about it.

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