Fishbowl Inventory Module Options

While Fishbowl Inventory is not a custom program, there are many settings you can change to make it more “custom” to your business and the processes within your company.  Once all of your information has been uploaded into your Fishbowl Inventory database, it might be wise for you to peruse the Module Options that are found throughout the software.  Some of them can mean the difference between spending hours of extra work versus having those things automated for you.

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Where are the Module Options?

As you access each module, you will be able to open the Module Options for that module.  To find them, open the “Tools” menu, and then click “Module Options”.  Remember that when you move to a different module in Fishbowl Inventory, the options will change to match the module that is currently open.

A large concentration of the Module Options can be found in the Accounting Module, the Sales Order Module, and the Picking Module.  While these are important, don’t forget that almost all of the modules in Fishbowl Inventory have at least one Module Option.

We recommend that you go through each module to figure out which options work best for you.

Don’t forget the Program Options

Another little-known fact is that Fishbowl Inventory also has some Program Options.  These can be accessed from any module in Fishbowl by clicking the “Tools” menu, and selecting “Program Options”.  While the Program Options are mostly cosmetic, there is a handy Email tab where you can enter your email information that will then be used whenever you send an email.  This includes the ability to create custom personalized emails for Sales Order confirmations, Purchase Orders, and Shipping confirmations.

For a full list of Module Options, visit the Fishbowl Inventory wiki page.

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Fishbowl Inventory Imports

Importing information into Fishbowl Inventory can be tricky, but it can also be the fastest way to build a new database or update existing information en masse.  Find some helpful tips below about Fishbowl Inventory imports.


Create an entry in Fishbowl Inventory, and then export the file

Fishbowl Inventory has the option to export a blank file to use as a template when preparing your information for importing.  While this is a great option, it may be a little daunting trying to figure out what information goes into each column.  For that reason, we recommend that you create an entry (e.g. Part Number, Customer, Vendor, Pricing Rule, etc.) in Fishbowl first, and then export the related file.  Like magic, your file will have the information already filled in below the headers, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

Of course, if you still have questions, you can refer to the instructions for the related import file.  These can be found in the import wizard, after you have chosen the type of import from the list, and have advanced to the next screen.

Watch out for re-formatting

One of the difficulties of using Microsoft Excel for importing large amounts of data into Fishbowl is the fact that Excel likes to re-format certain numbers or lines of text.

Here are some examples:

  1. If you are working with UPC numbers, you will need to be very careful that Excel does not put them into scientific notation format (which it will do, by default).  If you type “123456789123” into a cell, Excel will change it to be “1.23457E+11”.  If left in that format, the UPC code will transfer into Fishbowl as the 1.23457E+11, rather than the actual UPC code.
  2. Zip codes that start with “0” (zero).  Excel likes to remove those leading zeros.  And it’s not just zip codes.  Really, any number that starts with zero can be included in this example.
  3. Text and number strings that resemble dates or months.  Something like “01OCT” will be reformatted to be “1-Oct”.

How do you fix these auto-corrections?  You will want to change the format of the cells to “Text”.  To do so, right-click on the cell, column, or row that you want to change to text, and then choose “Format Cells” from the list.  In the next screen, you will choose “Text” from the list and then click “OK”.  Now you can type your information into Excel without having to worry that it will be reformatted, and therefore imported incorrectly into Fishbowl.


Watch for misalignment

Be aware that if you delete a cell, you will need to delete the entire row.  Otherwise, your data can become misaligned.  One of the worst things that can happen is to delete a part number from a list of 10,000 part numbers, while the rest of the row is not deleted with the part number.  When that happens, your part numbers will shift up a cell, while their descriptions, Units of Measure, Tracking Fields, etc. stay behind.  If you then import the file, your parts list will have the incorrect information associated.

If all else fails, remove the line

One of the most frustrating aspects of importing information into Fishbowl Inventory is when you receive error messages after waiting for 10-15 minutes for the file to complete importing.  If you correct the error on the specified line, and then import again, only to get an error message on the same line again, it is time to remove that line and try importing again.

If you are getting error messages at least a 3rd of the way down the import file, we recommend that you create a separate import file of the lines above the error message, and import that piece.  Remember to remove those lines from the original import file so that you’re not trying to import the same information multiple times.  This will help cut down on the wait time and will help you narrow down the issues.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you have about Fishbowl Inventory imports, or anything else Fishbowl Inventory-related.