How to Set Up Dimensional Rules


This article will show you how to use Dimensional Rules whether you’re packing your boxes according to box rules or packing your items separately or packing products in multiple fixed boxes, the steps are below.

For a more general explanation of dimensional shipping in ShipperHQ please see this document.

Pack According to Box Rules (Best-fit)

Mechanism overview

This mechanism works in two conditions.

  1. Condition 1: When you have box(s) defined and each of the box(s) have “Apply to all products” box ticked. ShipperHQ will compare product(s) dimension + volume vs all available box(s) then pick most efficient box to pack into with the least empty space and if it doesn’t find a box big enough for all products then it will use another to pack rest of products. However, if it doesn’t find a box large enough for one of the product(s) in the cart then ShipperHQ will use the dimensions of the largest item to pack the shipment into which will result in rate discrepancies as for that reason it’s recommended to ensure that there is a box that is larger then your store largest item.
  2. Condition 2: When the boxes don’t have “Apply to all products” ticked and they’re assigned to a dimensional that has “Default for all products” checked. In this scenario, ShipperHQ will use the possible packing boxes assigned on the rule to choose from. (It will only use this dimensional rule if the product passing from the e-commerce platform that doesn’t have a dimensional rule assigned to).

How to setup

  1. Enable the Dimensional Rules advanced feature from your Features page in ShipperHQ.
  2. Go to the “Dimensional Rules” tab in the lefthand navigation and create a new dimensional rule via Add New.
  3. In the Basic panel, give this Rule a Name. We will use “Journal Boxes” for this example. For this example, we’re also setting our Method of Shipping to “Pack according to box rules”. This will tell ShipperHQ to only look at the boxes attached to this rule, and pick the best one for packing.
  4. (OPTIONAL) Also in the Basic panel, under Item Dimensions section, if all of the products this rule will apply to share the same dimensions, you can set them in the rule itself rather than having to keep re-entering them on your eCommerce platform. You’ll find this option under “Item Dimensions”. If you leave this section blank, ShipperHQ will use the dimensions you set on the product on your eCommerce platform.
  5. Scroll to Possible Shipping Boxes section of the page and click the Possible boxes dropdown area. This dropdown will show any already defined boxes you have set up and available for all products.
    If you don’t see any boxes listed, you can add them here by pressing Add New at the bottom of the list. Details on configuring boxes are found here.
  6. After possible boxes have been selected, Save the rule.

Optional – Default Rule for all Products

In the Optional panel, if you want to have a dimensional rule apply if no other rules are assigned then you can set this checkbox.

Final Step (For Big Commerce)

Last thing you need to do in your eCommerce platform is assign this Dimensional Rule Group name to your product. Remember we used “Journal Boxes” for our example.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.00.35 PM

Save this change here and now this product will use only those boxes specified in the dimensional rule.

Pack Separately

Mechanism overview

Pack/Ship Separately is designated to have each item pack into its own package apart from other cart items. This mechanism will result in higher rates as each product that is assigned to a pack separately dimensional rule will be packed on its own, however it can be useful for items that can’t be packed with other products as they’re either fragile or have other special packing requirements. This mechanism can be either used as a dimensional rule or can be set as a global setting to pack all items separately.

When implementing this feature using a dimensional rule, you can designate what box should be used when this rule applies by selecting a box as the Packing Box for Product under the Ship SKU Separately panel when editing the dimensional rule. This panel appears when you have selected Pack Separately as the Method of Shipping for the dim rule. If you do not set a specific box when using Pack Separately an SHQ CUSTOM box will be used which will have the dimensions of the item packed into it.

Details for setting up Pack Separately Rules are in this article here.

Pack in Multiple Fixed Boxes

Mechanism overview

This mechanism will disregard all the dimensions set on the product from the e-commerce platform and will use dimensions set within the dimensional rule to pass over to the carrier. For example: if you have a chair and a table bundled as one product but you don’t want them to pack together, you can define the dimensional rule with the two boxes for both products then you attach the dimensional rule to the product from the platform.

How to setup

  1. Go to Dimensional Rules > Add a New Rule
  2. In the Basic panel, set the rule to “Pack in multiple fixed boxes” under the Method of Shipping.
  3. Still in the Basic panel, under Ship Via Multiple Boxes section, set the desired box dimensions with weight for each packing box. You can add multiple boxes here and multiple quantities of different box sizes.
  4. Go back to the platform (if it’s Magento make sure to synchronize prior to doing so) and assign the dimensional rule to the product.

Whenever the product is in the cart it will be packed in these multiple boxes.

Largest Algorithm

This algorithm is intended for product(s) to pack into the largest possible box they can pack into. The system will look at the product’s volume/dimensions and then use largest available box with the most leftover space after packing.

This is configured under the Settings button on the Dimensional Rules tab on the Features page.

Limit Dimensional Shipping to Specific Carriers


This setting in ShipperHQ will allow you to limit certain carriers to rate off of dimensional shipping (dimensional weight vs actual weight) and non selected carriers to weight only.


If you wanted your LTL carriers to rate shipments only based off of weight and then wanted your FedEx Carrier to rate based off of Dimensional then you would select FedEx in this field and that behavior would take effect.


  1. Navigate to Features > Dimensional Rules in ShipperHQ
  2. Click Settings and notice the Carriers dropdown, as seen below.
  3. By selecting a Carrier (FedEx, for example), all other rates will continue to calculate off weight only and FedEx will rate off of Dimensional shipping logic.

Dimensional Padding and Tolerance


This section describes how to setup ShipperHQ with either a dimensional packing tolerance or a dimensional packing padding. We will discuss exactly what each option entails below., pictured below:

You must make sure that you have Dimensional Shipping enabled. You will find the options described below within the settings of the dimensional shipping feature, pictured below:

Dimensional Tolerance

This setting defines how much of the box to leave empty as a percentage of the overall box volume. This could be used to account for packing materials or oddly shaped items.

This option will only show if the Dimensional Padding setting has a value of zero entered, its otherwise hidden.

Dimensional Padding

This setting defines how much extra space to add to each dimension of your box as an absolute value. E.g: Add 2 inches to length, width and height.

This option will only show if Dimensional Tolerance has a value of zero entered, otherwise its hidden.

Apply Padding Externally

If this is set to yes (which is the default) then the padding is added to the external dimensions of the box after ShipperHQ has packed the box.

If this is set to no, then the padding will reduce the internal dimensions of each box by the value that you’ve entered. This will happen before the box is packed.