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.

A- 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.

B- 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. To enable Dimensional Rules in your store, you need to enable the Dimensional Rules advanced feature from your Features page in ShipperHQ.

2. From the ShipperHQ Dashboard, navigate to the Dimensional Rules page and create a new dimensional rule by clicking “Add New”.

3. Give this Rule a Name. We will use “Journal Boxes” for this example.

4. For the sake of this tutorial we will leave the method of shipping field set to “Pack according to box rules”.

5. Scroll to Possible Shipping Boxes area of the page and click the Possible boxes dropdown area.Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.51.46 AM

From here you have two options:

1. Create boxes from this area to be assigned to the rule

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2. Use boxes you have already defined in the Box definitions area of ShipperHQ. (Note: they must not be “Assigned to all products if you want to select them on your dimensional rule) Also, keep in mind that this behavior works when set to Pack separately as well.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.54.05 AM


After possible boxes have been selected, just save the rule to apply changes.

Optional – Default Rule for all Products

If you want to have a rule that applies if no other rules are assigned then you can set this checkbox.

Optional – Set Dimensions

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.

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.

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

Also, check out our Box Definitions article for information about setting up boxes.


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.

How to setup

ShipperHQ allows you to cover this configuration by the use of Dimensional Rules. You can add this via the ShipperHQ dashboard.

If you would like the item which receives this rule to pack into a specific box, you’ll need to define that box before creating your Ship Separately Dimensional Rule. You can optionally not have a box set, in which case it will ship separately using weight alone, or if dimensions are set on the product will use those for the box size.

  1. When you create a Dimensional Rule you can select that it will ship separately using the “Method of Shipping” dropdown field.
  2. Optionally select the Packing Box

Setting the Dimensional Rule Group on your Products

Magento: In your eCommerce platform synchronize with ShipperHQ and select/enter the dimensional rule group at the product level.

BigCommerce: For all products that require this rule to be applied put the name of the dimensional rule against the product.


Whenever a product is in a cart with a ship separately rule associated the system will pack this  item (1 at a time) into a separate box as defined by the rule.

Shipping All Items Separately

You can optionally set to ship all items in their own box. This is configured under the Settings button on the Dimensional Rules tab on the Features page. When using this global setting with no dimensional rule set on products, a box will still be chosen from the pool of boxes available to all products.

Ship Separately on Magento

In Magento there is an attribute for “Ship separately”, which is an option in addition to the above options. This is ideal for customers migrating from the WebShopApps standalone Dimensional Shipping extension as the attribute is identical so they allow for a transition to ShipperHQ without needing to update products’ attributes. With this setting enabled, each quantity of the SKU will be shipped in its own box.


For these examples we will use a product with dimensions 2x2x2 and two boxes: one with dimensions of 4x4x4 and the other with dimensions 6x6x6.

Pack Items Separately

For this example a dimensional rule has been created with the packing mechanism set to “Pack separately” with the 6x6x6 box selected as the “Packing box for product” and this rule is assigned to the product.

Each quantity increment of the SKU will be packed into a 6x6x6 box. So, a quantity of two will pack in two 6x6x6 boxes and so on.

Ship All Products Separately

For this example the “All Items Ship Separately” option has been set to “Yes” in the dimensional rules.

If both the 4x4x4 and 6x6x6 boxes are assigned to the product as possible boxes each quantity increment of the SKU will be packed into a 4x4x4 box.

If no boxes have been assigned to the product directly and no boxes are available to all products, each quantity increment of the SKU will be packed into a 2x2x2 box.

If no boxes have been assigned to the product directly but the 4x4x4 and 6x6x6 boxes are made available to all products, the 4x4x4 box will be used.

Ship Separately Attribute

For this example, “Ship separately” has been selected within Magento. No boxes have been assigned to the product.

Each quantity increment of the SKU will be packed into a 2x2x2 box.

If the 4x4x4 box is assigned to the product as a possible box each quantity increment of the SKU will be packed into a 4x4x4 box.


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 Shipping and configure the rule with “Pack in multiple fixed boxes” set as the Method of Shipping, then set the desired box dimensions with weight. You can add multiple boxes here and multiple quantities of different box sizes.

2- 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 pack in these 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 area, as seen below.
  3. By selecting FedEx for example, then clicking “Apply,” USPS and DHL will continue to rate 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.

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.

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.