As is often the case, it is time-intensive to build and maintain WordPress online forms even for seasoned web developers. What if you intend to limit those ready-to-upload files from your users by a standard submission form? Or what if you need to interact with your readers by some specified contact forms? If this is the case, Gravity Forms is at your service with out-of-the-box hooks and filters.
Frankly speaking, before the appearance of Gravity Forms, there is a good number of free plugins used to create online web forms. However, this premium form solution has been capturing people’s attention and money with overwhelming advantages. Here, we would like to uncover those hidden secrets behind its popularity, and in the meantime, guide you how to use it properly on a WordPress site.
Why Use Gravity Forms?
As is noted above, Gravity Forms is a paid solution that was originally published by Rocketgenius in the year of 2010. In the further, this plugin is indeed well worth its price with more advanced tools and features than that of those free solutions there. In the following, there are some significant features of Gravity Forms:
- Styles & Layout – It allows you to customize the feel and look of your form based on personal taste. More importantly, you can get every element by searching unique ID, a class name and CSS inheritance with least effort.
- Entry Management – It allows you to save all form entries in WordPress database and makes those files accessible directly through WordPress dashboard. More than that, you are capable of editing and configuring the entry list by going into related fields.
- Form Builder – It allows you to embed multiple forms, configure your options and select your fields by adopting the built-in form editor. For instance, you are able to configure form description, title, settings and confirmation message in a simple and visual interface.
- WordPress Integration – It allows you to have an overview of those added form submissions and manage them directly from the dashboard of your WordPress. And more, you can also embed Gravity Forms on any post/page by creating short code on WordPress.
- Form Fields – It allows you to have up to four field toolbox, including “Standard Fields”, “Advanced Fields”, “Post Fields” and “Pricing Fields.” Take the “Standard Fields” for example, you are permitted to get “Paragraph Text”, “Number”, “Multiple Choice” and many other fields.
Apart from that, Gravity Forms also empowers you to integrate your WordPress site with many reputable third-party services via a good collection of add-ons. To name a few, this form solution supports PayPal payment, MailChimp, Polls, Signature and more. Also, it is backed up by a group of experts and community users who are ready to come to your assistance at any time.
How to Enable Gravity Forms in WordPress?
On the whole, to install Gravity Forms is different from installing a WordPress plugin, which requires you to purchase and download the package from its official site (the website URL is – http://www.gravityforms.com/). Once downloaded this compressed file, you shall go back to the WordPress dashboard so as to go to “Plugins” > “Add New.” And then, click “Upload Plugin” and upload the .zip file from your local computer.
As is showed, you should click “Install Now” button to get your package unzipped and installed. If done correctly, you will receive an email that includes your developer/license key (usually it consists of a line of characters). If done, you will need to choose “Active” to start with your configurations.
How to Make Basic Settings on Gravity Forms?
Next, you are expected to go to “Forms” > “Settings” to initiate your Gravity Forms. In the “General Settings” area, you will be prompted to input your own “Support License Key” to access support and upgrades. At the same time, you can decide whether disable the plugin from outputting HTML5 or CSS form fields by choosing “Yes” or “No.”
As you may notice, you are allowed to turn on the “No-Conflict Mode” to stop styles and scripts from being printed on Gravity Forms. Also, you can specify “Currency” in the related drop-down list.
Note: In the below “reCAPTCHA Settings” section, you can also choose to fill in reCAPTCHA public/private key so as to make your forms free from spam bots. By the way, you can take a look at your installation status, such as WordPress, PHP, MySQL and Gravity Forms versions.
How to Use Gravity Forms in WordPress?
As a versatile form solution, Gravity Forms empowers you to create as many advanced forms as possible. At this place, we would like to introduce how to take advantage of this plugin to create the frequently-used contact form, be advanced or simple. Now, let’s get to the point.
Create an Advanced Contact Form
To do this, you shall go back to “Forms” > “New Form” in order to add your new form. If completed, fill in “Form Title” like “Contact Us Form”, and in the meantime, fill out “Form Description” for your potential contacts. Make sure that you click the “Create Form” button to take effect.
Once created, you will be prompted to make a self-introduction in “About You” area. In the meantime, you will need to add your contact name and choose your preferred contact method in the following blank boxes.
More than that, you will need to tell your contact phone and the best time to reach you. As is showed, you are allowed to choose your needed “Form Fields” on the right hand of this editing page. At last, don’t forget to click “Update Form” to save changes.
Important to Note: Apart from the mentioned advanced contact form, there is another must-have tool – a simple contact form. To be frank, there is no much difference between an advanced form and a simple form, and the latter one is actually a simplified version of the former one. As a matter of course, it has been much simpler and easier to build a simple contact form, and you only need to fill out your contact name and email. By the way, you can also select your beloved “Form Fields” from those built-in options.
Recommendable WordPress Plugins to Extend Functionality
As a developer-friendly form solution, Gravity Forms has been continually developing with the support of folks at Rocketgenius and hobbyists from WordPress community. And mroe, there are all kinds of free WordPress plugins used to extend your web forms’ functionality and performance. Here are some recommendable solutions, all of which are accessible on wordpress.org.
- Gravity Forms Toolbar – You are able to add useful admin resources and links for Gravity Forms to the WordPress administrative bar or toolbar. In addition to that, this internationalized and fully-compatible plugin displays auto-notifications when new update is available.
- Gravity Forms Directory – You are empowered to embed directory capabilities and other functionality to this Gravity Forms plugin. More importantly, this shortcode-based plugin can define custom styles and display form entries as a default table or definition list.
- Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types – You are capable of adding form posts to the custom post types in WordPress without complex PHP code. More than that, this simple plugin supports hierarchical dropdowns and Gravity Forms v1.5 or higher.
- Gravity Forms WYSIWYG – You are able to create a WYSIWYG field in your Gravity Forms. And more, this plugin also helps you to add an “Enable WYSIWYG” checkbox for paragraph text and post body fields.