Best WordPress Form Builder Plugin: Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is the best form builder plugin for WordPress. It has so many features that it is not possible to cover all of them in a single post. If you already have a license for Gravity Forms then you can understand how powerful and flexible this form builder is. In this article, I will try to touch upon the main features that a user must know before purchasing Gravity forms to unleash its full potential.
This form builder plugin is developed to create advanced forms that involve logic and advanced fields. So, if you are looking for a simple contact form plugin then Gravity Forms is not something on which you should spend your hard earned money. It isn’t that you can’t create simple forms but the fact is you can download a free plugin like contact form 7 from WordPress repository.
Ease of Use
When you install and activate Gravity Forms, a new menu will appear in your WordPress dashboard with a title ‘Forms‘. This is where all the options for Gravity Forms can be accessed. On your first use, you will be welcomed by Gravity Forms wizard which will help you configure basic configuration settings.
The basic configuration involves adding license key, turning automatic updates on or off and setting up currency for price fields. Once you go through these steps then you are ready to create your first form by clicking on ‘Create Form‘ button.
All the available form fields will be located in the right sidebar with rest of the space occupied by form wrapper. Now you can simply drag and drop these fields from the sidebar to form wrapper or click on them to add them. If you need to align the fields you can drag and drop them to the desired position.So, it is pretty simple to add and align fields. Click on the Update Form button to save it into a database.
Now you have a form which you want to show on your website. First, you have to decide whether you want to show it in sidebar/footer section or you want to embed it inside a page/post.
To embed the form inside sidebar or footer section you have to use Gravity Form Widget. Navigate to Appearance -> Widgets and then drag and drop Forms widget in the desired sidebar. Now select the form from the drop-down menu and check whether you want to show form title, description and use Ajax for form submission.
To embed the form inside a post or page you have to navigate to the post/page editor and then click on Add Form button present adjacent to Add Media button at the top of the editor. It will open a popup window with an option to select a form and whether to show title/ description as well as to enable Ajax for form submission.
So, now you have created and published a form on your website and that’s pretty much all you need to know about the basic usage of Gravity Forms.
Available Field Types
There are a large number of fields which comes pre-built into the plugin. They are divided into four sections depending upon their functionality viz
Standard Fields: Standard Fields are a group of basic fields like text input, paragraph text, checkboxes, multi-selects, radio buttons, section breaks and drop-down menus. So, you can create any simple form with these fields.
Advanced Fields: This is a group of fields like name, phone number, date, address, email, file upload and CAPTCHA. These fields will save your time because each field has inbuilt validation like phone number will only accept numbers in desired format and some of them are a combination of basic fields like Name will automatically add two fields with labels First Name and Last Name.
You can use file upload field so that user can share screenshots or other documents which is pretty common in support forms. CAPTCHA field can be added as a protection against spam submissions. You can use ReCaptcha or honeypot spam protection.
Post Fields : This is a group of fields specifically targeted for administrators who want to create guest post submission forms. It contains fields like Title, Body, Excerpt, Tags, Category, Image and Custom Field. You can use these fields to automatically create a draft post with the submitted details from a form. In this way, a new guest post is added into your dashboard without giving direct access to Guest Writers. This makes the task of managing and reviewing guest posts an easy one.
Pricing Fields: This group is targetted for administrators who want to create an order form. It will calculate the price of items the user wants to purchase like if you are selling tickets for a concert than it will calculate the amount depending upon the number of tickets and then you can accept the payment.
Designing of Forms
Designing of Forms is a little complex task if you decide to manually add CSS codes. The form designer doesn’t come with the default installation but you can download Gravity Forms theme creator plugin from WordPress repository. This is a free plugin that helps you create a beautiful theme without any CSS coding. However if you have any prior coding experience than you can use the official documentation to target each and every aspect of Gravity Forms using Classes and IDs.
Conditional logic is a must have feature if you want to create an advanced form which automatically reacts to user selections.
What conditional logic in Gravity Forms does is that it automatically shows/hides certain fields depending on what data user has already entered in the form. Consider a situation where you send a freebie t-shirt to users who signup and buy a product from your website but you cannot ship the t-shirt outside the United States. So, you can add conditional logic to ask the user for his T-shirt size only if he selects the United States as a country.
I will highly recommend Gravity forms to WordPress administrators who are looking for an all-round solution for their form builder needs. It is easy to use, has a vast selection of fields and a lot of advanced features. It is certainly worth the price if you know how to use it to maximum potential.