In November 2010, I bought my first license for Gravity Forms, a plugin for WordPress. Since then, I have blogged a lot about it over the years.
But as I near 7 years of use, I thought it was time to look at Gravity Forms—and all it can do for you.
I have tried other form plugins and even used them on my site here. People might argue that some forms are easier to use. Or more intuitive.
But each time I tried a different one, there was always at least one feature missing—something I used over and over again with Gravity Forms. So being the old dog I am, I always returned. The fact is Gravity Forms adds incredible powers to your form creation and gives you many smart options.
It’s Much More than Just a Contact Form Plugin for WordPress
Often when we WordPress users choose our contact plugin, we focus on the contact form itself. Whether simple or complex, forms are what drive your site and communication. Over the years, I have created forms for website design quotes, client submissions, sponsorship forms, donation forms, polls, and content submission, to name just a few. Forms can be a lifeline for collecting the information you need to get needed information as well as develop those critical relationships with clients and customers. The possibilities are endless.
An In-Depth Look at the Gravity Forms Plugin for WordPress
I’m going to touch on the basics that come with Gravity Forms and add some of my own personal experiences along the way. It’s impossible to cover everything, but this will give you a good idea of what you can do with this plugin I also plan on publishing a few more posts as well. As I add those posts, I will update the resource list at the end of this post to include them.
General Settings for Gravity Forms
You will find some basic global settings here and set up your reCAPTCHA settings, which I recommend:
Creating Your Form
Here is where you start building your form. You have several fields to choose from, including standard fields, advanced fields, post fields, and pricing fields. It also gives you some tips for starting out.
Each field has its own settings. The three options are: General, Appearance, and Advanced. For example, this is the Single Line Text field.
Both the Appearance and Advanced settings for each field are similar, with the exception of a few fields. In the General settings, you will find more of the setup specific to that field, but it also offers some across-the-board settings such as Field Label, Description and Rules. Here are the general settings for all fields.
Note that other fields may be added if you want add-ons, which we will talk about later in this post.
Standard Fields General Settings
You will note the variations depending on the field. For example, multi-select, dropdown, check boxes and radio buttons have similar options, but are flexible, so you can edit, add, delete or drag-and-drop your order of choices.
Advanced Fields General Settings
Again, some similarities, but there are some distinct options in some of the advanced fields.
Post Fields General Settings
These are great if someone is submitting guest posts, or people within your organization need to submit their posts, because they don’t have to go into the dashboard. I like a couple of things here. With categories, you can give them the option to select from all categories or just specific ones. This is helpful if you use categories for simply organizing your posts. Also, the post image lets them include the Title, Caption and Description—or not— and decide whether it will be set as a featured image or not.
Pricing Fields General Settings
The option to use Gravity Forms for sales on your site is a useful option if you have one or two products or services. It gives you quite a bit of flexibility. There are several payment gateway add-ons to choose from. For example, for services, you can collect a good amount of information along with payment, and with the Option field, you could have add-on services as well.
Revisiting the other two tabs, which I had explained are very similar with all the fields, the first one is what you get with all Appearance options. The second one has a more expanded option as far as the placeholder because of the number of fields in that specific one and placement for the sub-label.
Also, you will get these options:
- Description Placement: this allows you to place the description before the input or after. For example, if you had a field for an email, this gives you the option to display a description above or below the email field.
- Custom Validation Message: a way to override the default error message for that field.
- Custom CSS Class: if you are into CSS, here is where you put that code to override the styles of the field.
- Field Size: Control the size from small, medium and large.
With the Advanced options, you have:
- Admin Field Label: if you want to change the admin label
- Default Values: if you choose to pre-populate any fields
- Visibility: 3 options of showing, hiding or making the field only visible to admins
- Allow fields to be populate dynamically: this stuff gets into query strings, hooks and shortcodes if you are into that
- Enable Condition Logic: One of my favorite settings and I’ll be talking about it more a bit later in this post.
If we look at the advanced options for the Paragraph text field, you will see that we can show the rich text editor if we choose.
Once all your fields are set up, you can drag and drop any of them into a final order.
Form Settings in Gravity Forms
For each form, you will have some settings around the layout, the form button, an option for save and continue, restrictions and a couple of other options. There are some nice nuggets in here, like being able to change the text on your form button or using an image instead—and limiting the number of entries on a form.
Confirmations in Gravity Forms
Controlling what happens after a form is submitted is something that requires careful thinking. Having options is a good way to work around this.
All confirmations for a form listed here. If you may wonder why you would have more than one confirmation for a form, I’ll touch on that shortly.
When creating a confirmation, you have three choices.
This is the confirmation that will appear on the contact page once after a submission. What’s nice about this is that the form disappears, making the confirmation much easier for the user to see. You can format it using the WordPress text editor window.
This option lets you send customers to a select page on your site after they submit the form. This is ideal when creating a page with a specific message, whether it’s a thank-you, an option to subscribe or an invitation to take some other action on your site.
Lastly, you can redirect to another URL. You may wonder why you would want to do that. But there may be post types created by plugins on your own site that you would like to use that are not pages, such as events or products.
Multiple Confirmations for One Form
I mentioned the ability to create multiple confirmations for a single form. This is done using conditional logic, which I talk about later in this post. But just to say here, for your confirmations, you can send people to different landing pages based on the information they submitted using it.
Let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you have a form with two options. Those options are:
- Submit questions about your product
- Submit questions about your support
So based on that, if someone selected #1, you could use conditional logic to send them to a page that simply thanks them for the inquiry and and it might included some other products on that page, a “you may be also interested in”.
If they chose #2, it would go to a page that might have your FAQ’s where they could find other answers and some text on when they can expect to hear back from support.
Using conditional logic, there are so many ways you can use it to benefit your users.
Notifications in Gravity Forms
As with confirmations, all notifications for a form will be listed here.
There are many ways to control your notifications. These can be notifications to you, a team member or someone else within your company. They can be used as an auto-responder to the person who has submitted the form. This is a great way to funnel notifications to the right people within your company. For myself, I have different emails for various actions and can send submissions to those specific email addresses
You can also use several tags within the settings and create customized emails with the text editor.
And of course you can use conditional logic on the notifications as well. The Send To has a Configure routing option to send specific emails based on the values selected in the form. At the end, there are additional conditional logic options. This really helps you define where your notifications will go.
Notification (Confirmation) to Submitter
It can be a bit confusing as you may want to automatically confirm with an email to the person who has submitted. This is also called a notification. What you will do is create a notification that goes directly to the email that was used on the submission form.
Here you can see that I am creating a notification that will be sent to the person who submitted the form automatically. They key here is to select in the Send To options > Select a Field. There you will choose the email field from the form. Then you can fill out the rest of the form to fit your own needs.
Conditional Logic – The Best Way to Simplify Your Forms
This is what I consider one of the most powerful features in Gravity Forms for WordPress, and something I have already written a lot about here on the blog. In fact, in one post, I shared The Magic of Gravity Forms Conditional Logic.
Conditional logic, in a nutshell, is simply telling something to happen when something else happens. For example, in the case of a post where I wrote about how to add Stripe and PayPal to a single Gravity Form, there was a credit card field that needed to be used in order for people to use Stripe, but not PayPal. So essentially, when someone clicks on PayPal, they fill out the rest of the form, submit and end up on PayPal for payment. But if they select Stripe, suddenly a new field shows up in the form where they can put in their credit card. That field only shows up if they select Stripe.
The beauty of conditional logic is that you can streamline your forms and avoid a bunch of fields that don’t need to show.
Let me give you one more example.
Let’s say I have a form that offers two services: blog design and consulting. When you land on the page to fill it out, this is what you see. Nothing cluttered, just a place for your name and the service requested.
If I click Blog Design, suddenly all these fields show:
And if someone selects this,
This is a redesign of an existing site.
Then a field appears to allow them to put in the URL of that site.
If they choose Consulting instead, all those fields are replaced with new ones:
How does this all work? Each field has a setting. In this one, I gave it the condition:
Show this field if All of the following match:
I would like to hire you > if > Blog Design.
Or in the case of them putting in the URL of their current blog.
Show this field if All of the following match:
Please choose > if > This is a redesign of an existing blog.
To hide the Hire Me button until they have selected their option, I went into the form settings and added the conditions based on them either choosing Blog Design or Consulting.
You can even go further with this and in the notifications I showed you before, you can also use conditional logic. In this case, I am setting up a auto-responder about them wanting me to specifically do the blog design. So I can craft that message around that service. I could also do the same and create another notification that would send them a different message if they selected Consulting.
Managing Your Gravity Forms
Managing all your forms is easy with the ability to edit and duplicate as needed, which saves you tons of time. You will see entry number, views and conversions as well.
Managing Submissions in Gravity Forms
You can also view all submissions for any specific form.
And it’s easy to add any columns of data you want displayed on this list.
You can open any submission for more data and options as well.
Import and Export Options for Gravity Forms
There are some slick options here for exporting entries and of course, export/import forms. If you use Gravity Forms for several of your own sites, or even for clients, I’m sure you have existing forms you will not have to go to the trouble of recreating.
Developers and the Code Stuff
I’m not a developer or coder, so I tend to stay away from this part of Gravity Forms. But there are certainly a lot of developers and agencies I know who swear by Gravity Forms and all the things they can do with it. So even though I have touched on more of the aspects for the WordPress user, you can be rest assured that beyond the basics, it will give you what you need.
Add-ons for Gravity Forms
Depending on the license you purchase and your own needs, you may find some very useful add-ons. These allow some great extensions to Gravity Forms and help you with added features, payment options and other service integrations. There are basic and advanced add-ons, and here are all of those combined:
You can learn more about Gravity Forms here.