Collecting Data with Gravity Forms

Beyond Simple Contact Forms: Collecting Data with Gravity Forms

WordPress is a great web publishing system, but when it comes to collecting user data through a web-based form, you’ll need to turn to a plugin to extend the core WP system. If you need a simple contact form, there are many good options to choose from, including Contact Form 7 and the Dagon Design Contact Form.

Frequently, though, you need more functionality than a simple contact form plugin provides. You might have more sophisticated data validation requirements. Maybe you want to allow users to upload files, or you might need to schedule your form only to accept submissions during a limited timeframe. While most competent web developers can easily create scripts to meet these requirements, let’s face it — it’s tedious work. Fortunately, WordPress developers have a new power tool at their disposal: Gravity Forms.

Gravity Forms (affiliate link) makes the creation of complex data collection forms easy. Not only that, but it also manages the submitted data for you.

In this tutorial, I demonstrate the Gravity Forms plugin by creating a moderately complex job application form. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.

If you need a simple contact form, then Gravity Forms probably isn’t for you. It’s a premium plugin — that means you’ll have to pay for it. If, on the other hand, you have even slightly more advanced needs, then Gravity Forms will pay for itself in the time you save by not having to build custom data collection forms.


19 thoughts on “Collecting Data with Gravity Forms”

  1. Well done! I’ve recently started using Gravity Forms myself and I have to think you for demonstrating some its capabilities that I had not yet discovered.

    You mentioned that the GF plugin is extensive and intuitive but forgot to tout its BEST feature = the folks at Rocket Science are unbelievably pleasant, knowledgeable and helpful. There is a level of customer support provided on their Forum that is very unusual in the “WP Plugin World.”

    Thanks again. I’m subscribing to your email feed — GOOD STUFF!

  2. Wow, this is really comprehensive form plugin. I can see lots of ways I can use the form on client sites. Two questions:

    1. Can Gravity Forms be used for a multi-page form?
    2. Can a honeypot form field be used? I’m not interested in using the Captcha, rather would like to use a honeypot form field that is not displayed on page display, but can be used to limit spambots.

  3. @Jim You’re absolutely right about the great support. I would add that they’re very good about incorporating user feedback into future versions.

    @Deborah Multi-page forms are apparently in the works, although there’s no timetable for release. Right now the best you can do is group your form elements into sections on the same page.

    The honeypot question was raised in the forums and it seems to be something they’re considering, along with Akismet integration. Right now, though, captcha is the only spam filtering options.

  4. Andy: Depending on your theme you’ll likely have to do some additional CSS styling for form elements. Gravity Forms allows you to specify CSS class names to each form elements, so it gives you quite a bit of control over integration with your theme.

  5. Thank you for the awesome explanation on Gravity Forms. I have a few questions and i hope you’d guide me.

    Can i allow my user to upload videos?
    Can i set the maximum file upload size?
    How many file upload fields can i insert?

    Thanks a million

    1. Videos should be uploadable through the file upload field type. Size would only be limited by your server/php settings. There’s currently no way to limit the size of an upload in Gravity Froms. You can add as many file upload fields as you need.

      Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you may look at using WordPress MU. That would give you a bit more control over upload types and storage space per user.

  6. Your video on using Gravity Forms was very helpful. I learned about features I didn’t know about until I saw your presentation. Thank you.

    1. That’s a good question. I haven’t actually tested this yet, but I’m pretty sure it will. You may need to add some additional CSS to style your form fields properly for the mobile version of your site.

  7. Great video- I’m thinking this is the product I need for a project I am working on, but I’m concerned about data security for social security numbers, etc. Does this plugin have any security features? Thanks

    1. @dene No, you’ll need to run a secure server — setup SSL, ensure that your web and database servers are adequately secure, etc.

      Having said that, storing SSN numbers on your server is never a good idea. No matter how good you think your security is.

      Yes, you can download CSV and text file of data submitted.

  8. i’m new to this but purchased gravity forms developer license to be creating a registration form for a summer program. i’d like to include some sort of “login” so that after a parent registers one child (and creates a profile) they could then login to register a 2nd child — with selected fields (such as address, medical insurance provider, emergency contact) auto-filled. i’m sure this is possible, but because i’m new at this i’m having SUCH a hard time with a few things that aren’t working. any insight? direction? help you could provide?
    thanks in advance. – m

  9. Hi MIchelle,

    Have you tried the Gravity Forms User Registration add-on? That allows you to create users through a GF form. From there your users can login using the standard WordPress login page, or you can use something like this to put a widget in your sidebar:

    Also, take advantage of Gravity Forms support. It’s very good and they can easily point you in the right direction.


  10. Looking to build a website that will be used to collect tips for a football tipping comp.

    User would have to select players for their team from drop down lists. These teams would need to be displayed for all contestants on a page within webpage.

    User than would have to select winning teams each week and again this would need to be displayed on a page within the website.

    So at anytime all users can see who has picked what players and what teams to win for a particular week.

    Administrator then would have to update the winners and loser and who scored points for each week and these results would need to be displayed in a page for users to see how they are scoring in the competition.

    Is this something that could be done with this plugin?

    1. In a way. Gravity Forms can save data to a post (or custom post type), which can then be searched as any other post type would be searched. Keep in mind that Gravity Forms is only used for the input. WordPress does the searching (and WP is notoriously bad about on-site search).

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