How to create your own template packs

First you will have to name your template pack, for this you can’t use the name of one of the available template packs in crispy-forms, due to name collisions. For example, let’s say in the company we work for, a designer has come up with a CSS bootstrap internally known as chocolat. The company has a Django project that needs to start using chocolat, therefore we need to create a folder named chocolat within our templates directory. Check your TEMPLATE_DIRS setting in Django and pick your preferred path.

Once we have that folder created, we will have to create a concrete directory hierarchy so that crispy-forms can pick it up. This is what bootstrap template pack (v2) looks like:

├── accordion-group.html
├── accordion.html
├── betterform.html
├── display_form.html
├── errors.html
├── errors_formset.html
├── * field.html
├── layout
│   ├── alert.html
│   ├── * baseinput.html
│   ├── button.html
│   ├── checkboxselectmultiple.html
│   ├── checkboxselectmultiple_inline.html
│   ├── div.html
│   ├── field_errors.html
│   ├── field_errors_block.html
│   ├── field_with_buttons.html
│   ├── fieldset.html
│   ├── formactions.html
│   ├── help_text.html
│   ├── help_text_and_errors.html
│   ├── multifield.html
│   ├── prepended_appended_text.html
│   ├── radioselect.html
│   ├── radioselect_inline.html
│   ├── tab-link.html
│   ├── tab.html
│   └── uneditable_input.html
├── table_inline_formset.html
├── * uni_form.html
├── uni_formset.html
├── * whole_uni_form.html
└── whole_uni_formset.html

Take it easy, don’t panic, we won’t need this many templates for our template pack. Templates are also quite simple to follow if you understand what problem crispy-forms solves. The bare minimum would be the templates marked with an asterisk.


First, since crispy-forms 1.5.0, template packs are self contained, you cannot reference a template from a different template pack.

crispy-forms has many features, but maybe you don’t need your template pack to cover all of them. {% crispy %} templatetag renders forms using a global structure contained within whole_uni_form.html. However, |crispy filter uses uni_form.html. As you’ve probably guessed, the name of the templates comes from the old days of django-uni-form. Anyway, as an example, if we don’t use |crispy filter, we don’t really need to maintain a uni_form.html template within our template pack.

If we are planning on using formsets + {% crispy %} we will need a whole_uni_formset.html, instead if we use formsets + |crispy we will need uni_formset.html.

All of these templates use a tag named {% crispy_field %} that is loaded doing {% load crispy_forms_field %}, that generates the html for <input> using field.html template, but previously doing Python preparation beforehand. In case you wonder the code for this tag lives in crispy_forms.templatetags.crispy_forms_field, together with some other stuff.

So a template pack for a very basic example covering only forms and the usage of {% crispy %} tag, would need 2 templates: whole_uni_form.html, field.html. Well, that’s not completely true, because every layout object has a template attached. So if we wanted to use Div, we would need div.html. Some are not that obvious, if you need Submit, you will need baseinput.html. Some layout objects, don’t really have a template attached, like HTML.

In the previous template tree, there are some templates that are there for DRY purposes, they are not really compulsory or part of a layout object, so don’t worry too much.


Now your best bet is probably start copying some or all of the templates under an existing crispy-forms template pack, such as bootstrap3, then drop the ones you don’t need. Next step is edit those templates, and adjust the HTML/CSS making it align with chocolat, that sometimes means dropping/adding divs, classes and other stuff around. You can always create a form in your application, with a helper attached to that new template pack and start trying out your adaptation right away.

Currently, there is an existing template pack for crispy-forms that doesn’t live in core, developed by David Thenon as an external pluggable application named crispy-forms-foundation, it’s also a good reference to check out.

Beware that crispy-forms evolves and adds new FormHelper.attributes, if you want to use those in the future you will have to adapt your templates adding those variables and its handling.