{% crispy %} tag

django-crispy-forms implements a class called FormHelper that defines the form rendering behavior. Helpers give you a way to control form attributes and its layout, doing this in a programatic way using Python. This way you write as little HTML as possible, and all your logic stays in the forms and views files.


For the rest of this document we will use the following example form of how to use a helper. This form is in charge of gathering some user information:

class ExampleForm(forms.Form):
    like_website = forms.TypedChoiceField(
        label = "Do you like this website?",
        choices = ((1, "Yes"), (0, "No")),
        coerce = lambda x: bool(int(x)),
        widget = forms.RadioSelect,
        initial = '1',
        required = True,

    favorite_food = forms.CharField(
        label = "What is your favorite food?",
        max_length = 80,
        required = True,

    favorite_color = forms.CharField(
        label = "What is your favorite color?",
        max_length = 80,
        required = True,

    favorite_number = forms.IntegerField(
        label = "Favorite number",
        required = False,

    notes = forms.CharField(
        label = "Additional notes or feedback",
        required = False,

Let’s see how helpers works step by step, with some examples explained. First you will need to import FormHelper:

from crispy_forms.helper import FormHelper

Your helper can be a class level variable or an instance level variable, if you don’t know what this means you might want to read the article “Be careful how you use static variables in forms”. As a rule of thumb, if you are not going to manipulate a FormHelper in your code, like in a view, you should be using a static helper, otherwise you should be using an instance level helper. If you still don’t understand the subtle differences between both, use an instance level helper, because you won’t end up suffering side effects. As in the next steps I will show you how to manipulate the form helper, so we will create an instance level helper. This is how you would do it:

from crispy_forms.helper import FormHelper

class ExampleForm(forms.Form):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.helper = FormHelper()
        super(ExampleForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

As you can see you need to override the constructor and call the base class constructor using super. This helper doesn’t set any form attributes, so it’s useless. Let’s see how to set up some basic FormHelper attributes:

from crispy_forms.helper import FormHelper
from crispy_forms.layout import Submit

class ExampleForm(forms.Form):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        self.helper = FormHelper()
        self.helper.form_id = 'id-exampleForm'
        self.helper.form_class = 'blueForms'
        self.helper.form_method = 'post'
        self.helper.form_action = 'submit_survey'

        self.helper.add_input(Submit('submit', 'Submit'))
        super(ExampleForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)

Note that we are importing a class called Submit that is a layout object. We will see what layout objects are in detail later on, for now on let’s just say that this adds a submit button to our form, so people can send their survey.

We’ve also done some helper magic. FormHelper has a list of attributes that can be set, that effect mainly form attributes. Our form will have as DOM id id-exampleForm, it will have as DOM CSS class blueForms, it will use http POST to send information and its action will be set to reverse(submit_survey).

Let’s see how to render the form in a template. Supposing we have the form in the template context as example_form, we would render it doing:

{% load crispy_forms_tags %}
{% crispy example_form example_form.helper %}

Notice that the {% crispy %} tags expects two parameters: first the form variable and then the helper. In this case we use the FormHelper attached to the form, but you could also create a FormHelper instance and pass it as a context variable. Most of the time, you will want to use the helper attached. Note that if you name your FormHelper attribute helper you will only need to do:

{% crispy form %}

This is exactly the html that you would get:

<form action="/submit/survey/" class="uniForm blueForms" method="post" id="id-exampleForm">
    <div style='display:none'>
        <input type='hidden' name='csrfmiddlewaretoken' value='a643fab735d5ce6377ff456e73c4b1af' />
        <div id="div_id_like_website" class="ctrlHolder">
            <label for="id_like_website" class="requiredField">¿Do you like this website?<span class="asteriskField">*</span></label>
                <li><label for="id_like_website_0"><input checked="checked" name="like_website" value="1" id="id_like_website_0" type="radio" class="radioselect" /> Yes</label></li>
                <li><label for="id_like_website_1"><input value="0" type="radio" class="radioselect" name="like_website" id="id_like_website_1" /> No</label></li>
        <div id="div_id_favorite_food" class="ctrlHolder">
            <label for="id_favorite_food" class="requiredField">What is you favorite food?<span class="asteriskField">*</span></label>
            <input id="id_favorite_food" class="textinput textInput" type="text" name="favorite_food" maxlength="80" required="required" />
        <div id="div_id_favorite_color" class="ctrlHolder">
            <label for="id_favorite_color" class="requiredField">What is you favorite color?<span class="asteriskField">*</span></label>
            <input id="id_favorite_color" class="textinput textInput" type="text" name="favorite_color" maxlength="80" required="required" />
        <div id="div_id_favorite_number" class="ctrlHolder">
            <label for="id_favorite_number">Favorite number</label>
            <input id="id_favorite_number" type="text" name="favorite_number" class="textinput textInput" />
        <div id="div_id_notes" class="ctrlHolder">
            <label for="id_notes">Additional notes or feedback</label>
            <input id="id_notes" type="text" name="notes" class="textinput textInput" />
    <div class="buttonHolder">
        <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" class="submit submitButton" id="submit-id-submit" />

What you’ll get is the form rendered as HTML with awesome bits. Specifically...

  • Opening and closing form tags, with id, class, action and method set as in the helper:

    <form action="/submit/survey/" class="uniForm blueForms" method="post" id="id-exampleForm">
  • Django’s CSRF controls:

    <div style='display:none'>
        <input type='hidden' name='csrfmiddlewaretoken' value='a643fab735d5ce6377ff456e73c4b1af' />
  • Submit button:

    <div class="buttonHolder">
        <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" class="submit submitButton" id="submit-id-submit" />

Manipulating a helper in a view

Let’s see how we could change any helper property in a view:

def inbox(request, template_name):
    example_form = ExampleForm()
    redirect_url = request.GET.get('next')

    # Form handling logic

    if redirect_url is not None:
        example_form.helper.form_action = reverse('submit_survey') + '?next=' + redirectUrl

    return render_to_response(template_name, {'example_form': example_form}, context_instance=RequestContext(request))

We are changing form_action helper property in case the view was called with a next GET parameter.

Rendering several forms with helpers

Often we get asked: “How do you render two or more forms, with their respective helpers, using {% crispy %} tag, without having <form> tags rendered twice?” Easy, you need to set form_tag helper property to False in every helper:

self.helper.form_tag = False

Then you will have to write a little of html code surrounding the forms:

<form action="{% url submit_survey %}" class="uniForm" method="post">
    {% crispy first_form %}
    {% crispy second_form %}

You can read a list of Helper attributes you can set and what they are for.

Make django-crispy-forms fail loud

By default when django-crispy-forms encounters errors, it fails silently, logs them and continues working if possible. A settings variable called CRISPY_FAIL_SILENTLY has been added so that you can control this behavior. If you want to raise exceptions instead of logging, telling you what’s going on when you are developing in debug mode, you can set it to:


Rendering formsets

{% crispy %} tag supports formsets rendering too. All the previous stated things apply to formsets the same way. Imagine you create a formset using the previous ExampleForm form:

from django.forms.models import formset_factory

ExampleFormset = formset_factory(ExampleForm, extra = 3)
example_formset = ExampleFormset()

This is how you would render the formset. Note that this time you need to specify the helper explicitly:

{% crispy example_formset example_formset.form.helper %}

If your formset’s forms have different layouts, because you manipulated them, you will have to do:

{% for form in example_formset %}
    {% crispy form %}
{% endfor %}

Note, make sure that you have form_tag attribute set to False in your formset’s forms, otherwise you will get 3 individual forms rendered:

class ExampleForm(forms.Form):
    self.helper = FormHelper()
    self.helper.form_tag = False

Note that you can still use a helper (in this case we are using the helper of the form used for building the formset). The main difference here is that helper attributes are applied to the form structure, while the layout is applied to the formset’s forms. Rendering formsets injects some extra context in the layout rendering so that you can do things like:

HTML("{% if forloop.first %}Message displayed only in the first form of a formset forms list{% endif %}",
Fieldset("Item {{ forloop.counter }}", 'field-1', [...])

Basically you can access a forloop Django node, as if you were rendering your formsets forms using a for loop.

Helper attributes you can set

form_method = ‘POST’
Specifies form method attribute. You can see it to ‘POST’ or ‘GET’. Defaults to ‘POST’

Applied to the form action attribute. Can be a named url in your URLconf that can be executed via the {% url %} template tag. Example: ‘show_my_profile’. In your URLconf you could have something like:

url(r'^show/profile/$', 'show_my_profile_view', name = 'show_my_profile')

You can also point it to a URL ‘/whatever/blabla/’.


Added in 1.2.0, a dictionary to set any kind of form attributes. Underscores in keys are translated into hyphens. The recommended way when you need to set several form attributes in order to keep your helper tidy:

``{'id': 'form-id', 'data_id': '/whatever'}``
<form id="form-id" data-id="/whatever" ...>
Specifies form DOM id attribute. If no id provided then no id attribute is created on the form.
String containing separated CSS clases to be applied to form class attribute. The form will always have by default ‘uniForm’ class.
form_tag = True
It specifies if <form></form> tags should be rendered when using a Layout. If set to False it renders the form without the <form></form> tags. Defaults to True.
If you are rendering a form using {% crispy %} tag and it has non_field_errors to display, they are rendered in a div. You can set the title of the div with this attribute. Example: “Form Errors”.
If you are rendering a formset using {% crispy %} tag and it has non_form_errors to display, they are rendered in a div. You can set the title of the div with this attribute. Example: “Formset Errors”.
form_style = ‘default’
Helper attribute for uni_form template pack. Uni-form has two different form styles built-in. You can choose which one to use, setting this variable to default or inline.
form_show_errors = True
Default set to True. It decides wether to render or not form errors. If set to False, form.errors will not be visible even if they happen. You have to manually render them customizing your template. This allows you to customize error output.
render_unmentioned_fields = False
By default django-crispy-forms renders the layout specified if it exists strictly, which means it only renders what the layout mentions, unless your form has Meta.fields and Meta.exclude defined, in that case it uses them. If you want to render unmentioned fields in the layout, for example if you are worried about forgetting mentioning them you have to set this property to True. It defaults to False.

Bootstrap Helper attributes

There are currently some helper attributes that only have functionality for a specific template pack. These doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be supported for other template packs in the future.

help_text_inline = False
Sets whether help texts should be rendered inline or block. If set to True help texts will be rendered help-inline class, otherwise using help-block. By default text messages are rendered in block mode.
error_text_inline = True
Sets whether to render error messages inline or block. If set to True errors will be rendered using help-inline class, otherwise using help-block. By default error messages are rendered in inline mode.
html5_required = False
When set to True all required fields inputs will be rendered with HTML5 required=required attribute.


django-crispy-forms is a Django application that lets you easily build, customize and reuse forms using your favorite CSS framework, without writing template code and without having to take care of annoying details. You are currently looking at the documentation of the development release.


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