Designing a Form

Help Page > Forms > Designing a Form

Forms Navigator

Forms Navigator

The navigation area, on the left, shows a tree of categories. Every form template must specify a category, which helps organize forms. Clicking on the Categories node shows all available form templates. Clicking on a specific category shows form templates of that category. In both cases, the “Blank Form Template”, from which new ones are created, is also shown.


Note the icons:

Create a new form template or modify an existing one  Edit this form template. Click this icon to create a new form template or modify an existing one. To modify, select the current template, edit it, and Save. To create a new one, select Blank Form Template (to start from scratch) or a similar, existing form template. Then click Save As and give the form template a new name.
 Create a new form document from this template. Create a new form document from this template. It may take several seconds to create the form document, after which it is opened in Form Edit mode in the viewer.
 Creates a public link for a form. Creates a public link for a form. See Publishing Forms, below.
 Deletes the form template. Deletes the form template. When a form template is deleted, any form documents that had been created from it cease to behave as forms, but they remain valid documents.

Clicking directly on a specific form in the navigator edits it, just as though you had clicked on its category and then hit the pencil icon.

Designing a Form

Most of form design involves selecting elements from the tools area and dragging them onto the canvas. There are also a few options that are independent of specific elements. This section covers all of the options and elements available in the form designer.

Content Type

The Content Type selected in the form designer designates the Content Type of each instance of the form. Thereby, it determines which fields are most readily available, what workflow is applied, etc. You may choose an appropriate, existing Content Type or create a new one through the Content Type Builder, which is accessible here.

Basic Elements

Elements are the basic building block of a form. Generally, an element includes a label and an input. Most form elements are tied to fields (standard fields, like Title and Keywords, or user-defined content fields). The element displays the current value (if any) of the field and allows it to be edited (except for read-only fields, like Created On, of course.) The field associated with an element is referred to as its Field Map. Fields associated with form elements can be viewed and modified on the form (in edit mode). They can also be edited in the Content Fields panel, via workflow, or via row or column edits in a results list. To add elements to a form, click on the Add Elements tab and drag an element to the canvas.



The Display Label checkbox determines if elements will be added with or without a label. If you change your mind about the label after placing an element, you can do so through the Element Options tab explained below.

Choosing an Element

Note that there are four accordions from which elements may be selected.

Content Type Fields

For convenience, fields that are among the selected Content Type’s default fields are listed in their own accordion. When elements are placed from this collection, the label (if desired) and the field map are predetermined, matching the field. You can modify either the label or the field map after placing the element.

Form Elements

This category includes standard fields (like Title and Status) for which, like Content Type fields, the label and field map are predetermined. It also includes generic elements, like Text Box and Dropdown, for which a dialog box opens as the element is placed to select (or create) a field to which the element will map. It also includes special elements, like File Upload. All of the Form Elements are detailed below.Form Elements

Field Groups

Field groups defined in DocStar are listed here, allowing you to drag any field groups into the form. See Field Groups below for more information on designing forms with field groups.

Customized Form Elements

Customized Form Elements include all user-defined fields, whether or not they are among those selected in the Content Type. These are placed with a predefined field map and (optionally) label.

Dragging and Selecting Elements

Once placed on a form, you can drag an element to change its position.

Clicking on an element selects it. Depending on where you click, you may select the label, the input (text box, combo box, etc.) or the element container, which includes both. Some elements don’t allow independent selection of the input or container, as detailed below.

Forms_09_TextElement_AThis is a Text Box element whose label is selected. As indicated by the resize handles, only the right and bottom edges of the label can be resized. As the label is enlarged, the overall size of the element is increased and the input is moved to accommodate.

Forms_09_TextElement_BThis is the same element with its input selected. Once again, as indicated by the handles, only the right and bottom edges can be resized. To move the input to the left, select the label and make it narrower.

Forms_09_TextElement_CIn order to select the element’s container, you have to click on some place other than the label or the input, such as its border. The container may be resized in any or all directions.

Regardless of which part of the element is selected, the Element Options tab is displayed. These options are defined here.

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