Django documentation

Formsets

class django.forms.formsets.BaseFormSet

A formset is a layer of abstraction to work with multiple forms on the same page. It can be best compared to a data grid. Let’s say you have the following form:

>>> from django import forms
>>> class ArticleForm(forms.Form):
...     title = forms.CharField()
...     pub_date = forms.DateField()

You might want to allow the user to create several articles at once. To create a formset out of an ArticleForm you would do:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm)

You now have created a formset named ArticleFormSet. The formset gives you the ability to iterate over the forms in the formset and display them as you would with a regular form:

>>> formset = ArticleFormSet()
>>> for form in formset:
...     print(form.as_table())
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>

As you can see it only displayed one empty form. The number of empty forms that is displayed is controlled by the extra parameter. By default, formset_factory() defines one extra form; the following example will display two blank forms:

>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, extra=2)

Iterating over the formset will render the forms in the order they were created. You can change this order by providing an alternate implementation for the __iter__() method.

Formsets can also be indexed into, which returns the corresponding form. If you override __iter__, you will need to also override __getitem__ to have matching behavior.

Using initial data with a formset

Initial data is what drives the main usability of a formset. As shown above you can define the number of extra forms. What this means is that you are telling the formset how many additional forms to show in addition to the number of forms it generates from the initial data. Lets take a look at an example:

>>> import datetime
>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, extra=2)
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(initial=[
...     {'title': u'Django is now open source',
...      'pub_date': datetime.date.today(),}
... ])

>>> for form in formset:
...     print(form.as_table())
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" value="Django is now open source" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" value="2008-05-12" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-title" id="id_form-1-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-pub_date" id="id_form-1-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-title" id="id_form-2-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-pub_date" id="id_form-2-pub_date" /></td></tr>

There are now a total of three forms showing above. One for the initial data that was passed in and two extra forms. Also note that we are passing in a list of dictionaries as the initial data.

Limiting the maximum number of forms

The max_num parameter to formset_factory() gives you the ability to limit the maximum number of empty forms the formset will display:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, extra=2, max_num=1)
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet()
>>> for form in formset:
...     print(form.as_table())
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>

If the value of max_num is greater than the number of existing objects, up to extra additional blank forms will be added to the formset, so long as the total number of forms does not exceed max_num.

A max_num value of None (the default) puts a high limit on the number of forms displayed (1000). In practice this is equivalent to no limit.

If the number of forms in the initial data exceeds max_num, all initial data forms will be displayed regardless. (No extra forms will be displayed.)

By default, max_num only affects how many forms are displayed and does not affect validation. If validate_max=True is passed to the formset_factory(), then max_num will affect validation. See Validating the number of forms in a formset.

Changed in Django 1.6:

The validate_max parameter was added to formset_factory(). Also, the behavior of FormSet was brought in line with that of ModelFormSet so that it displays initial data regardless of max_num.

Formset validation

Validation with a formset is almost identical to a regular Form. There is an is_valid method on the formset to provide a convenient way to validate all forms in the formset:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm)
>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'1',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'0',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
>>> formset.is_valid()
True

We passed in no data to the formset which is resulting in a valid form. The formset is smart enough to ignore extra forms that were not changed. If we provide an invalid article:

>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'2',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'0',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'Test',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'1904-06-16',
...     'form-1-title': u'Test',
...     'form-1-pub_date': u'', # <-- this date is missing but required
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
>>> formset.is_valid()
False
>>> formset.errors
[{}, {'pub_date': [u'This field is required.']}]

As we can see, formset.errors is a list whose entries correspond to the forms in the formset. Validation was performed for each of the two forms, and the expected error message appears for the second item.

total_error_count()
New in Django 1.6.

To check how many errors there are in the formset, we can use the total_error_count method:

>>> # Using the previous example
>>> formset.errors
[{}, {'pub_date': [u'This field is required.']}]
>>> len(formset.errors)
2
>>> formset.total_error_count()
1

We can also check if form data differs from the initial data (i.e. the form was sent without any data):

>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'1',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'0',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'',
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
>>> formset.has_changed()
False

Understanding the ManagementForm

You may have noticed the additional data (form-TOTAL_FORMS, form-INITIAL_FORMS and form-MAX_NUM_FORMS) that was required in the formset’s data above. This data is required for the ManagementForm. This form is used by the formset to manage the collection of forms contained in the formset. If you don’t provide this management data, an exception will be raised:

>>> data = {
...     'form-0-title': u'Test',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'',
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
Traceback (most recent call last):
...
django.forms.util.ValidationError: [u'ManagementForm data is missing or has been tampered with']

It is used to keep track of how many form instances are being displayed. If you are adding new forms via JavaScript, you should increment the count fields in this form as well. On the other hand, if you are using JavaScript to allow deletion of existing objects, then you need to ensure the ones being removed are properly marked for deletion by including form-#-DELETE in the POST data. It is expected that all forms are present in the POST data regardless.

The management form is available as an attribute of the formset itself. When rendering a formset in a template, you can include all the management data by rendering {{ my_formset.management_form }} (substituting the name of your formset as appropriate).

total_form_count and initial_form_count

BaseFormSet has a couple of methods that are closely related to the ManagementForm, total_form_count and initial_form_count.

total_form_count returns the total number of forms in this formset. initial_form_count returns the number of forms in the formset that were pre-filled, and is also used to determine how many forms are required. You will probably never need to override either of these methods, so please be sure you understand what they do before doing so.

empty_form

BaseFormSet provides an additional attribute empty_form which returns a form instance with a prefix of __prefix__ for easier use in dynamic forms with JavaScript.

Custom formset validation

A formset has a clean method similar to the one on a Form class. This is where you define your own validation that works at the formset level:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import BaseFormSet
>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm

>>> class BaseArticleFormSet(BaseFormSet):
...     def clean(self):
...         """Checks that no two articles have the same title."""
...         if any(self.errors):
...             # Don't bother validating the formset unless each form is valid on its own
...             return
...         titles = []
...         for form in self.forms:
...             title = form.cleaned_data['title']
...             if title in titles:
...                 raise forms.ValidationError("Articles in a set must have distinct titles.")
...             titles.append(title)

>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, formset=BaseArticleFormSet)
>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'2',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'0',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'Test',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'1904-06-16',
...     'form-1-title': u'Test',
...     'form-1-pub_date': u'1912-06-23',
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
>>> formset.is_valid()
False
>>> formset.errors
[{}, {}]
>>> formset.non_form_errors()
[u'Articles in a set must have distinct titles.']

The formset clean method is called after all the Form.clean methods have been called. The errors will be found using the non_form_errors() method on the formset.

Validating the number of forms in a formset

If validate_max=True is passed to formset_factory(), validation will also check that the number of forms in the data set, minus those marked for deletion, is less than or equal to max_num.

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, max_num=1, validate_max=True)
>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'2',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'0',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'Test',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'1904-06-16',
...     'form-1-title': u'Test 2',
...     'form-1-pub_date': u'1912-06-23',
... }
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data)
>>> formset.is_valid()
False
>>> formset.errors
[{}, {}]
>>> formset.non_form_errors()
[u'Please submit 1 or fewer forms.']

validate_max=True validates against max_num strictly even if max_num was exceeded because the amount of initial data supplied was excessive.

Applications which need more customizable validation of the number of forms should use custom formset validation.

Note

Regardless of validate_max, if the number of forms in a data set exceeds max_num by more than 1000, then the form will fail to validate as if validate_max were set, and additionally only the first 1000 forms above max_num will be validated. The remainder will be truncated entirely. This is to protect against memory exhaustion attacks using forged POST requests.

Changed in Django 1.6:

The validate_max parameter was added to formset_factory().

Dealing with ordering and deletion of forms

The formset_factory() provides two optional parameters can_order and can_delete to help with ordering of forms in formsets and deletion of forms from a formset.

can_order

Default: False

Lets you create a formset with the ability to order:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, can_order=True)
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(initial=[
...     {'title': u'Article #1', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10)},
...     {'title': u'Article #2', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 11)},
... ])
>>> for form in formset:
...     print(form.as_table())
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" value="Article #1" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" value="2008-05-10" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-ORDER">Order:</label></th><td><input type="number" name="form-0-ORDER" value="1" id="id_form-0-ORDER" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-title" value="Article #2" id="id_form-1-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-pub_date" value="2008-05-11" id="id_form-1-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-ORDER">Order:</label></th><td><input type="number" name="form-1-ORDER" value="2" id="id_form-1-ORDER" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-title" id="id_form-2-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-pub_date" id="id_form-2-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-ORDER">Order:</label></th><td><input type="number" name="form-2-ORDER" id="id_form-2-ORDER" /></td></tr>

This adds an additional field to each form. This new field is named ORDER and is an forms.IntegerField. For the forms that came from the initial data it automatically assigned them a numeric value. Let’s look at what will happen when the user changes these values:

>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'3',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'2',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'Article #1',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'2008-05-10',
...     'form-0-ORDER': u'2',
...     'form-1-title': u'Article #2',
...     'form-1-pub_date': u'2008-05-11',
...     'form-1-ORDER': u'1',
...     'form-2-title': u'Article #3',
...     'form-2-pub_date': u'2008-05-01',
...     'form-2-ORDER': u'0',
... }

>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data, initial=[
...     {'title': u'Article #1', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10)},
...     {'title': u'Article #2', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 11)},
... ])
>>> formset.is_valid()
True
>>> for form in formset.ordered_forms:
...     print(form.cleaned_data)
{'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 1), 'ORDER': 0, 'title': u'Article #3'}
{'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 11), 'ORDER': 1, 'title': u'Article #2'}
{'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10), 'ORDER': 2, 'title': u'Article #1'}

can_delete

Default: False

Lets you create a formset with the ability to select forms for deletion:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, can_delete=True)
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(initial=[
...     {'title': u'Article #1', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10)},
...     {'title': u'Article #2', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 11)},
... ])
>>> for form in formset:
....    print(form.as_table())
<input type="hidden" name="form-TOTAL_FORMS" value="3" id="id_form-TOTAL_FORMS" /><input type="hidden" name="form-INITIAL_FORMS" value="2" id="id_form-INITIAL_FORMS" /><input type="hidden" name="form-MAX_NUM_FORMS" id="id_form-MAX_NUM_FORMS" />
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" value="Article #1" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" value="2008-05-10" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-DELETE">Delete:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="form-0-DELETE" id="id_form-0-DELETE" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-title" value="Article #2" id="id_form-1-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-1-pub_date" value="2008-05-11" id="id_form-1-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-1-DELETE">Delete:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="form-1-DELETE" id="id_form-1-DELETE" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-title" id="id_form-2-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-2-pub_date" id="id_form-2-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-2-DELETE">Delete:</label></th><td><input type="checkbox" name="form-2-DELETE" id="id_form-2-DELETE" /></td></tr>

Similar to can_order this adds a new field to each form named DELETE and is a forms.BooleanField. When data comes through marking any of the delete fields you can access them with deleted_forms:

>>> data = {
...     'form-TOTAL_FORMS': u'3',
...     'form-INITIAL_FORMS': u'2',
...     'form-MAX_NUM_FORMS': u'',
...     'form-0-title': u'Article #1',
...     'form-0-pub_date': u'2008-05-10',
...     'form-0-DELETE': u'on',
...     'form-1-title': u'Article #2',
...     'form-1-pub_date': u'2008-05-11',
...     'form-1-DELETE': u'',
...     'form-2-title': u'',
...     'form-2-pub_date': u'',
...     'form-2-DELETE': u'',
... }

>>> formset = ArticleFormSet(data, initial=[
...     {'title': u'Article #1', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10)},
...     {'title': u'Article #2', 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 11)},
... ])
>>> [form.cleaned_data for form in formset.deleted_forms]
[{'DELETE': True, 'pub_date': datetime.date(2008, 5, 10), 'title': u'Article #1'}]

If you are using a ModelFormSet, model instances for deleted forms will be deleted when you call formset.save(). On the other hand, if you are using a plain FormSet, it’s up to you to handle formset.deleted_forms, perhaps in your formset’s save() method, as there’s no general notion of what it means to delete a form.

Adding additional fields to a formset

If you need to add additional fields to the formset this can be easily accomplished. The formset base class provides an add_fields method. You can simply override this method to add your own fields or even redefine the default fields/attributes of the order and deletion fields:

>>> from django.forms.formsets import BaseFormSet
>>> from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
>>> from myapp.forms import ArticleForm
>>> class BaseArticleFormSet(BaseFormSet):
...     def add_fields(self, form, index):
...         super(BaseArticleFormSet, self).add_fields(form, index)
...         form.fields["my_field"] = forms.CharField()

>>> ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm, formset=BaseArticleFormSet)
>>> formset = ArticleFormSet()
>>> for form in formset:
...     print(form.as_table())
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-title">Title:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-title" id="id_form-0-title" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-pub_date">Pub date:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-pub_date" id="id_form-0-pub_date" /></td></tr>
<tr><th><label for="id_form-0-my_field">My field:</label></th><td><input type="text" name="form-0-my_field" id="id_form-0-my_field" /></td></tr>

Using a formset in views and templates

Using a formset inside a view is as easy as using a regular Form class. The only thing you will want to be aware of is making sure to use the management form inside the template. Let’s look at a sample view:

from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
from django.shortcuts import render_to_response
from myapp.forms import ArticleForm

def manage_articles(request):
    ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm)
    if request.method == 'POST':
        formset = ArticleFormSet(request.POST, request.FILES)
        if formset.is_valid():
            # do something with the formset.cleaned_data
            pass
    else:
        formset = ArticleFormSet()
    return render_to_response('manage_articles.html', {'formset': formset})

The manage_articles.html template might look like this:

<form method="post" action="">
    {{ formset.management_form }}
    <table>
        {% for form in formset %}
        {{ form }}
        {% endfor %}
    </table>
</form>

However the above can be slightly shortcutted and let the formset itself deal with the management form:

<form method="post" action="">
    <table>
        {{ formset }}
    </table>
</form>

The above ends up calling the as_table method on the formset class.

Manually rendered can_delete and can_order

If you manually render fields in the template, you can render can_delete parameter with {{ form.DELETE }}:

<form method="post" action="">
    {{ formset.management_form }}
    {% for form in formset %}
        {{ form.id }}
        <ul>
            <li>{{ form.title }}</li>
            {% if formset.can_delete %}
                <li>{{ form.DELETE }}</li>
            {% endif %}
        </ul>
    {% endfor %}
</form>

Similarly, if the formset has the ability to order (can_order=True), it is possible to render it with {{ form.ORDER }}.

Using more than one formset in a view

You are able to use more than one formset in a view if you like. Formsets borrow much of its behavior from forms. With that said you are able to use prefix to prefix formset form field names with a given value to allow more than one formset to be sent to a view without name clashing. Lets take a look at how this might be accomplished:

from django.forms.formsets import formset_factory
from django.shortcuts import render_to_response
from myapp.forms import ArticleForm, BookForm

def manage_articles(request):
    ArticleFormSet = formset_factory(ArticleForm)
    BookFormSet = formset_factory(BookForm)
    if request.method == 'POST':
        article_formset = ArticleFormSet(request.POST, request.FILES, prefix='articles')
        book_formset = BookFormSet(request.POST, request.FILES, prefix='books')
        if article_formset.is_valid() and book_formset.is_valid():
            # do something with the cleaned_data on the formsets.
            pass
    else:
        article_formset = ArticleFormSet(prefix='articles')
        book_formset = BookFormSet(prefix='books')
    return render_to_response('manage_articles.html', {
        'article_formset': article_formset,
        'book_formset': book_formset,
    })

You would then render the formsets as normal. It is important to point out that you need to pass prefix on both the POST and non-POST cases so that it is rendered and processed correctly.

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