Gravity Forms Tips
Gravity Forms has been the most popular premium forms plugin for over a decade and the core team and third-party authors continue adding new functionality and extending its value.
It can be used for countless scenarios, and quite a few form templates are available to get you started right away:
- Contact Us
- Request A Quote
- Job Application
There is an official Gravity Forms Facebook group, and hundreds of pre-built extensions to pull off pretty much anything you want to do.
GF core comes with these advanced features:
- Email newsletter subscription connections (Mailchimp, Hubspot, etc.)
- CRM and Help Desk connections (add new leads to Zoho CRM, Agile CRM, Help Scout, etc.)
- Multi-page/step forms with pagination progress bar
- Save progress with the Partial Entries add-on
- Dropbox, Polls, Quizzes
- WordPress User Registration
- Trigger webhooks
- Creating new Posts (including post title, post content, and taxonomy fields)
- SPAM prevention via honeypot, reCAPTCHA, and more
These sites list hundreds of third-party extensions:
There are dozens of ways to visually customize your forms, including:
- Multiple fields on a single row
- Images for radio buttons
- Image upload progress, preview, and editing
- Styling GF, Customizing GF Styles, CSSHero for GF
Gravity Forms offers its Signature Add-on that lets people draw in a signature box.
ApproveMe is a more robust solution that claims to be legally binding and that GF’s own Signature add-on may not be (we don’t offer legal advice, just passing along the message). Here’s an excerpt from their website:
Most WordPress contract plugins and signature addons out there are not legally binding not to mention UETA/ESIGN compliant (they don’t hold fast to the strict laws and regulations in the document singing industry). These non-compliant (and highly vulnerable) signature add-ons, simply “capture the signature information as it is drawn and then sends this information to your web server where this information is converted into an image file and stored forever on your ftp server.”
Using the ApproveMe solution you may not even need Gravity Forms if you’re wanting PDF generation and signature workflows, but it also has an integration with Gravity Forms with which someone would submit a form and then some or all of the entry fields could map to the actual contract to sign.
There are several ways to convert your form entries to PDF:
- GravityPDF offers a lot of flexibility and meets pretty much any workflow but requires custom coding (heavily suggesting their own Bespoke service) to map form fields to pre-built PDF documents.
- ForGravity’s Fillable PDFs is the only way to upload a fillable PDF to auto-create a new Gravity Form form with all the detected fillable fields. It’s also the only option that lets you visually map form field values to each fillable PDF field.
- E2Pdf is a free visual PDF creation plugin that can integrate with many different forms plugins, including E2Pdf for Gravity Forms.
- Form Generating PDF – WordPress plugin on CodeCanyon is a good generic choice that supports multiple form plugins and is significantly less expensive.
- If already using GravityFlow they offer a PDF Generator to just dump the entry’s content to PDF, no significant benefits over the alternatives
You could also use an API, such as these available via Zapier, and receive additional functionality beyond just your Gravity Forms needs:
- PDF.co has the most thorough Zapier tutorials and documentation. They have monthly payment plans starting at $1.99 or the ability to buy a block of credits to avoid a recurring fee (e.g. “Add Text and Images to PDF” is 3 credits). Once you have an account, you’ll want to determine your PDF’s coordinates to enter into your Zap.
- PDF4me.com requires a paid plan (starting at $6/mo) to use Zapier and includes a browser extension and Windows desktop application. Sign up for a free trial, and you’ll receive 20 calls for free to test out with Zapier.
- pdfFiller is focused around filling PDFs, offering many pre-built templates and a browser extension. While a standalone offering, it’s part of the freemium airSlate PDF service that may help you not even need Gravity Forms for some use cases; it has a lot of functionality for free but no Zapier connection like pdfFiller.
- PDFMonkey offers fewer features than the others and is limited to converting HTML to PDF (can’t use an existing PDF), but it operates solely on a pay-per-PDF model, which might be attractive if your project has minimal PDF requirements.
Collecting Sensitive Information
Here are a couple tips if you’re using Gravity Forms to collect information for an IRS W-9 (SSN/EIN) or an insurance application (SSN, other PII to allow you to request a credit check like mother’s maiden name):
- Really, it’s best if you don’t save this information, but then how do you do something with it? Maybe you send it through Zapier and then delete the entire entry from your site via Entry Automation so none of the data is saved at rest. Gravity Flow’s Form Connector might come in handy for deleting entries after another action is taken. And GF Utility includes a Redact functionality to not save a field’s value to the database.
- Just make sure your site always uses HTTPS, and don’t include sensitive information in any of your form’s email notifications because email is not a secure communication method.
- If you must keep the data saved in your WordPress database, Gravity Forms Encrypted Fields is a winner, allowing field-specific settings and decryption permissions.
You may think storing data on your own site is not preferable, but each situation is unique. For example, if you’re subject to GDPR, HIPAA, or other regulations, any PDF or eSignature service you subscribe to that receives sensitive information on your behalf might need to be manually vetted by you and an individual data processing agreement signed. Just a heads up to consider all the business processes involved, as the technical side is likely able to be no sweat to the Gravity Forms plugin.
If you want to display a form that totals 2 fields into a 3rd field or adds 10% sales tax or does something more complex, you’ve got several options:
- GF’s own documentation: just set FieldA to be a number, FieldB to be a number, and FieldC to be a number and tick the checkbox for FieldC to be a calculation result field.
- Math by GravityView
- GravityWiz details several solutions
OK, so now that we’re talking “calculations” you’re thinking you could sell stuff with Gravity Forms, including passing along the 3% payment processing fee… and you’re right!
There are a handful of payment processor integrations available within GF, including Stripe and PayPal:
- GF’s Credit Card field
- GF’s own Coupons field
- Gravity Flow helps handle complex workflows to charge only at a certain point in the form submission, such as once approved.
Each form you create details its number of impressions vs submissions, giving you a conversion rate percentage.
You can display individual or aggregated entries per form or across multiple forms:
Data in and out
- Send entries to Google Sheets
- Import entries via CSV, Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets or
- Save uploads in unique folder names
Getting users to complete forms is hard enough… let’s make it easy on them to complete forms accurately:
- How To Block Gravity Forms SPAM from Ever Getting Submitted
- GF geolocation and autocomplete or Google Address Autocomplete
- Autocomplete from WordPress values (e.g. tag picker), JSON list, or Google Maps (CodeCanyon)
- Restrict datepicker values (GravityPerks or CodeCanyon), such as only allowing today forward and up to 3 weeks in the future
I’ve been a long-time paid customer of Gravity Forms, as well as an affiliate. Links in this article may benefit me financially if you click them to purchase.
I’m also available to provide consultation and implementation services so share your wish list to me here: