There are a few WordPress form plugins such as the free Contact form 7 and the premium Gravity forms, but Gravity forms is quite expensive and other plugins dont have enough features. That is where Ninja Forms comes in, you can download the lite version for free and the pro version is just $30. The pro version has the following extra features :
- Allow users to create posts/pages/etc. from a front-end form.
- Make long forms easier to manage by separating them into sections using multi-part forms.
- Give users the option to save their progress and come back to complete the form at a later date.
- Access to powerful pre and post processing hooks so you can manipulate the form data however you want.
- Allow users to upload files, with controls for naming and upload directory.
In this post Im going to take a look at the pro version.
Install The Plugin
Download the plugin and then in your WordPress admin, visit “Plugins” > “Add New” > “Upload” and upload the file.
Activate the plugin and you will see it adds a new menu item called “Ninja Forms Pro” under this is 2 sub-menus called "Edit Forms" and "Plugin Settings".
If you visit the plugin settings page you will see a number of options for setting the tool tip color scheme, help box size, the upload directory and maxium file size. You only need to edit these if you are allowing people to upload files with their form submission, other wise leave these settings as they are.
Adding a new Form
The other menu item "Edit Forms" taks you to a screen where you can add a new form or edit any existing ones you have created, go ahead and click "Add New" to get started
One the create form screen you will see on the left you have "submission settings" which you can choose whether to save form submissions, email to user, submit via Ajax and allow user to save progress. Under that you can choose to "Apend to a Page" or "Apend to a Post". On the right you can name the form, give it a description, enter a form subject, enter which email it is to be sent from, enter a success message. Once you have set all the options on this page, click "Save Form Settings" and you can begin building the actual form.
Creating the Form
Now letes start to create the actual form, for the purposes of this review I have decided to create a form that will allow users to submit a post from the front-end of a website, this could be for a public news area. At the top click the tab that says "Form Fields" and you will see a blank page and down the left hand side you will see the fields and elements you can use to create the form by dragging and dropping them. We will be using the light blue drop down called "Post Elements"
Tick the "Create Post from Input" box and then you can start clicking which form elements you want, which will add them to the form on the right - I chose to use "Post Title", "Post Content" and "Post Category" also dont forget to add a "Submit" button :
If you click "Form Preview" you can see how the form will appear - CSS styling in your theme will format this differently though.
You can use the final tab to view all the form submissions you receive and can delete them if required :
I had a slight problem when installing this plugin, when uploading the files via FTP - I had to force upload them in binary mode so bare that in mind if you come across an error when first installing. Overall though I liked this plugin - was really easy to use and has enough basic features for most users. In future I'd like to see some integration with 3rd party systems like Mailchimp, Aweber and so on - either as part of the main plugin or as add-on modules.