Beginner Guide to Gravity Forms Shortcodes

Gravity Forms Shortcodes: What They Are and How to Use Them

Written by Casey Burridge

Last updated:

Categories Gravity Forms

As the most flexible and robust form plugin for WordPress, Gravity Forms is packed full of powerful features. For example, did you know that Gravity Forms provides two handy shortcodes that allow you to embed forms and show/hide content based on conditional logic?

Gravity Forms shortcodes may seem confusing at first, but once you start playing with them, you’ll realize how intuitive and simple they are to use. In this post, we provide a comprehensive overview of the different shortcodes including examples of how to use them on your website.

Let’s get started 🙌

What Is a WordPress Shortcode?

Shortcodes in WordPress allow you to do awesome things without having to write custom code! With shortcodes, you can embed interactive content, create attractive page layouts, and much more. 

Shortcodes are text strings enclosed in square brackets, like this: [shortcode].

WordPress Core ships with a bunch of preset shortcodes that you can take advantage of to improve the way you build websites. Certain plugins also add shortcodes to WordPress, including Gravity Forms!

Embedding a Form Without a Shortcode

First off, it’s important to point out that you can add a Gravity Form to your website without using a shortcode! That’s right, Gravity Forms integrates with the Block Editor (Gutenberg) as well as the Classic Editor, allowing you to add forms to your pages with the click of a button.

If you’re using the block editor, create a new page, click the ‘+’ icon and select the Gravity Forms block. Next, choose your form from the dropdown menu. After choosing a form, you’ll see a preview of the form appear inside the page editor.

The Gravity Forms block dropdown field to select a form

On the right, there are several settings that allow you to customize the way your form displays and functions on the front end. For example, you can hide the title and description and enable AJAX for submissions.

If you’re still using the classic text editor, click on the Gravity Forms button at the top and select the form you want to add.

The "Add Form" button above the WordPress classic text editor

If you’re using a page builder like Divi or Elementor, you’ll need to either use the embed shortcode or a third-party plugin to insert your form inside a page or post.

Okay, now that’s out the way, let’s dive into Gravity Forms’ in-built shortcodes.

The Gravity Forms Embed Shortcode

First up is the most important shortcode for Gravity Forms – the embed shortcode

You can use the embed shortcode to:

  • Embed Gravity Forms forms anywhere on your site (including pages, posts, and sidebar widgets)
  • Show or hide the title and description of a form
  • Enable or disable AJAX
  • Pre-populate form fields with specific values

A typical Gravity Forms embed shortcode looks like this:

[gravityform id="7" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]

Let’s explore the shortcode in more detail.

Gravity Forms Shortcode Parameters

The Gravity Forms embed shortcode supports the following 6 parameters:id, title, description, ajax, tabindex, and field_values.

Okay, let’s break them down, one by one. 🕵️‍♂️

  • id
    The id parameter refers to the ID of the form you want to embed. It’s the most important parameter and it’s the only one that’s required. The rest are optional.
  • title
    Either true or false. If true, the title will be displayed, if false, it will be hidden.
  • description
    Either true or false. If true, the description will be displayed, if false, it will be hidden.
  • ajax
    Either true or false. If true, the form will use AJAX submit, if false it will require a page-load to process submissions.
  • tabindex
    Takes a number, such as 11, and uses this as the starting tab index for the form. 
  • field_values
    Allows you to dynamically populate fields with preset values. This is helpful if you’re using the same form on multiple parts of your website and need to include a custom value based on which page the form is displayed on. This is explained in-depth below.

Note: The first four parameters are the most common. The other two are only used in specific circumstances. 

Are you still confused? Don’t worry! We’ll go over some helpful examples below. But first…

How to Find Your Form ID

The most important shortcode parameter is the form ID. This indicates which form should be displayed. 

Although it might not be obvious at first, finding your form ID is easy! First, hover over Forms in your WordPress admin menu and click Forms. Now, you’ll see a list of all your forms in Gravity Forms. The form ID is in the column on the right.

The "ID" column on the Gravity Forms Forms page

Let’s look at some examples of the embed shortcode in action.

Embed Shortcode Example

Here’s a shortcode example where the title and description parameters are set to “true”:

[gravityforms id=“21” title=“true” description=“true”]

And here’s what our form looks like on the front end:

A form on the front end with arrows pointing to the title and description

As you can see, setting the title and description parameters to “true” makes them visible on the front end.

Gravity Forms Shortcode Field Values: Dynamic Field Population

The field_values parameter allows you to dynamically populate form fields. In this example, our form contains a checkbox field with three options and we want to select the first option when the user loads the page. 

For the field_values parameter to work correctly we first need to enable dynamic population on the form field that we’re targeting. To do this, we’ll click on the field inside the Gravity Forms editor, open the Advanced settings tab and check the box that says “Allow field to be populated dynamically”.

Next, we’ll enter a parameter name in the box. This is how we’ll reference the field when constructing our shortcode.

The checked checkbox titled 'Allow field to be populated dynamically' and the 'Parameter Name' text input containing the word 'checkbox'

Okay, done! Now we can write our shortcode. Here’s what it looks like:

[gravityforms id=“21” field_values=“checkbox=First Choice”]

And here’s what our form looks like on the front end.

A form on the front end containing a checkbox field where the first option is already checked

As you can see, when the user opens the page containing our form, the “First Choice” value is already checked. Let’s have a look at the field_values parameter in a little more detail.

field_values=“checkbox=First Choice”

After “field_values=” you need to specify the parameter name and then the value you want to populate it with. In the above example, we’re passing the value of the first checkbox field.

Now, let’s look at another example involving a text field

In this case, we’ve got a Single Line Text field and we’ve given it the parameter name “event_name”. We can now use the field_values shortcode parameter to dynamically populate the field with the correct event name.

[gravityforms id="36" field_values="event_name=5K Charity Run"]
A form on the front end with the 'Event Name' field prepopulated with the text '5K Charity Run'

The “Event Name” field is automatically populated with the value we specified in our shortcode!

Note: You can target multiple fields by separating them with an ampersand (“&”).

Gravity Forms Shortcode Not Working? 🚫

If you’ve added your shortcode to a page or post but your form isn’t showing up on the front end, it’s likely because the form ID is incorrect. If you accidentally entered an ID that does not exist, Gravity Forms will display an error message saying that your form could not be located.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

Double-check your form ID and try again!

When to Use It:

  1. Your page builder doesn’t have a Gravity Forms integration and you need to add a Form to your post or page
  2. You want to add a Form to your sidebar
  3. You want to use the dynamic field population functionality

That’s it for the embed shortcode, let’s have a look at the Gravity Forms conditional shortcode.

Gravity Forms Conditional Shortcode 

Next up is the Gravity Forms conditional shortcode, which allows you to show or hide content based on conditions that you set. The shortcode is helpful for customizing messages based on user responses. You can use the conditional shortcode inside confirmation messages, or email notifications! 😎

The conditional shortcode looks like this:

[gravityforms action="conditional" merge_tag="" condition="" value=""]
The content you want to show/hide based on a condition.
[/gravityforms]

Conditional Shortcode Parameters

The conditional shortcode accepts the following four parameters: action, merge_tag, condition, and value.

Unlike the embed shortcode, all four of these parameters are required for the conditional shortcode to work. So what do they all mean? Let’s examine each of them in more detail.

  • action
    Describes the action to be taken and should always be set to “conditional”.
  • merge_tag
    The merge tag of the field whose value you’re assessing in your conditional logic statement.
  • condition
    The condition you’re evaluating. Accepted values include: is, isnot, greater_than, less_than, contains, starts_with, ends_with.
  • value
    The value you’re comparing against for the condition to be met.

The conditional shortcode may seem a little more difficult to understand than the embed shortcode, but once you start playing around with it, you’ll see that it’s simple to master. Let’s have a look at some helpful examples.

Conditional Shortcode Examples

In this example, we have a form asking the user to choose their favorite color. There are three options; “Blue”, “Green” and “Yellow”. Let’s suppose we want to show a customized confirmation message if the user chooses “Green”.

A checkbox field asking 'what's your favorite color'. The option 'green' is checked.

We can do this by constructing a conditional shortcode to check if the value of the checkbox field is “Green” and if it is, display a custom message. 

[gravityforms action="conditional" merge_tag={What\'s Your Favorite Color?:5} condition="is" value="Green"]
You chose green!
[/gravityforms]

Here’s what it looks like inside the confirmation message:

A Gravity Forms conditional shortcode inside the confirmation message text editor

If the user chooses green and submits the form, here’s what they’ll see:

You chose green!

Note: The content that you want to show/hide should be placed between the opening and closing shortcodes.

We can extend this example to account for other choices as well by adding another shortcode after the first one, like so:

Two Gravity Forms conditional shortcodes inside the confirmation message text editor

Now when a user chooses the color blue, they’ll see a message saying “You chose blue!”

When to Use It:

  1. You want to display a custom confirmation message based on information included in the user’s submission.
  2. You want to send a custom notification (to an admin or user) based on information included in the user’s submission.

Shortcodes Added by GravityView

GravityView is an add-on for Gravity Forms that allows you to display form data on the front end of your website. This allows you to build powerful web apps such as business directories and online marketplaces.

GravityView also adds a variety of new shortcodes to Gravity Forms with advanced functionality. We will cover this more in future posts!

Gravity Forms Shortcodes: Final Thoughts

Gravity Forms includes two powerful shortcodes that you can use to embed forms on your website and show/hide content based on conditional logic.

The embed shortcode includes the field_values parameter, allowing you to populate forms fields dynamically. This is helpful if you’re using the same form in multiple locations and need a way to differentiate between submissions.

On the other hand, the conditional shortcode is great for showing custom confirmation messages or notifications based on information submitted by the user.

Want to learn more about Gravity Forms? Become an expert by reading our ultimate guide on how to use Gravity Forms!