The Form Designer is where you design and build forms.
There are three ways to get to the Form Designer:
- From the Lists Manager, either create a new list by clicking New List, or edit a pre-existing list's form by clicking on the Edit in Form Designer button on the right side of the list's info pane.
- From the Campaign Builder, add a new Form Widget and click Create New Entry Source.
Then, after adding a name for your new list and any test entries or tags, click Create and Continue to Form Designer.
- If you have already created a form, click on the Form Widget in your Campaign Builder, then click the Design Form button.
The Form Designer is separated into three columns. The left-hand column shows the Add Fields section, which displays a list of fields to add to the form.
The middle column is the Edit Fields section, which shows you a live preview of the form. Click on a field in the live preview to edit the content of the field; also, a delete button (the red trashcan icon) will appear attached to the right side.
The right-hand column shows the Form Settings (if no field is selected) and the Field Settings (when a field is selected). This is where you'll make changes to the form and individual fields.
At the top of the designer are tabs for setting up Entry Restrictions, Refer-A-Friend, Instant Win, Integrations, and Alerts.
To add a field, click its name in the Add Fields tab. You can only add each Standard Field once to a form, but you can add each Custom Field multiple times on the same form. When you add a field, it will appear at the bottom of the live preview (above the Enter button) in the center.
To rearrange the order of fields, click and drag a field in the live preview to move it up or down.
Click on a field you've added in the live preview, and a red delete button will appear attached to the right. To edit any of the text of the field (labels, placeholder text, etc.), click on that content and you'll be able to edit it right in the live preview. Other field options will appear in the right column once you've clicked on a field to edit it. The following is a list of options that are available when editing most fields, but not all of them.
Some fields have the ability to appear on one line or multiple; just click the appropriate button (1 Line, 2 Lines, etc.) for the amount of space you'd like the widget to occupy.
The labels are the names of the fields as they will appear on the form. You can change these names by entering your own text in the text box or by editing them in the live preview pane.
Placeholders are text that appears in the field before your entrants type into it - you can use them instead of field labels, or you can use them to add examples of what type of information to input into the field.
Instructions appear below the field when a user clicks on it. Use the User Instructions field to provide extra clarification to the field as far as what's needed.
Flip the toggle to Yes to make the field mandatory for a user to be able to submit the form.
There are several types of error messages you can configure, including: the "Incomplete Field" error message, the default error message, and the repeat entry error message. If you do not configure these fields, ShortStack inserts basic error messages for you.
Minimum and Maximum # Characters
Several text fields let you enter minimum and maximum character limits. The largest number of characters any ShortStack field will accept is 50,000. The character limit will display when the field has focus, unless turned off in the Style Panel.
Use the Field Points field to reward entrants for entering more information in their submissions. Any number you enter here will be the number of points - or chances to win - the entrant receives for filling out this field. See the Points Per Field help doc for more information.
The display section will contain options to customize the display of your field, including Field Alignment and Field Size (Desktop only).
Extra CSS Classes
Use the Extra CSS Classes field to add CSS classes that you can later target in your campaign’s CSS.
- Name: Displays a field for entering a first and last name. Can be shown in Voting Widgets with the option to abbreviate one or both values. See the Entry Display Widget help doc for more information.
- Email: Will accept a properly formatted email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), with options for limiting repeat entries.
- Login: This field is used to limit duplicate entries, but only compatible with campaigns published to Facebook, or to the web with Facebook features integrated. It requires the user to "Log in with Facebook" so that their Facebook ID can be stored in the database.
- Address: Displays a standard text box for the first address line.
- Address 2: Displays a standard text box for the second address line.
- City, State, Zip: Displays fields for entering the city, state, and zip code. These labels can be customized.
- Country: Displays a drop-down menu for selecting a country.
- Phone: Displays a standard text field. You can determine the minimum and maximum number of digits allowed. The user is free to enter non-numeric characters.
- Age: Displays a text field that will only accept a whole number. You can determine the range of values that are acceptable.
- Agree to Terms: Displays a checkbox so that the user can agree to your terms.
- Upload: The Upload field lets users add an image, video, pdf, or embedded social media post to their submission. There are various methods available for the uploaded media:
- From Computer: Lets the user pick a file (image, video, or pdf file) from his or her computer or mobile device.
- From Social Media: Lets the user pick from an existing post on his or her social media; options include Instagram and TikTok.
- From a Video Site: Lets the user select from a video they've already published to YouTube or Vimeo.
Note: Acceptable file types are jpg/jpeg, gif, png, pdf, and almost all video file types.
- From Computer: Lets the user pick a file (image, video, or pdf file) from his or her computer or mobile device.
- Entry Title: Usually used as a title field for an entry. Appears in the Voting Widget by default.
- Entry Description: Usually used as a description field for an entry. Appears in the Voting Widget by default.
- Code Redemption: Allows you to tie a code list to your form, preventing anyone from submitting your form unless they have one of the codes from your list.
- Category: Allows you to set up multiple categories; your entrants would select which category their entry should belong to, and that information is stored on their entry.
- Text Field: Displays a standard text box.
- Text Area: A multi-line field designed for long blocks of text. The Entry Description field may be a better choice because it appears in the Voting Widget by default.
- Checkbox: Displays a standard check box.
- Date: Adds a group of drop-down fields for entering a month, day, and year.
- List: Can be used to display either a drop-down menu or a list of radio buttons. You can customize the number of options and the options themselves. Check the Allow Multiple Selections box to allow users to hold down the Control/Command key and select two or more options from the list.
- URL: Displays a standard text field. When displayed in the Voting Widget, this field becomes clickable. When accessed, it opens the URL in a new browser window.
- Hidden: Hidden fields allow you to embed pre-defined values in your form. One possible use of this field is to set a source code to help you track where the list entry came from.
- Rich Text: The Rich Text field lets you add text anywhere inside the form.
- Image: The Image field lets you add an image to your form.
The Form Settings are displayed in the right-hand column; if specific field settings are showing there instead, you can get back to the Form Settings by clicking on the name of the form in the top-left of the Form Designer.
This is where you can edit the name of the form after it has been created. There's also a link directly below that will take you directly to the Entries Manager for any entries collected by this form.
This area shows you any campaigns that are linked to this particular form - allowing you to see at a glance if this particular form is being used to collect entries in more than one place. You can click on the name of a particular campaign to be taken to that campaign in the Campaign Builder.
If the form is linked to any emails using our email marketing feature, the emails will be listed in this section.
This tab contains controls for how many times an individual can submit their information using your form. You can restrict repeat entries based on the email and/or login fields.
Restrict Entries By
When you create a new form, by default, each of these fields is configured to reject duplicate entries. To turn off restriction by email address, set the toggle to No. If you'd like to allow multiple entries (or timed availability of entering), click on one entry only and choose a different selection from the dropdown.
To be able to restrict by login, add a login field, then set the Login (Mobile or Facebook) toggle to Yes.
Maximum Number of Form Entries
To enable a maximum entry limit, set the toggle to Yes. Add a number to the Maximum number of entries box to set a maximum number of entries the list will accept (for instance, if you're giving away 20 t-shirts to the first 20 entrants, you'd set this number to 20.)
Once the limit is reached, all subsequent entries are discarded and the message you enter in the Entry limit has been reached message field will be displayed displayed below the Enter button in your form.
Note: This feature limits the total number of entries into the list. If you are using one list in multiple Form Widgets, entries from all Form Widgets will be counted toward the limit.
Setting this toggle to Yes enables a CAPTCHA that must be completed to submit your form; this can dissuade bots and illegitimate entries. Below the toggle is a sensitivity slider; if you run into entrants having trouble with the CAPTCHA, you can slide that to the left to make the CAPTCHA a little bit more lenient.
Refer-a-Friend is now set up in the Form Widget's settings; under the tab in the Form Designer, you'll just see a message informing you of this.
Keep an eye out for this section in the widget settings of your Form Widget:
Check out this help doc for additional setup help.
Clicking this tab will open a popup where you can activate and set up the Instant Win feature for your form.
Set the Enable Instant Win toggle to Yes to activate the Instant Win feature. Using this feature, you can have winners selected at random and the winning entrants will know they've won as soon as they submit the completed form.
More information about setting up Instant Win is available in the Instant Win help doc.
Toggle your integrations on or off in this tab.
If you want to have data submitted to your form automatically passed on to a third-party service like MailChimp, or via webhook using a platform like Zapier, using these toggles would be the first step to setting those up.
You can find detailed information on setting up integrations in our Form Integrations help doc.
Automatic email alerts upon form submission are set up using the Alerts tab.
The top fields allow you to set where you'd like the alerts emailed to. The email address associated with your ShortStack account will automatically populate the Email alerts to field when you create the form. It's a good idea to double-check this field to make sure the address is correct. You can enter up to three email addresses, each separated by a comma, in this field. In addition, you can set an email from address if needed, an email subject line, and - if you're running a contest for a client in a different time zone - the time zone where the entries are being submitted.
Set the Automatically approve entries toggle to Yes to mark all newly submitted entries as Approved. This will make the entries show up in the Voting Widget without you having to approve them manually. You will still be able to manually un-approve entries after they’ve been submitted.
Setting the Include approval link in alert toggle to Yes adds a link to your email alert for each entry that allows you to approve the entry by clicking the link, without having to log into ShortStack.
The link comes from the pgtb.me domain. When clicked, it shows a simple text-only notification that the entry has been approved. No part of this process reveals that the emails are coming from ShortStack, so that agencies and freelancers can choose to have these emails sent to clients.
If you want to use a custom alert email template, set the toggle in this section to Yes. Additional information about custom email alerts can be found in our Customizing Admin Entry Alerts doc.
Note: Facebook requires all Pages that are running contests to include a disclaimer that absolves Facebook of all responsibility or association with the contest. Use a text area field to enter your own disclaimer.
If you are not running your contest on a Facebook application, it is still advised to include a disclaimer.