Participants Database 1.5 WordPress Plugin

Call for Beta Testers!

Release of version 1.6 is coming, with new features & many code improvements.

I need beta testers, so if you have an install of Participants Database in a non-critical application and want to run it through it’s paces for me, email me.

what’s new in 1.5

There’s lots of improvements under the hood, and a list of new and better user features too:

Plugin Overview

This WordPress plugin is for the purpose of creating a database for use in a WordPress site. It is primarily intended as a way to manage information pertaining to people such as the members of a club or team, volunteers, students, anything like that. It gives you the ability to allow people to create and edit their own record while additional information can be managed by administrators or managers. The plugin may also be used as the basis for an index, directory or catalog.

>> Quick Setup Guide

The database is made up of fields, and each field may be one of several types that are uniquely suited to store a particular kind of information. These fields can also be divided into groups to help organize the information. Fields can also be provided with help text to assist users in providing the information.

Please read the documentation fully, as this is a complex plugin that can be used in a lot of different ways.

I have created a page that gives a step-by-step method for setting up a typical application of the plugin. I suggest you begin with that, it will help you understand how the plugin works and also give you a working baseline so you know the plugin works on your site. You can make your modifications to the plugin functionality from there.

[email protected]

Next… Using The Participants Database Plugin


Hi Roland

We have been using the plugin for a while but the form has stopped appearing on the website recently. Tried deactivating and reactivating, and disabling all the other plugins, but for some reason we just get a Submit button and no fields.

The fields look ok and haven’t been changed as far as I can tell since they last worked. This is what the source code on the signup page looks like.

Can you advise where we should look next?

Several fields are set to

by Gary on November 27, 2014 at 4:16 am. Reply #


Well, in a situation like this it’s important to identify what changed on the site: a new plugin? some redesign work? a theme update? That will help you identify the source of the problem. This isn’t something the plugin will do on it’s own, of course.

Have you looked at the HTML to see if the content is somehow hidden?

by Roland on November 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm. Reply #

Thanks for the confirmation. The plugin is than for me unusable. Could you extend the plugin with a dropdown field and what are the costs there for?

by Ger on November 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm. Reply #

Ger, I can provide you with a custom plugin that will give you a dropdown search…but I am unavailable until after December 5.

by Roland on November 22, 2014 at 11:55 am. Reply #

Thanks Roland, No Problem 5 december.

by Ger on November 22, 2014 at 10:59 pm. Reply #

I have in the adm page a field “Plaats crash” with a dropdownlist
Noordzee::Noordzee, Waddenzee::Waddenzee

When I ad a new record there is also a dropdownlist where I can select those items. But on the frontpage ([pdb_search target_page="records"]) there is no dropdownlist

by Ger on November 20, 2014 at 9:05 am. Reply #

A dropdown field appears in the search as a plain text field, not a dropdown field.

by Roland on November 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm. Reply #

Hello I made a page with this shortcodes:

[pdb_list filter="id=0"]

I expect than a searchform and further nothing. But I see the whole database. Only after searching i see only the search-results.

Another question, is i true that the dropdownlist is not working in the frontend search form?

by Ger on November 20, 2014 at 6:42 am. Reply #

You don’t need to use the pdb_search shortcode if you have the list shortcode on the same page…just add search=true to the list shortcode. Also, the suppress attribute is a better way to keep the list from showing until a search is performed.

[pdb_list search=true suppress=true]

I don’t know of any problem with the search field dropdown. What is the problem you’re seeing?

by Roland on November 20, 2014 at 8:40 am. Reply #

Hi Roland,

I’m trying to increase the font size of the field labels and the help text. I’m also using a custom template for layout. I tried using this css in the custom css area regrettably with no effect.
#top label {

Is the template overriding this or am I using the wrong element. Also, what is the element name of the help text?


by Jason Roberts on November 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm. Reply #

Hi Jason,

The best way to diagnose situations like this is to use your browser’s developer tools. Use the inspector to see all the CSS rules that are affecting your text. You’ll be able to see which rule is setting the font size. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to create a selector that will override it. I would recommend you not use #top, but stick to selectors that are specific to the application such as .pdb-signup so that your new rules won’t affect other elements inadvertently. So, for instance, if the selector that is currently setting the font size is body #content make your selector more specific by adding one or two terms to that selector: body #content .pdb-signup

by Roland on November 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm. Reply #


I’m using WP Participants Database plugin in a WordPress website and I have tried to rewrite:


but it doesn’t change the ugly url into a pretty one.
My last RewriteRule does not work.
Could you please tell me where is the problem?
Thank you for answering my question!

My .htaccess is the one below:

SetEnv no-gzip dont-vary
# Turn mod_rewrite on
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ – [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*\.php)$ $2 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

RewriteRule ^produse/piese-schimb-utilaje-agricole/([0-9]+)/?$ ^produse/piese-schimb-utilaje-agricole/?listpage=$1&search_field=none&value=&operator=LIKE&sortBy=denumire&ascdesc=asc&submit=&sortstring=denumire&orderstring=asc#participants-list [NC,L]

by Ioan on November 7, 2014 at 2:47 am. Reply #

I’m sorry, this really isn’t my area of expertise. I did not realize you were attempting something so complex! You may want to consider another approach.

by Roland on November 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm. Reply #

Perfect! All working now. Thank you so much for the support!

by Boris R on October 31, 2014 at 3:20 am. Reply #

Hi Roland,

I am using Participants Database and I love what you have done – thank you!
Can I convert the datetime stamp in DD/MM/YYYY and search by date_added in this format?
Can you help-me?
Gaefke, Paulo Roberto

by Gaefke Paulo Roberto on October 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm. Reply #

It’s not practical to search by timestamp because it needs to match the time as well as the date.

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm. Reply #

But, Can I formated the date in LIST Participants? how in PHP ex:
DATE_FORMAT(DT_Timestamp, ‘%d/%m/%Y’) as ‘TIMESTAMP’

by Paulo Roberto Gaefke on October 31, 2014 at 3:55 pm. Reply #

In the participant list, timestamps are formatted using the general date format defined in your WordPress settings.

by Roland on November 1, 2014 at 7:30 am. #

Hi Roland,
I read with interest your tutorial on templates. I customized one in order to display my form fields in more than one column, and named it pdp-signup-volunteers.php. I know it should work since it works on another theme using PDB.

I created a directory called “templates” in my child theme and placed the template in there. I am using the following shortcode to display it on the page

[pdb_signup groups="main,skillsinterests"template="volunteers"]

Needless to say,(since I’m writing to you) it’s not working for me. The form is continues to display in one column only, and its displaying all my field groups not just those named in the shortcode.

What CSS would you recommend to accomplish such a thing?
What else am I missing? Thanks!


by Jason Roberts on October 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm. Reply #

Usually the problem in in the shortcode syntax. Look closely for errors, make sure there are spaces separating all the attributes.

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm. Reply #

Thanks Roland, that did the trick.

by Jason Roberts on October 31, 2014 at 10:01 am. Reply #

We would like to be beta testers for Version 1.6. We have several other sites and one is a “sandbox” with only Participants Database

by Richard Malavenda on October 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm. Reply #

Instructions for setting up the beta test are on this page:

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm. Reply #

I guess I’ll try to delete the plugin completely, then download and install it again. Hopefully that will fix any linking problem it may have to the database.

by Boris on October 30, 2014 at 11:53 am. Reply #

Hi Roland,

What’s the best way to delete a test database from pdb? thanks,


by Jason Roberts on October 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm. Reply #

If you have too many test records to delete on the Manage Database Fields page (you can check them then delete them there) you can open the database in an editor like PHPMyAdmin and delete all the rows from the participants_database table. Leave the other two tables alone.

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 9:47 am. Reply #

The form that is produced is not Responsive.
Is there a way to make it responsive?


by Danny on October 29, 2014 at 4:40 am. Reply #

Hi Danny,

Try using the “bootstrap” template:

[pdb_signup template=bootstrap]

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 9:45 am. Reply #

I have the exact same problem as Ziggy – getting the same error messages.

‘Warning: array_merge() [function.array-merge]: Argument #1 is not an array in /homepages/

/wp-content/plugins/participants-database/participants-database.php on line 1664′

Please help!

by Boris on October 24, 2014 at 5:02 am. Reply #

It’s not an error, just a warning that happens if no participant record has been selected to display.

by Roland on October 24, 2014 at 7:13 am. Reply #

I’m getting the message when filling out the form as a participant. I don’t receive the confirmation email, and the website owner does not receive the information about the participant.

by Boris R on October 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm. Reply #

Did you edit the database? This can happen if the database has been altered outside of the plugin, so it is out of sync.

by Roland on October 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm. Reply #

No I have never altered the database. All I’ve been doing is updating the plugins and WordPress itself every once in a while.

by Boris on October 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm. #

OK, well I can’t say what the problem is exactly, but it means that for some reason the “session” variable is not available. The plugin relies on this to know the ID of the new record. You may try changing the “Use PHP Sessions” setting under the advanced tab.

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 9:52 am. #

Hi Roland
I have deleted and reinstalled the plugin. All seemed to be working fine at first, no code message, but then I tested the form as a volunteer and the confirmation email reads “You may complete your registration with additional information or update your information by visiting this private link at any time: .” No private link shows, though, so the volunteers cannot add their information. What could be missing this time?

by Boris R on October 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm. #

You have to configure the Participant Record Page” in the settings under the Record Form tab.

by Roland on October 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm. #

Hi Roland,
I use the Participants Database Plugin on my site for users to Search by Song Artist or Song Title & I have to say it’s awesome!
I’ve been struggling for a while now. It may be easy for you to solve so I have 1 question:
I want to have the focus on the search box field automatically when page is loaded. Example when you go to: the cursor is automatically in the search box field.
How can this be achieved with your Plugin?

by Blair on October 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Reply #


This has to be done with javascript. You can place come something like this (you may have to change it to work for you) in your template.

jQuery( document ).ready(function($) {

by Roland on October 21, 2014 at 6:59 am. Reply #

Thanks for the help Roland. I’ve been at this for quite some time. Should I change the document name or the Value? or do I leave what you suggested as is.

by Blair on October 21, 2014 at 8:06 am. Reply #

I’m glad I found this plugin. It has been very useful!

My question is: Is it possible to restrict the number of selections in a multiselect field? I have a note that people should select up to 3 choices, but many are selecting more.


by Ade on October 16, 2014 at 11:27 am. Reply #

This has to be done using some custom javascript. There isn’t any standard way to limit the choices like that.

Another, less technical option would be to create 3 separate single-choice fields.

by Roland on October 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm. Reply #

Yo man i just wrote you an email .. i would LOVE to use this latest version of participants data base and get some support from you .. just let me know . as i explained in email , i wish to use it as a way to develop health and social care databases in underdeveloped parts of the world, where government and non-government organisations can contribute to get information about who’s doing what on the ground .. could you let me know if you think pdb would be appropriate for this and recommend any front -end themes that would look hot with it ?? Thanks Ron Best regards from Rob

by Robert Fitzpatrick on October 15, 2014 at 2:58 am. Reply #

Glad you’re finding it useful. Let me know when you have a specific question about the plugin.

by Roland on October 15, 2014 at 7:29 am. Reply #

Is it possible to add subdirectory details to an image link on an imported record? For example, in Settings > General Settings > File Upload Location, I have set to /Databases which is relative to the WordPress root. On one of the records I want to upload I have specified the image file as /GroupRecords/grpA/nameoffile.jpg.
I thought when the record was called it would point to /Databases/GroupRecords/grpA/nameoffile.jpg for both the thumbnail and full size image.
Is what I am trying to do not possible, or do you have a recommended way around what I am trying to accomplish?

Thanks in advance……..Floyd

by Floyd on October 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm. Reply #

Hi Floyd,

I haven’t built in any way to modify the upload directory on a per-record basis. You’ll have to modify the core code to get a capability like this.

by Roland on October 15, 2014 at 7:28 am. Reply #

Thanks. I’ll approach it the way you suggest, combining the lists, with the additional identifier or type to distinguish each type of user.

by Jason Roberts on October 12, 2014 at 11:33 am. Reply #

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