Product Support

Participant Log

Adds a dynamic list of entries to each record. Log work hours, attendance records, list your collection, places you've been...adds a whole new dimension to your Participants Database record.

Product Setup

Global Log Configuration

In the Participants Database admin menu will be an item named “Participant Log.” On that page you will find the global settings for all logs under the “General Settings” tab. This is where you set things like the template (which controls the layout) and other general settings for all the logs. These settings can be individually overridden in the log field definition if needed.

Setting up the Log

The first thing to do to set up a log is to add a new “Participant Log” field to the Participants Database on the Manage Database Fields page. This new field is the “container” for the log, and in most ways is simply another field in the database. The General Settings tab of the plugin settings menu provides a way to add a new log. When this field is created, a new table is added to your WordPress database which will hold the data for the log.

It is important that the name of your log should be the name of what is stored in it. If, for example, the log is meant to record a person’s time spent volunteering, you might call it “Volunteer Hours.” If it is storing a record of class attendance, you could call it “Class Attendance” or “Attendance Record.” You can change the title that is displayed once it is set up, but the name of the log field can’t be changed, so it’s worth taking a minute to think about what you call it before committing the name. Once you set up the log field, you can configure what is recorded in each entry of the log you created.

log field structure diagram
Example setup for an attendance log

Configuring the Log

On the Participant Log admin page, you will see a tab for the log you created. Under that tab you can configure the log: you can set the name for an entry or entries which will help the user interface make more sense. There are more settings that determine what the frontend user can do and also how the log will be displayed in various contexts. This will be explained in more detail later.

Configuring Log Entry Fields

Each log can have as many fields as needed to hold whatever information you need to store in each entry. The user interface for that is the same used for managing the fields in the main database. You can add fields, and then configure each field as needed. They work the same as fields in the main database. Each entry field you create for the log adds a column to the log’s database table.

An example of a set of fields defined for a work log.

Field Visibility

Entry fields have a “Visibility” setting that determines the context in which the entry field will be shown. “Public” means the field will be shown in all contexts. “Private” means the field will only be shown to the owner of the record and administrators. “Admin” means the field will be visible to administrators only.

Searchable Fields

When list searching is enabled, only fields that are both visible and marked as searchable will be used to get search results. This is helpful to making searches more efficient and avoids spurious results.

Searchable log entry fields are also available in regular Participants Database list displays so that records with log entries that match the search can be found.

Sortable Fields

Fields that have this setting enabled will be shown in the header of log entry list displays so the log can be sorted by the value of that field.

Field Validation

Entry fields can be made required in the entry field’s configuration. The entry fields use “client side validation” which means the user’s browser will perform the validation and provide the feedback. This is going to look slightly different on every platform, there is little you can do about that, but it has the upside of working on all platforms and devices. To make a field required, you set the validation setting to “required.” You can add to the field validation configuration by using validation attributes.

The Admin Record Log Display

The log display on the record edit page in the admin shows a list of all the entries. The list is paginated, and the number of entries shown on each page of entries is determined in the general settings for the log, in the “Entries Per Page” setting.

The display for the log on the frontend is similar, but what controls are shown depends on the configuration.

Entry List Filtering or  Searching

There is a search input at the top, any text typed into the search input will be used to filter the list of entries. On the admin side, all the visible entry fields are included in the search. On the frontend, only fields marked as “searchable” will be included in the search.

Entry List Sorting

The entries can be sorted by clicking on the blue arrow icons seen in the top bar. The fields that can be used for sorting are configured in the log entry fields configurations: check the “Sortable” checkbox to configure the field to appear in the sorting bar.

Adding Entries

Once you have the entry fields set up, you can begin adding entries to the log. Entries can be added in the admin by going to the admin edit record page for the record you want to add log entries to. Find your log field on the edit record page and in the display for the log field, you will see a button with a plus sign for adding a new entry. Clicking that will bring up a form for entering the data for your log entry. Each entry may also be edited by clicking the pencil icon next to the entry. Clicking the pencil will open a form where the contents of the entry can be changed. Entries can be deleted individually by clicking the red on the entry line. When the “X” is clicked, you will be asked to confirm deleting the entry. There is no undo, deleted entries are gone forever unless you restore it from a backup.

Exporting/Importing Entries

In the admin record edit display (Edit Participant), the entry data for the record’s log can be exported as a CSV file. This works pretty much the same as exporting records from Participants Database: if you have used a filter, the export will only include the entries shown after the filter is applied. Records can also be imported with a CSV file. It’s also possible to import and export data for all records on the Participant Log admin page under the tab for the log.

The Frontend Log Entry Display

In single record and editable record displays on the frontend, the log is displayed as a list of entries. It is very similar to the display in the admin, only the ways that the user can interact with the list are controlled by settings. This is so you can choose whether the log can be added to by users, entries edited, deleted, etc. When the record is displayed using the [pdb_single] shortcode, a list of entries is shown using the template style chosen in the Participant Log settings under the general tab. The entry list in this display can be sorted and filtered. Only log entry fields that have “public” visibility will be shown in this display.

Display Templates

For the frontend displays of the log entry list, 3 basic templates can be chosen. Which one you choose is going to be determined by what you need to show, and what is going to work best for your users.

The Table template will put the log entries into a fixed-width grid so all the values will line up below a header row. This can be the clearest way to show the log entries, but you can only control the width of the table by controlling how many log entry fields you’re showing. Also, it isn’t great on small screens because the width is not determined by the device’s screen width, and so horizontal scrolling is usually required to see all the information.

The Responsive template takes the approach that every log entry field is a separate element with its own width determined by the title and data display. These elements can flow into whatever configuration will fit on the screen. With this template, all the data will be visible on any device, but it can be cluttered.

The Grid template is kindof a bend between the two. It is responsive in that the width of the log display is determined by the width of the device display, but instead of each entry field having its own width, the widths of the entry fields are controlled into columns. This can result in a more organized and easier to see display of the log entry data.

For any kind of responsive display, some adjustments of the CSS that controls the layout are often needed. These additional CSS rules can be placed in the Participants Database Custom CSS setting.

The Summary Display

Each log entry list display may optionally show a “summary” which is configurable to show an important value, such as the number of entries. By choosing a different sum type, the summary can also display other values. If the sum type is a numeric field, the summary will be a sum of the entry values for that field, such as for a work log that shows the number of hours worked. If the field is not a numeric field, the summary will show the number of records that contain a value for that field or if the field has a default value, the sum will show all the fields that have a value different from the default value.

When searches are performed on the list or when a date range is selected, the sum value is immediately updated to show the correct value. This also happens when entries are added, deleted or edited.

This sum value is also saved in the main database so that in Participants Database list displays, the list can be sorted by the summary value: for example you could rank volunteers according to the number of hours logged, or place the collector’s club member with the largest collection at the top.

Showing an Interactive Log Entry List

When the editable record is displayed using the [pdb_record] shortcode, the log entry display is sortable and filterable, but it is also possible to enable adding new entries, editing and deleting entries, and also import and/or export entries using a CSV file. The settings that control access to these features are in the Participant Log settings, under the General Settings tab. The user interactions in this display are very similar to what is possible in the admin. Log entry fields that have a visibility setting of “public” or “private” will be seen in this display.

Frontend Imports and Exports

The interactive log list display can also be configured to allow the user to import and/or export data to a record’s log. This is enabled under the global settings for the [pdb_record] log display.

Global Log Displays

It’s possible to display a list of log entries that are taken from all the log entries in all records. There is a special shortcode [pdb_log_list] that will show all the entries in the same way that the Participants Database list shortcode shows a list of Participants Database records. You can use shortcode filters, custom templates, search, sort, etc. to customize the display.

An example of the use of this shortcode would be a car club, where each member keeps a list of the cars in their collection. The global log display could be used to show all the cars in the club.

If you’ve got more than one Participant Log defined, you can tell the shortcode which one to use with the log_name attribute. Just give that attribute the name of your log, and it will show entries from that log.

Product Settings

General Settings

These settings will affect all logs, but it is possible to override them for a specific log in the participant log field definition attributes setting.

Enable Log Search: when checked, a search input will be shown above the display of log entries. This search input will search on visible fields only.

Enable Log Sorting: when checked, fields that are configured as “sortable” will show as sorting links in the header of the log entry list.

Enable Date Created Sorting: the “Date Created” field is an automatically set timestamp for every entry. This switch allows the user to sort the entries by this timestamp field.

Entries Per Page: sets the default number of entries to show in the list. If there are more entries in the log than this number, a pagination control will be shown.

Record Shortcode Settings

These are settings that pertain to showing the log list when using the [pdb_record] shortcode. The log list in this context is editable.

Record Shortcode Log Template: select the display template to use when showing the log entry list.

Enable Creating New Entries: when checked, allow the user to add entries.

Enable Editing Entries: allows the user to edit entries.

Enable Deleting Entries: allows the user to delete entries.

Allow Log Export: allows the user to export a CSV with the log entry data.

Allow Log Import: allows the user to import log entries in a CSV file.

“Slide In” Entry Controls: when checked, the log edit controls will be hidden until the user hovers over an entry. This is good for compact displays.

Highlight Color: lets you select the color to use when highlighting an entry while it is added or edited.

Single Shortcode Settings

These setting are used when showing the list of log entries when using the [pdb_single] shortcode.

Single Shortcode Log Template: selects the display template to use when showing the log entry list.

Individual Log Settings

For each log you have defined, there is a tab and under that tab are settings that are specific to that log.

Tabs for individual logs: “Work Log” and “Projects Completed”

Log Fields

In this section, the fields that are used for each entry of a log are defined. The interface is very similar to the one used on the Manage Database Fields page. There are a few differences, for example, there are no field groups (instead there is a “visibility” selector). And, like the Manage Database Fields interface, which options you can set depend on the type of field you have created. You can edit, delete and add log entry fields in this interface.

It is highly recommended that you define all the fields you need to use before adding entries to the log.

An example of a set of fields defined for a work log.
Configuring a log entry field

Log Options

For each log, a set of options is available:

Log Entry Name: name for a single entry.

Log Entry Name Plural: name for several entries.

No Entries Message: message to show when a log has no entries.

Search Field Placeholder: when the search input is shown, this placeholder string will serve as a prompt for the user.

Entry Image Height: the nominal image height for images uploaded to a log entry. The aspect ratio will be preserved in most cases.

Entry Dates

These settings are for configuring how entries are dated.

Primary Date Field: this allows you to select a log entry field to use as the date for the entry. It defaults to the timestamp that is set when the entry is created. You would use this in the case of something like a list of events where the date of the event is more important than the date the entry was created. This date field will be used to sort the entries chronologically.

Show Log Entry Timestamp: every entry has a timestamp, this preference lets you make that timestamp visible.

Timestamp Title: if you are showing the timestamp, this is how it will be labeled.

Date Range Filter

It is possible to filter entries by date range, these settings configure the date range interface.

Enable the Date Range Filter: check this to turn on the date range control for the log.

Date Range Filter Heading Text: title for the date range control. Leave blank for no title.

Date Range Filter Button Text: text for the button that performs the date range filtering.

Entry Sum Display

The “entry sum” is a feature of the log where a configurable sum is shown. The default is to show the number of entries, but if there is a numeric field in the log entries, the entry sum can show a sum of those values. For example, in a work log, it can show the number of hours worked.

Show Entry Sum in Record Displays: this is to enable a summary display just above the list of entries.

Sum Type: this is where you would configure what is summed.

Sum Display Template: this gives you a way to control how the sum is displayed. There are a number of “value tags” you can use to show dynamic values from the log in the summary display.


Is it possible to override the global setting in individual logs?

Yes, this happens in the log field definition on the Manage Database Fields page in the main plugin. You add your override to the “attributes” for example to override the global setting and allow adding entries on the frontend:


Here is a list of the global settings with the proper name to use in the attribute:

Setting attribute name
Enable Log Search enable_log_search
Enable Log Sorting enable_log_sorting
Entries Per Page entry_list_limit
Record Shortcode Log Template record_module_log_template
Enable Creating New Entries allow_frontend_add
Enable Editing Entries allow_frontend_edit
Enable Deleting Entries allow_frontend_delete
Allow Log Export allow_export
Allow Log Import allow_import
“Slide In” Entry Controls hide_entry_controls
Highlight Color highlight_color
Single Shortcode Log Template single_module_log_template

Support Discussions for Participant Log

  • ADMIN fields are being shown to the member.
    I have a comments text area box for admin to make notes about members. It is set as READ ONLY, ADMIN. However, it shows to the member (as a read-only field).

    • Well, I sure hope all these issues are related…this is not something I’m seeing in my tests here, so I’m not sure what the issue is in this case. Caching?

  • Table format display is broken:
    1) Fields are not listed correctly in the display table. The log entries headings are one column to the right of the data. The first heading cell is blank, and all subsequent headings are one column to the right of the data. There is a “random” number appearing above the table.
    2) Only the most recent entry is listed in the table.
    Everything works fine in Responsive or Grid, but (unfortunately) I need TABLE format.

    • Can you be more specific about the circumstances where you see the problem? Is this on the frontend? What is the shortcode?

      You may need to send me a link so I can see it…these issues are not showing up in my tests here.

  • Cannot remember selected option from drop-down.
    I have a drop down option in the log entry system. However, whenever admin or the member go to edit the log entry, whatever has been recorded for this drop-down is lost. The field appears on screen cleared, and (since it is a required item) forces a new selection. My initial drop-down list contained “: ” in items, so I thought that may be a problem, and removed it. No change.
    A selection is accurately recorded when made, but lost again when the record is open for editing.
    In case any of the characters in the dropdown are causing problems, here is the complete set from the OPTIONS item:

    25 pts (4 hours – ½ day), 30 pts (5-6 hours), 50 pts (7-8 hours – 1 full day), 75 pts (11-12 hours – 1.5 days), 100 pts (14-16 hours – 2 full days)

    • It is my recommendation that you use such vaues as “titles” and not as the stored values for the field… for example, using the values you supplied:

      25 pts (4 hours – ½ day)::25, 30 pts (5-6 hours)::30, 50 pts (7-8 hours – 1 full day)::50, 75 pts (11-12 hours – 1.5 days)::75, 100 pts (14-16 hours – 2 full days)::100

      set up like that, the field will store only the numeric value in the database. There isn’t anything in your values that is known to cause a problem, but this simplifies things on the data end, and also opens things up for more flexibility in the UI: you can change the titles of your dropdown values without getting out of sync with the db.

      As the the bug you are seeing, I don’t see that in my tests here, so there is something in your particular environment that is causing problems. Check my answer to your previous comment.

  • Editing a log entry by a user clears numeric fields filled in by admin. My system allows members to claim a number of CPD points. They often exaggerate, so admin needs to review their request and enter a READ-ONLY numeric field listing how many points will be actually awarded, which is visible to the member. However, if the member then edits that log entry, such as adding additional description, it clears the Admin Read-only numeric field. I have tried setting different options for this field, such as private or public, and tried on different browsers. However, there is also an Admin text field for notes, which is never public or private, which is not cleared on member editing.

    • Hi Brandt,

      I’m unable to duplicate the problem here, so I’m wondering what’s different about your setup.

      The first thing that comes to mind is page caching. Make sure you don’t have page caching active on any pages where you’re interacting with Participants Database.

      The second thing to check is the javascript, the Participant Log does nearly everything on the frontend with javascript, and so if there are any conflicts with other javascript on the same page there will be problems. Open your developer tools to the console tab and check for any javascipt errors that might be coming in when interacting with the log.

  • Hi.

    I don’t know whether this issue is related to this add-on but let me ask.

    While I was playing with Participants add-on to make my database two dimensional, I decided to change some of my fields’ names to represent better the contents of the fields, instead of using the default first_name, last_name, etc. Since I already had 20 something records, instead of inputting all the records again, I opened the sql database table using the host provider’s db access tool(phpMyAdmin) and changed the default field names to something that I like. After this, listing the records works all right and the search does function well but I don’t see the link to records details in the field of names(a yarn name to be specific). I checked at the private IDs of the records and they are the same as before. Just the link is gone.

    What went wrong?

    • If you rename fields, then you also need to make sure the plugin settings that used the old names are updated. For example, the setting that determines which field get the single record link.

      • Thanks, Roland. I found where it went wrong. The link is back now.

  • Hello,

    Thanks to this add-on, I think I’m able to allow my users to add their reviews of specific yarns that they search for in a yarns database which I’m building using your plug-in. Function-wise, it seems to be working okay at the moment but I have a couple of questions:

    I use the custom output template code that you share on your site, There, I’m supposed to create a place holder for containing the “Edit Link”, which I did. I also added the field into the “Manage Database Fields” but for some reason, when I list the records with the “Edit Link” field using pdb_record, only the first record shows the clickable “Edit” default value, while all the others show the actual URL, not the default value “Edit”. Those links are still clickable but they don’t look good and could raise a security issue. Anything that I did wrong here?

    Secondly, once one of the ‘edit’ links above is clicked, I see ‘Add new [field_name]’, button and the adding/editing records defined in the “Participants Log” works well. However, I also see a button of “Save Changes” and I’m wondering what this does. Without clicking the “Save Changes” button, I see no problem with adding and editing the records. Am I using this wrong?


    • I’m testing the list setup you describe and I’m not seeing this problem. My guess is that you’re altering the default value of the field in the custom template, which would normally be the default value setting in the field definition.

      On the page you link to, this is the record edit page, and so the “Save Changes” button is for saving the overall record. The participant log doesn’t need that in order to save an entry, but the log is just one field on all the fields of the record, so the “Save Changes” button is for saving all those other fields. Now, if you are not showing any other fields, you don’t need that button, so I suggest you use a little custom CSS to hide it.

      • Hi,

        I’m still having the same problem and wondering whether this is due to the fact that I use your plug-in and add-ons on my staging server whose URL starts with staging?.my_domain, instead of http://www.my_domain. To your comment: “My guess is that you’re altering the default value of the field in the custom template, which would normally be the default value setting in the field definition.”, I didn’t alter the default value or anything in the code.

        On another note, I notice that pdb_list shows, in the listings, the title of the radio button fields on top of the buttons. For the listings, you already have the labels on the left for each of the fields and I think it’s a case of duplication for those radio button fields. Is there a reason for this?

        • I’d love to help, but I can’t find in the thread what problem you’re referring to here.

          For your second question, I don’t understand, the list display won’t show radio buttons. Can you provide a screenshot?

        • Let me give you the screenshots via a reply to the email with your comment link that I received from I don’t see a button to attach a screenshot in this form.

  • Hello, I have this plugin and so far everything is working great except for the export participant log option, do you have any ideas as to why this may not be working – its a feature that I need or the plugin becomes useless to me, unfortunately.

    • Can you provide more detail on what you did and how it is failing for you?

      • I have added some log entries and I want to download the information to use in a spreadsheet. In the admin section when I click on the ‘Export’ button it loads a yellow box with the name of a CSV file in it and there is a ‘download CSV’ button. I click the button and the yellow box disappears but nothing downloads.

        Any ideas what the problem could be?

        • I don’t know specifically what went wrong there, but the typical reason for a failure like that is a javascript error caused by another plugin. You can try it on another browser, that may help. Opening your browser developer tools and checking the console when you try to download can help explain what’s going wrong.

          Are you on the frontend or backend?

      • Sorry, there is no reply link under your last comment so I replied to this one…

        I am on the backend and I have looked at the console it does not show any errors or anything.

        I don’t know what else to try :(

        • Try a different browser? I dont know, it’s probably not an error so much as something blocking the download…I don’t see the problem here, so I’m guessing.

          If you feel like emailing me a login, I’ll take a look:

      • Thank you for your kind offer.

        I have emailed you some login details so you can take a look.

        • OK, what’s happening is the global setting “Allow Log Export” was not set. It’s not really supposed to work like that, an administrator should be able to download a CSV either way, but I need to issue an update to fix that. You can keep that checked for now (I set it for you), when the next update comes in, you can uncheck it if you want.

      • Thank you so much :)

        I’m so glad you fixed it

  • Perhaps it is actually a WordPress problem, but I just attempted to upload the log plug-in and received the message below. In case it’s relevant, I paid by Paypal, but I had to change my email address when I logged into Paypal. Paypal was happy and the money was deducted from my account. I am just wondering if it possibly caused a mismatch on the software package. In any case, when I decompressed the file, it isn’t empty.

    Installing Plugin from uploaded file:
    Unpacking the package…

    Installing the plugin…

    The package could not be installed. No valid plugins were found.

    Plugin installation failed.

    Return to Plugin Installer

    • I’m very sorry about the mixup. I uploaded a new file, please try the download again.

  • hello,I pay for Participant Log, but cannot download zip file。。。

  • Hello. I have purchased the Email Templates and Log extensions. How can the template display data from the logs in a nice way?

    I was able to get a dump of the tag list so I could see what was available, but the log data is HTML rather in a usable format.

    Is there a special code to use, or … ? How can I get at the data in the logs?

    Thank you very much.


    • I’m sorry I don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish. The log entries are shown the the single record view ([pdb_single]) as one of the fields. The log field will show the list of entries for that record. There are three templates available to display the data, this is set in the Participant Log general settings. The display is a basic framework, you may need to make some adjustments to get the final appearance you want.

      It is possible to download log data as a CSV, either on the Participant Log settings page under the tab for the log you want to download (all records). Log entry data for an individual record can be downloaded on the record edit page for the record.

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