Product Support

Participants Database Field Group Tabs

Adds a tabbed interface to forms and single record displays. If you have a large number of fields, this plugin is essential!

This plugin requires the use of a special template for the Single, Signup, and Record shortcodes. If you are using a default template, the plugin does that for you when you place the tabs=true attribute into the shortcode as explained in the instructions.

If you are using a custom template, you must modify that template to use the tabbed interface. It’s not difficult, there is a tutorial for making those alterations here:

Using Field Group Tabs with a Custom Template

Product Setup

Once the add-on is activated, you will need to enable the interface in your shortcode by adding the “tabs” attribute like this:

[pdb_signup tabs="true"]

The tabbed interface is available to the signup form, the record edit form, and the single record display.

The tabbed interface is also optionally active in the admin on the single record edit page. There is a checkbox in the settings to enable this.

Product Settings

Tabs CSS

This is where the appearance of the tab interface is defined. If your theme has CSS support for jQuery UI Tabs, you can probably delete all or most of these rules and the tabs will match the theme of your site. Otherwise, you can use the rules in this setting to adjust the appearance to your needs. You are provided with a default CSS rule set to begin with.

Tab Content Height Mode

Determines how the height of the tab content is determined. You may need to just experiment with this setting to find the one that works best for your situation.

Tab Change Speed

Allows you to set the “cross-fade” time for the tab content to be shown.

Step Through Tabs in Signup Form

Step Through Tabs in Record Edit Form

When Field Group Tabs is used with a record edit or signup form, the user is presented with a “Next” button, which takes them to the next tab until the last tab is reached. At this point, the form may be submitted. Note there is no guarantee the user will visit every tab, but if you have required fields, the user will be forced to complete them. If this is unchecked, every tab in the form will have a “Submit” button.

Tabs in Admin

Enables the tabbed interface for the New Record/Record Edit page in the admin.


Can I use Field Group Tabs with a custom template?

Yes, you’ll need to alter your custom template to include the tabs HTML and code.

This is explained in this article: Using Field Group Tabs with a Custom Template

Why doesn't the HTML5 validation work in my tabbed form?

HTML5 client-side validation is provided by the user’s browser, and so a developer has limited control over how it behaves. The type of validation is convenient for small forms, but it can’t handle a situation where the field that needs correcting is not visible.

A Participants Database form that is using Field Group Tabs works by putting all the form fields on the page, and then hiding all of the groups except for the currently selected one.

When HTML5 client-side validation is used, the browser normally shows a text balloon pointing to the field the needs correcting. If that field is in a hidden group, the browser doesn’t know where to put it, so it either does not appear or is shown in the upper right corner of the browser window.

This is a confusing situation for users, so Field Group Tabs disables the HTML5 validation that is provided by the HTML5 Elements Add-On.

Support Discussions for Field Group Tabs

  • Hi Roland,

    I am still struggling with seeing the tabs. In page design mode everything works really well and I can see all the tabs with their content. When I preview/view the page it is blank. The mouse pointer changes as it moves across the page so I know there is something there but it is simply not visible. When not using the tabs the content displays fine. I have spent a lot of time setting up the signup form as it is a large form so I really do not want to abandon the plugin. Any ideas around where I can start looking for the problem? The installation is stock standard with no changes.

    • Undoubtedly, there is a javascript problem here. Open your browser developer tools and take a look at the console when loading the page, you’ll probably see the problem in there. It may be due to another plugin or possibly even the theme.

  • I am a very happy user of both the Tabs & the SignIn extensions.

    Would it be possible to put the signin areas in their own tab?

    This would greatly clean up the page, and leave only the tabs on there.

    Any suggestions?

    • Given some coding experience and a good understanding of how jQuery UI Tabs works, it could be done with a custom template. Outside of that, it can’t be done with the plugin as it is.

  • Hi Roland

    Is there a way to ensure that on opening a record, it always opens up on the first tab. At present, it seems to depend on what the last tab viewed was after a previous visit or even after visiting an unrelated record. Please try this:

    Then try others from the ‘Back to list’ link

    Many thanks

    • Yes, there is a cookie that is saved for the last tab viewed, but it is tied to the specific page, so it should not affect which tab is shown at first for a different page, and my tests confirm that.

      I don’t have an easy way to disable this feature, perhaps I need to add that as a preference.

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