posted Sunday, August 3rd, 2008
Cforms II is a WordPress plugin which makes it easy for you to add a contact form to your website.
Once you install and activate the plugin, don’t get intimidated by the dozens of options available. It is pretty easy to set up. Click on CForms from your WP admin menu.
Once you have finished with the form above scroll down to the settings. These are specific to the chosen form so make sure you have selected the correct one.
The first few options relate to form specific text and messages that need to be shown on your contact form (for example what text you want on your submit button). You can change them if you want but the default values are fine, too.
These are the values you might want to change. Message summaries comprise of both error messages and form submission success or failure messages. Choose whether to display this above or below your form. I personally suggest above the form.
Fancy error messages add certain styling to the fields that are showing errors. You can change this styling but the default is pink.
This was one way of highlighting the fields giving errors. Another is to add the error message along with each field. Checking Embedded Custom Error Messages will do the trick.
Next set the limit on how many form submissions your visitor can make.
You don’t need to deal with the redirection fields unless you want your visitors to be redirected to a specific page after filling the form.
Click on WP Comment Feature. It is the sixth option.
Select ‘Enable this form to optionally (user determined) act as a WP comment form’
Five new comment specific fields are added to your form once you do this.
Now go to form preset and choose the Comment Form preset. If you want you can add a captcha or Q&A verification field to deter spammers.
<? insert_cform('comments'); ?>
in place of the regular comment form in your comments.php file. Replace comments with the name you choose for your comment form.
Your visitors should now be able to use the Cforms comment form to post a comment or send you a note.
If you have AJAX enabled on this form, then know that the page will not re-load once a comment has been added. Therefore the commentator will not see the comment styling you have added to comments.php until the page re-loads.
You can change the styling that gets shown until the page gets refreshed under the main menu for Global Settings. Choose ‘WP Comment Feature Settings’ and make changes to ‘New comment HTML template’
Since this is a very widely used plugin, let me explain how you can add the the checkbox to subscribe to your Cforms comment form.
Select ‘Core Form Admin / Email Options’ and check the ‘Use custom input field NAMES & ID’s’.
This will enable you to add custom fields with their own specific values, id’s and names.
The subscribe to comments plugin needs a very specific checkbox with value, id and name equal to subscribe.
Now go up to your form and add a field. Here’s what you need to add to field name:
[id:subscribe]#Subscribe To Comments|subscribe
Let me explain. The [id:subscribe] adds subscribe as the name and id in the input tag for this checkbox. #Subscribe To Comments can be changed to whatever you want to display on your contact form next to the checkbox. Adding |subscribe adds subscribe as the value for the checkbox.
Note: You will have to turn AJAX off for this form as the subscribe to comments plugin does not work with AJAX on.
Also it will keep showing the checkbox to subscribe even when your visitor is subscribed. It won’t get swapped with the Manage Subscriptions link.
A workaround is to just add the subscribe to comments option outside of the comment form. This way people won’t have to leave a comment to subscribe either. Just add this line either to single.php or comments.php depending on where you want to place it.
<?php show_manual_subscription_form(); ?>
I haven’t tried other plugins but for example the CommentLuv plugin uses the id, name and value ‘luv’ so it should work the same way as above.
AJAX and Comment Plugins
If you are using other comment plugins then it is a good idea to turn AJAX off. For example the WP AJAX Edit Comments also works better with AJAX turned off as you need to re-load the page to view the edit option.
If you have successfully used Cforms with other plugins then be sure to mention that via the comments.
In conclusion … Cforms is one of the most extensive plugins I have seen. The plugin author has not only worked on adding all the features one can think of and need in a contact form but has also worked on its presentation. It is a pleasure to use this plugin with all its features and design options.
And I have only covered some of these features. There are lots more features and settings you can tweak to your heart’s content including the ‘Tell-A-Friend Form Support’ and so much more.
So just install the plugin and enjoy.