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How do I add a placeholder on a CharField in Django?

Posted by: admin November 1, 2017 Leave a comment


Take this very simple form for example.

class SearchForm(Form):
   q = forms.CharField(label='search')

This gets rendered in the template:

<input type="text" name="q" id="id_q" />

However, I want to add the ‘placeholder’ attribute to this field with a value of “Search” so that the HTML would look something like:

<input type="text" name="q" id="id_q" placeholder="Search" />

Preferably I would like to pass the placeholder value in to CharField in the form class through a dictionary or something like:

q = forms.CharField(label='search', placeholder='Search')

What would be the best way to accomplish this?


Look at the widgets documentation. Basically it would look like:

q = forms.CharField(label='search', 
                    widget=forms.TextInput(attrs={'placeholder': 'Search'}))

More writing, yes, but the separation allows for better abstraction of more complicated cases.

You can also declare a widgets attribute containing a <field name> => <widget instance> mapping directly on the Meta of your ModelForm sub-class.


For a ModelForm, you can use the Meta class thus:

from django import forms

from .models import MyModel

class MyModelForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = MyModel
        widgets = {
            'name': forms.TextInput(attrs={'placeholder': 'Name'}),
            'description': forms.Textarea(
                attrs={'placeholder': 'Enter description here'}),


The other methods are all good. However, if you prefer to not specify the field (e.g. for some dynamic method), you can use this:

def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
    super(MyForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
    self.fields['email'].widget.attrs['placeholder'] = self.fields['email'].label or '[email protected]'

It also allows the placeholder to depend on the instance for ModelForms with instance specified.


You can use this code to add placeholder attr for every TextInput field in you form. Text for placeholders will be taken from model field labels.

class PlaceholderDemoForm(forms.ModelForm):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(PlaceholderDemoForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        for field_name in self.fields:
            field = self.fields.get(field_name)  
            if field:
                if type(field.widget) in (forms.TextInput, forms.DateInput):
                    field.widget = forms.TextInput(attrs={'placeholder': field.label})

    class Meta:
        model = DemoModel


Great question. There are three solutions I know about:

Solution #1

Replace the default widget.

class SearchForm(forms.Form):  
    q = forms.CharField(
            widget=forms.TextInput(attrs={'placeholder': 'Search'})

Solution #2

Customize the default widget. If you’re using the same widget that the field usually uses then you can simply customize that one instead of instantiating an entirely new one.

class SearchForm(forms.Form):  
    q = forms.CharField(label='Search')

    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        self.fields['q'].widget.attrs.update({'placeholder': 'Search'})

Solution #3

Finally, if you’re working with a model form then (in addition to the previous two solutions) you have the option to specify a custom widget for a field by setting the widgets attribute of the inner Meta class.

class CommentForm(forms.ModelForm):  
    class Meta:
        model = Comment
        widgets = {
            'body': forms.Textarea(attrs={'cols': 80, 'rows': 20})