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self.instance in Django ModelForm

Posted by: admin December 31, 2017 Leave a comment


What does self.instance in Django ModelForm constructor mean and where can I find a documentation about it?

class MyModelForm(ModelForm):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super(MyModelForm, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        if self.instance:

In a ModelForm, self.instance is derived from the model attribute specified in the Meta class. Your self in this context is obviously an instance of your subclass of ModelForm, and self.instance is (and will be on saving the form without errors) an instance of the model class you specified, although you have not done so in your example.

Accessing self.instance in __init__ may not work, though doing so after calling the parent’s __init__ probably will. Further, I wouldn’t recommend trying to change the instance directly. If you are interested, have a look at the BaseModelForm code on Github. The instance can also be specified when creating a new form via the instance argument.


You can find the documentation on django’s website.


Just search the page for every reference to “instance”, and you should find what you need.

# Load up an instance
my_poll = Poll.objects.get(id=1)

# Declare a ModelForm with the instance
my_form = PollForm(request.POST, instance=my_poll)

# save() will return the model_form.instance attr which is the same as the model passed in
my_form.save() == my_poll == my_form.instance