How to Customize Content Forms and Pages Using Field Group in Drupal 8

Content with many fields can be overwhelming when it comes to adding and editing data. Also, creating layouts to display the content is often a complex task. Field Group can solve both of these issues.

Using this module, fields can be grouped in a variety of ways including tabs, accordions and HTML elements. Field Group not only works for editing content, it can also be used to group and structure fields so that great layouts can be created with little effort.

In the first part of this tutorial, we’ll show how to group fields to make editing content easier. The second part will demonstrate how to display groups of fields to create a simple but effective layout.

Field Group Types

There are several different options when creating a field group:

  • Accordion – expandable groups of fields with only one group expanded at a time.
  • Details – expandable groups of fields that can be independently expanded or collapsed.
  • Fieldset – simple grouping of fields.
  • HTML element – grouping of fields by element such as div or section.
  • Tabs – grouping of fields in vertical or horizontal tabs.

Each option allows you to add CSS classes making it easy to style the output. Groups can be nested inside other groups and for some options this is required. For example, “Accordion items” need to be nested within an Accordion group and individual Tab groups would normally be created within a surrounding Tabs group.

We initially used version 8.x-1.0-rc6 to write this article but noticed that some of the effects, such as collapsing/expanding accordions didn’t work as expected. Updating to the latest available dev build (8.x-1.0-rc6+12-dev at the time of writing) resolved these issues. As always, be cautious when using pre-release or dev builds of modules on production servers.

Getting Started

Field Group doesn’t have any dependencies apart from the Field module in Core, so you can get started straight away by downloading the Field Group module.

If you prefer command line tools then you can download and install Field Group using Drush or the Drupal Console.

Using Drush:

$ drush dl field_group
$ drush en field_group

Using Drupal Console:

$ drupal module:download field_group --latest
$ drupal module:install field_group

Configuring Field Group on Content Form

In this section, we’ll show how to group fields to make editing them easier on the content form. This is particularly useful when there are many fields, as grouping them into appropriate sections makes it easier to find the fields you need to change.

As we’ve already seen, fields can be grouped in a variety of ways. There are pros and cons for each option but we will use Details in this section as it offers a simple interface that works well on all screen sizes.

In this tutorial, we’ll create a simple system for storing contact information. We’ll start off with a set of individual fields and then we’ll add Field Group to create sections based on address, phone numbers and a description. Feel free to pick your own field names but we’ll use the following:

  • Title (change the field label to Name)
  • House number
  • Street
  • City
  • ZIP code
  • Home phone
  • Mobile phone
  • Description

1. Create a content type called “My Contacts” and add the fields listed above. For help on setting up new content types and fields have a look at our “Content Types and Fields” tutorial. We’ve also changed the Title’s field label to Name on the Edit tab.  You should have a screen that looks similar to this.

Screenshot of Manage Fields, listing the fields used in this tutorial

2. With the content type and fields set up, click on the “Manage form display” tab. Field Group adds a new button near the top called “Add group”. Click on that button.

Screenshot showing Field Group's "Add group" button

3. On the next screen, select Details from the drop-down list. The label will be used as the heading of the section, so use an appropriate name such as Address and then click on “Save and continue”.

Screenshot showing a new Details group being created

4. By default, when using the Details group, it’s closed so only the heading is visible. If you want the fields for that group to be shown by default then tick the “Display element open by default” checkbox. It’s normally best to leave the “Mark group as required if it contains required fields” checkbox ticked, especially if the group is closed by default, as this adds the red “required” asterisk to the group heading if any of the fields it contains are required. If you want to add styling to the group then you can add an ID and classes. Click on “Create group” to complete the process.

Screenshot showing options for a Field Group

5. Repeat the process for the other groups, which in our example are Phone and Description. On the “Manage form display” tab you should now see the list of fields and the groups that you have created.

Screenshot listing all the fields and new groups

6. Now it’s just a simple matter of dragging the fields so they appear under the groups. To become part of the group the fields should be below the group name and indented as shown below.

Screenshot showing the fields listed under their Field Group

7. Click on Save to complete the process.

8. Add a new node based on this content type. When editing the content, you should see expandable sections that contain fields.

Screenshot showing fields grouped when creating a new node

Configuring Field Group on Content View Modes

In the section above we dealt with grouping when editing content. In this section, we’ll look at how creating a few groups can greatly help with content layout. With very little effort it’s simple to create great layouts that are easy to style. And you can do this without the use of complex modules like Display Suite or Panels.

We’ll create a few “HTML element” groups and then apply simple CSS to style the output. The instructions below assume that you have set up the fields above.

1. Edit your content type, click on the “Manage display” tab and then click on the “Add group” button.

Screenshot showing the "Add group" button on the "Manage display" tab

2. Select “HTML element” from the “Add a new group” drop-down box, give the group a label such as Address and click on “Save and continue”.

Screenshot showing "HTML element" selected

3. On the next screen there are several options. Under Element, enter the most appropriate element for your content. We’re just going to use a simple div. You can decide to show or hide the label that you entered on the previous screen. We’ll stick with the default of No. You can also add attributes and configure effects if required. As we want to apply some basic CSS to our layout, we’ll add a class of simple-box under “Extra CSS classes”. Once you have entered all the settings, click on “Create group”.

Screenshot showing options for "HTML elements"

4. Create any remaining groups using the same settings. As before, in addition to Address, we’ve created Phone and Description groups.

5. On the “Manage display” tab drag the fields under the appropriate groups, making sure each field is indented as shown below. At this point we’ll also change our labels to be inline rather than above and hide the Description label.

Screenshot showing fields listed under their "HTML element" Field Group

6. Click on Save to complete the process.

7. Go back to the content you created earlier and you should see something like this.

Screenshot of node before CSS applied

8. The screenshot above doesn’t look any different from normal but if you inspect the markup you’ll see that the fields are grouped into three divs, with the class of simple-box that we added above. The screenshot shows the output from the Bartik theme.

Screenshot of Firebug output showing the Field Group divs

9. Then it’s just a matter of adding CSS as appropriate. An example that works for the Bartik theme is:

.node__content {
  display: flex;
}

.simple-box {
  flex-grow: 1;
  flex-basis: 0;
  margin: 10px;
  padding: 10px;
  border: 1px solid #ccc;
}

And the output is transformed into this:

Screenshot of node after CSS applied

This example gives a simple demonstration of how using groups can make laying out information on a page much easier. Field Group also allows you to nest groups within groups, so you can create more complex layouts easily, making this an even more powerful module.

Summary

In this tutorial, we’ve seen how the Field Group module can help organize fields into sections to make editing simpler. We’ve also demonstrated how adding groups can structure markup to make creating layouts much simpler.

FAQs

Q: Why can’t I get the effects to work?
There seems to be an issue with 8.x-1.0-rc6. Try upgrading to the latest dev build and try again.

Q: Can I nest groups within groups?
Yes!

About the Author

Ben has worked in a variety of computing roles over the last 20 years. He lives in the UK and has been building sites using Drupal for many years.

Leave a Reply 0 comments

Leave a Reply: