Design

Form Elements: 40+ CSS/JS Styling and Functionality Techniques

August 17th, 2008

Designing effective web forms isn’t easy, as we need to figure out more practical styling and functionality techniques to provide a great user experience.

Recently there have been a number of noteworthy techniques such as styling different form fields, live validation, Context highlighting, trading options from field to another, slider controls and more – using CSS and different Javascript libraries. Below we present findings of search to more than 40 tutorials and demos to showcase the capabilities and robustness of CSS and Javascript.


You might be interested to check other CSS related posts:

1-Styling dropdown select boxes– To style a dropdown select box is heavy work. This is an experiement on how you can style select box options items.

form field


2-<select> Something New, Part 1-With a little DOM scripting and some creative CSS, you too can make your <select>s beautiful… and you won’t have to sacrifice accessibility, usability or graceful degradation.

form field


3-Styling even more form controls-There are a lot of controls that can be used in an HTML form. Roger Johansson offers an extensive report on the ways you can use CSS to style web form controls.

form field


4-Check it, don’t select it-The biggest problem with multiple-select boxes is that selecting multiple options is a pain, especially if there are enough to create a scrollbar within the box. Here is a good technique for replacing the cumbersome select box with a scrollable checklist. You can check the demo here.

form field


5-DropDown – xHTML/CSS/Javascript replacement of classic selectbox-While there is no problem with styling input fields, styling selectbox is more complicated and solution isn’t perfect. This tutorial brought visualy better solution based on xHTML/CSS/Javascript called dropdowns.

form field


6-Masked Input Plugin– A masked input plugin for the jQuery javascript library. It allows a user to more easily enter fixed width input where you would like them to enter the data in a certain format (dates,phone numbers, etc). It has been tested on Internet Explorer 6/7, Firefox 1.5/2, Safari, and Opera.

form field


7-Custom Checkbox with jQuery– Provides the ability to customize the design of checkboxes in your web forms. You can use the default skin and the Safari skin which are provided with the package.

form field


8-LiveValidation– LiveValidation is a small open source javascript library for making client-side validation quick, easy, and powerful. It comprises of two main parts. Firstly, it provides developers with a rich set of core validation methods, which can also be used outside the context of forms. Secondly, it provides your visitors with real-time validation information as they fill out forms, helping them to get it right first time, making the forms easier, quicker and less daunting to complete.

form field


9-FancyForm– FancyForm is a powerful checkbox replacement script used to provide the ultimate flexibility in changing the appearance and function of HTML form elements. It’s easy to use and degrades gracefully on all older, non-supporting browsers.

form field


10-Styling disabled text inputs– A disabled text input usually has a grayed-out look, and the value is not able to be modified by user input. Here is how you can style them. You can also check this demo page for different examples Styling disabled form controls with CSS

form field


11-PrettyCheckboxes– A simple jQuery plugin to customize the checkboxes and radio buttons.

form field


12- Building a better web forms: Context highlighting using jQuery– Due to complexity of web appications, sometimes you often need to find a way to focus a user on a current context. Here is a nice way of achieving this effect. Check out the demo here

form field


13-Control.SelectMultiple This control uses a combination of a standard select input, and a collection of checkbox inputs to create an alternative to the standard select multiple control. It’s primary benefit besides a vastly improved experience for selecting multiple items is that for single item selection, it behaves like a normal select input.

form field


14- Justify elements using jQuery and CSS– When creating a web form you have to make a functional and visually aligned layout. You can do so by justifing all labels to have the same width. And the simplest way to do this is to use jQuery.

form field


15-jQuery Form Input Example Plugin– A jQuery plugin to specify examples within form inputs (i.e. text fields and text areas) that disappear on user focus. Check out the demo here.

form field


16-Jquery-Autotab– Autotab is a jQuery plugin that provides auto-tabbing and filtering on text fields in a form

form field


17-jquery-asmselect– A progressive enhancement to “select multiple” form elements. Check out a demo here and here.

form field


18-jQuery.AddToList– A very customisable plugin that hooks into select lists. An ‘open-form’ event or trigger value display a form (any dom element you specific, that contains a <form>). AddToList will then ajax submit the form, and if it’s successful, and a new item to your list. Check out a demo here.

form field


19-Easy Multi Select Transfer with jQuery– A perfect example to demonstrate the simple and compact nature of jQuery coding allowing options to be traded from one multi select to another.

form field


20-fValidator– fValidator is an open source (free) unobtrusive javascript tool for easy handling form validation. Check out the examples here.

form field


21-Grow a textarea-Just make a form, and this script will add the ability to resize each textarea.

form field


22-jQuery selectbox replacement– This is an unobtrusive jQuery plugin that allows you to replace the HTML select box with a styled dropdown menu. Check out the demo here.

form field


23-Unobtrusive Slider Control V2– Sliders can be associated with both text input and select list form elements. All of the slider’s configuration parameters should be defined within the associated form element’s className Check out the demo here.

form field


24- jQuery Field Plug-in– This plugin greatly expands the ability to retrieve and set values in forms beyond jQuery's standard val() method (and Mike Alsup's Form Plug-in's fieldArray() method) by allowing you to interact with all types of form field elements (except input[@type="file"], which is a read-only element.) It works the same way for text elements as it does for radio, checkbox and select elements.

form field


25-jquery.combobox– jquery.combobox is an unobtrusive way of creating a HTML type combobox from a existing HTML Select element(s).
A combobox is technically a ‘Select’ HTML element. Check out the demo here.

form field


26-Checkboxes, Radio Buttons, Select Lists, Custom HTML Form Elements– This JavaScript and CSS will allow you to use custom images for checkboxes, radio buttons and select lists.

form field


27-ToggleFormText plug-in example– ToggleFormText is a jQuery plugin to enable help text for input fields.

form field


28-Password field with strength meter– Password strength meter extension class for the extjs library.

form field


29-STYLING FILE INPUTS WITH CSS AND THE DOM– File inputs are the bane of beautiful form design. No rendering engine provides the granular control over their presentation designers desire. This simple, three-part progressive enhancement provides the markup, CSS, and JavaScript to address the long-standing irritation.

form field


30-Pin plugin for Prototype, Remember Field’s Values– Pin plugin for prototype which aims to remember some field’s values. Check out the demo here.

form field


31-accessible, javascript-enhanced, css-able form elements for mootools– A javascript-class (based on mootools) customFormElements, which gives you the opportunity to style your own checkboxes and radiobuttons via css.

form field


32-Resizeable Textboxes– What we are going to create today is a textbox with resize handles on the bottom, right, and bottom-right corner. The resize handles do what you might expect – grabbing the right edge will let you resize the width, grabbing the bottom will let you resize the height, and grabbing the corner will let you resize either.

form field


33-Resizeable Textboxes– Browsers do not let you style file inputs. File Style plugin fixes this problem. It enables you to use image as browse button. You can also style filename field as normal textfield using css. It is written using JavaScript and jQuery. Check out the demo here.

form field


34-jQuery AlphaNumeric– jQuery AlphaNumeric is a javascript control plugin that allows you to limit what characters a user can enter on textboxes or textareas.

form field


35-Mootools Form Hints– Mootools/Javascript Form Helper
Allows inline help in form input fields.

form field


36-MultiSelect– MutliSelect is a clean way to display a drop down and allow multiple options to be selected with just the mouse and without taking up more room that you need. With just a single line of code, MultiSelect styles up any select with a new and simple drop down. Check out the example here.

form field


37- Watermark Input Plugin– This is a watermark input plugin for jQuery. Currently this is a beta release. This simple plugin allows forms with limited space to display additional information about the contents of a field.

form field


38-Select box manipulation

form field


39-Spinner Control How to integrate Spinner control on your form inputs.

form field


40-Autohelp Sometimes it’s important to tell the user what’s expected of him. Especially when filling out a complicated form. This plugin uses the title attribute to display help in a separate DOM element.

form field


41-Custom Select boxes with jquery – A working example of a jquery custom select box with icons. Check out the demo here

form field


The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.

Tags: ,

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Tommy J.
Guest
Tommy J.
7 years 9 months ago

You seem to just repost the same stuff all the time… what about something original?!

Tommy J.
Guest
Tommy J.
5 years 3 months ago

go away troll.

NaldzGraphics
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

this are nice list.thanks for sharing.

Bob
Guest
Bob
7 years 9 months ago

“Browsers do not let you style file inputs.”

Why am I able to do this in Opera? It isn’t a browser? Also half of these don’t work in Opera, so fail.

duh
Guest
duh
6 years 1 month ago

You use opera – so fail.

Bob
Guest
Bob
4 years 11 months ago

I use it for all the sites that don’t work in my other main browser – ie6.

Randy Beaver
Guest
4 years 9 months ago

You use ie6. So double fail.

Dave
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

LMFAO!! – You don’t have the skills to patch these to work in your beloved Opera – Triple Fail!

Janko
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Hey, thanks for listing my articles! Great list, btw!

Shazza
Guest
Shazza
7 years 9 months ago

Really liked this, so many different variations on styling fields. Thats why I love jQuery.

Cosmi
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Some very creative solutions, my fav is the Shaun Inman file input solution. Good job

Moni
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Deleting our comments now? That’s weak. Do you do that to all you readers, i have a screen shot, I don’t see anything wrong with the one I made previously.

really, this annoys me.

Paul
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

great list. I released a plugin the other day to create custom select boxes in jquery.
Check it out
You might want to add it to the list.

Noupe
Guest
7 years 9 months ago
Hey Everyone, Thanks to everyone, i am glad you liked this post. Couple of you mentioned that the content of this post have been posted here before, which is strange. This post is highlighting techniques one can use to make form completion easy and painless to users. Many of the techniques mentioned here are new, so i guess this wasn’t covered before. As for Moni, i apologize but your comment was deleted by mistake with another 2 comments which were marked as spam. There was no intention to do so. Our policy always welcome user’s suggestions and opinions to move… Read more »
www.singlewrench.com
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Very good information. Thanks

Noupe
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

@Paul,
Thanks for letting us know about your plugin, very creative. I added it to the list :)

Paul
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

No probs. Thanks for listing it.

Nahinu
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Sweet, now I can finally CSS forms, the hardest things to CSS.

bangbouh
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Great list. Thanks!

bigwinner
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Thanks for posting this. I just discovered noupe last week and it’s already one of my favorite blogs.

Lowell
Guest
Lowell
7 years 9 months ago

more.. whitespace.. please.. eyes hurt

Dan
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Please don’t use auto-tabbing. 1 in 100 websites use it so everyonce and I while I’ll go to tab through a form and it messes everything up. DONT USE AUTO-TABs!

liam
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Another amazing post, I really love how these look, adds something interesting to those boring forms for sure.

United Voices
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

cool form elements styling techniques. thanks for sharing mate.

Krazd
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Wow that is some unique stuff. Dugg!!

budda
Guest
budda
7 years 9 months ago

What about covering some functionality techniques for giving error feedback on form validation?

Max | Design Shard
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Awesome Great list, I love CSS, and this wwill help alot

Max | Design Shard

autotab isbad
Guest
autotab isbad
7 years 9 months ago

Auto-tabbing is terrible for user experience because it deviates from the simple convention of moving through a form.

John
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

If the republished articles bother you your welcome to leave, no one is forcing you to stay. Even if they are it is a nice bump for people who haven’t seen them.

Mamnun
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Awesome list. Thanx!

Serkan Gürkan
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Great and long list..
Amazing thank you..

Ken
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

great post. i’ve always used forms with basic styles. This post has given me some great ideas in giving basic forms a new face-lift. thx for the post!

booyah
Guest
booyah
7 years 8 months ago

thanks for the great list, gets the creative juices flowing…

geez the internet must really suck with Opera…

Ross
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

This is great, very useful cos I’m trying to get away from the generic forms you see in most website so this is inspiration at its best. Dugg!

Vic
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Nice piece of collection. Very much appreciated

blogsarticle
Guest
7 years 8 months ago

Great and long list..
Amazing thank you..

toy
Guest
toy
7 years 8 months ago

hey the custom drop down select zip file is empty
can you repost it up there?
thanks

Daniel
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

If I saw this site a month a go I would save lot’s of time doing the CSS (and is not so beatyfull as this ones :| )

Custom Software Development
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Excellent Resource Collection.. Thanks guy.

Indra
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Great list, but i try to use all jquery for js.

betsson
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Thanks your article,its great.

dlmlmd
Guest
dlmlmd
7 years 6 months ago

how it not work in opera 9?

height:expression((document.body.clientHeight-90) + ‘px’ );

IE is work.
help me

Rene
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Excellent resource, some great examples.

Red72
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

When I was a young sergeant in the 82d, pulling CQ duty, a fight broke out in the company day room. ,

Mr.Carrot100
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Money that did not result in population or GDP growth would have to come back to the government in some way, and I see most of that in some form of taxation, in addition to certain fees. ,

John Secada
Guest
John Secada
6 years 5 months ago

http://plugins.jquery.com/project/JQF1

Man! Look this form style plugin! It`s the most complete form style plugin! Works at IE 6 7 8, Safari (win and mac), firefox (win and mac), Opera, Chrome…

Martin Ivanov
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Here is another one form styling routine: http://acidjs.wemakesites.net/forms-js.html

Hossein
Guest
Hossein
6 years 3 months ago
ramalho
Guest
6 years 2 months ago

Hi WEB Family,

Great article & very useful.

Thanks for sharing

Ranjit
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

Very nice collections.. Thanks!

Waleed
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Create a #registration #form using #HTML5 and #CSS3 http://bit.ly/brbTDz

e-Stonia
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

Is there any Ajax slider with just two options – on the left option 1 and on the right option 2?

Indonesia Property
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Amazing Style Css.. thank you

Daniel
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

I’ve been working on another way to style form dropdowns with out css that seems to work pretty well. A bit of a fail as it doesn’t like Opera. Any help would be great. http://www.danielneumann.com/blog/how-to-style-dropdown-with-css-only/

tech
Guest
5 years 3 months ago

i thing this is a very nice list, thanks for sharing, good job.

Ekta
Guest
5 years 2 months ago

Excellent!!
Thanks for sharing..

David Coe
Guest
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the list guys! Bookmarked for later!

AndyPants
Guest
5 years 2 months ago

Like it , loads to choose from bookmarked the page some great web design will look even better with nice styled forms, thanks very much:)

RED
Guest
5 years 16 days ago

Great Post!!

I’ve been looking for something like this, most of our clients have special needs when it come to forms especially the select element.

Thanks again!
RED.

Dariusz
Guest
Dariusz
4 years 11 months ago

most of the links in not working any more

punithan
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

great stuff!!!!!

Yordan
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Nice!

Voku
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Thx for sharing!!! :)

kannankrp
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Very Useful Jquery collections…

Asad
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

There are a lot of work to do. Thanks

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