Builds a form with CFML custom control tags; these provide more functionality than standard HTML form input elements. You can include the resulting form on the client page as HTML or Adobe Flash content, and generate the form by using XML and XSLT.


Forms tags


    accessible = "yes|no" 
    action = "form action" 
    archive = "URL" 
    codeBase = "URL" 
    format = "HTML|Flash|XML" 
    height = "pixels|percent" 
    id = "HTML id"     method = "POST|GET" 
    name = "name" 
    onError = "JavaScript function name or ActionScript code" 
    onLoad = "load event script"     onReset = "reset event script"     onSubmit = "JavaScript"  
    onSuccess = "JavaScript function name"  
    preloader = "yes|no" 
    preserveData = "yes|no" 
    scriptSrc = "path" 
    skin = "Flash skin|XSL skin" 
    style = "style specification" 
    timeout = "seconds" 
    width = "pixels|percent" 
    wMode = "window|transparent|opaque"> 
Note: You can specify this tag’s attributes in an attributeCollection attribute whose value is a structure. Specify the structure name in the attributeCollection attribute and use the tag’s attribute names as structure keys.

See also

cfajaximport, cfapplet, cfcalendar, cfformgroup, cfformitem, cfgrid, cfinput, cfselect, cfslider, cftextarea, cftree; Requesting and Presenting Information in the Developing ColdFusion Applications


ColdFusion 8:

  • Added support for adding interactive fields in PDF forms.

  • Added the onSuccess attribute and support in AJAX controls for the onError attribute

ColdFusion MX 7:

  • Added ability to set the default value of the scriptSrc attribute in the ColdFusion Administrator.

  • Deprecated the passthrough attribute. The tag now supports all HTML form tag attributes directly.

  • Added the method attribute and support for the GET method.

  • Added support for Flash and XML output, including the format, height, width, preloader, timeout, wMode, accessible, and skin attributes.

  • Added cfformgroup, cfformitem, and cftextarea child tags.

  • Added the onReset attribute.

ColdFusion MX:

  • Deprecated the enableCAB attribute. It might not work, and might cause an error, in later releases.

  • Changed the name and action attributes to optional.

  • Changed integer validation to require an integer value. In previous releases it would convert a floating point value to an integer.


The following table lists attributes that ColdFusion uses directly. For HTML format forms, this tag also supports the standard HTML form tag attributes that are not on this list, and passes them directly to the browser. ColdFusion also includes all supported HTML attributes in the XML.


Applies to








Specifies whether to include support screen readers in the Flash form. Screen reader support adds approximately 80 KB to the SWF file sent to the client.






See Description

Name of ColdFusion page to execute when the form is submitted for processing.

If you omit this attribute, the form posts to the page identified by the CGI.SCRIPT_NAME variable, the requested page that resulted in displaying the form.


applets in HTML and XML



URL of downloadable Java classes for cfgrid, cfslider, and cftree applet controls.


applets in HTML and XML



URL of downloadable JRE plug-in for Internet Explorer; used for cfgrid, cfslider, and cftree Java applet controls.







  • HTML: generates an HTML form and send it to the client. cfgrid and cftree child controls can be in Flash or applet format.

  • Flash: generates a Flash form and send it to the client. All controls are in Flash format.

  • XML: generates XForms-compliant XML and save the results in a variable specified by the name attribute. By default, ColdFusion also applies an XSL skin and displays the result. For more information, see the skin attribute.






The height of the form. Use a number to specify pixels. In Flash, you can use a percentage value, such as "height=60%" to specify a percentage of the available width. The displayed height might be less than the specified size.

Note: The width and height attributes are required for Flash forms, if they are used inside of a table.



name attribute value

the HTML id of the form.







The method the browser uses to send the form data to the server:

  • post: sends the data using the HTTP post method. This method sends the data in a separate message to the server.

  • get: sends the data using the HTTP get method, which puts the form field contents in the URL query string.







A name for the form.

In HTML format, if you omit this attribute and specify an id attribute, ColdFusion does not include a name attribute in the HTML sent to the browser; this behavior lets you use the cfform tag to create XHTML-compliant forms. If you omit the name attribute and the id attribute, ColdFusion generates a name of the form CFForm_n where n is a number that is assigned serially to the forms on a page.






For Flash format forms: Applies only for onSubmit or onBlur validation; has no effect for onServer validation.

An ActionScript expression or expressions to execute if the user submits a form with one or more validation errors.

For HTML format forms: Applies only to forms inside cfdiv, cflayout, cfpod, or cfwindow controls. The name of a JavaScript function that runs if an asynchronous form submission fails. For more information, see the Usage section.






JavaScript to execute when the form loads.






JavaScript to execute when the user clicks a reset button.







JavaScript or ActionScript function to execute to preprocess data before form is submitted. If any child tags specify onSubmit field validation, ColdFusion does the validation before executing this JavaScript.





Applies only to forms inside cfdiv, cflayout, cfpod, or cfwindow controls. The name of a JavaScript function that runs when an asynchronous form submission succeeds. For more information see the Usage section.





Specifies whether to display a progress bar when loading the Flash form.






When the cfformaction attribute posts back to the page that contains the form, this attribute determines whether to override the control values with the submitted values.

  • no: uses values specified in the control tag attributes.

  • yes: uses corresponding submitted values.

Applies to these controls:

  • cfinput, cfslider, cftextinput: overrides the value attribute value.

  • cfselect controls that are populated from queries: overrides the selected attribute. See cfselect.

  • cftree controls: overrides the cftreeitemexpand attribute. If yes, expands previously-selected elements. The cftreecompletePath attribute must be set to yes.

  • cfgrid controls: has no effect. (This avoids confusion as to whether data has been resubmitted to the database by the control.)






See Description

Specifies the URL, relative to the web root, of the directory that contains ColdFusion JavaScript files, including the cfform.js file with the client-side JavaScript used by this tag and its child tags. For XML format forms, this directory is also the default directory for XSLT skins.

When you use this attribute, the specified directory must have the same structure as the /CFIDE/scripts directory. For example, if you specify scriptsrc="/resources/myScripts", the JavaScript files used by ColdFusion AJAX features must be in the /resources/myScripts/ajax directory.

This attribute is useful if the file is not in the default location. This attribute may be required in some hosting environments and configurations that block access to the /CFIDE directory.

The location is set in the ColdFusion Administrator; by default, it is /CFIDE/scripts.


If you specify this attribute, copy the CF_RunActiveContent.js file from the CFIDE/scripts directory to the specified directory.

You can have only one scriptsrc attribute on a page, including any cfajaximport tag scriptsrcattribute. If you have multiple cfform tags, you can specify the scriptsrc attribute in a cfajaximport tag and it applies to all HTML format forms.





Flash: haloGreen

XML: default.xsl

Flash: Use a halo color to stylize the output. The skin determines the color used for highlighted and selected elements.

  • haloSilver

  • haloBlue

  • haloGreen

  • haloOrange

XML: Specifies whether to apply an XSL skin and display the resulting HTML to the client. Can be any of the following:

  • ColdFusion skin name: applies the specified skin.

  • XSL file name: applies the skin located in the specified path.

  • none: does not apply an XSL skin. Your CFML page must process the XML that ColdFusion saves in the variable specified by the name attribute, and display any results.

  • omitted or default: uses the ColdFusion default skin.

You can specify the following ColdFusion skins (located in the cf_webroot\\x

  • basic

  • basiccss

  • beige

  • blue

  • lightgray

  • red

  • silver

A filename can be any of the following:

  • absolute URL

  • URL relative to the web root

  • absolute file path

  • name of a file in the scripts folder or a subdirectory of the cf_webroot\CFIDE\scripts directory. In this case, do not specify the .xsl suffix.


HTML, Flash, XML



Styles to apply to the form. In HTML or XML format, ColdFusion passes the style attribute to the browser or XML.

In Flash format, must be a style specification in CSS format. For detailed information on specifying Flash styles, see Creating Forms in Flash in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.





Integer number of seconds for which to keep the form data in the Flash cache on the server. A value of 0 prevents the data from being cached. For more information, see Caching data in Flash forms in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.






The width of the form. Use a number to specify pixels. In Flash, you can use a percentage value, such as "width=60%" to specify a percentage of the available width.

Note: The width and height attributes are required for Flash forms, if they are used inside of a table.





Specifies how the Flash form appears relative to other displayable content that occupies the same space on an HTML page.

  • window: the Flash form is the topmost layer on the page and obscures anything that would share the space, such as drop-down dynamic HTML lists.

  • transparent: the Flash form honors the z-index of dhtml so you can float items above it. If the Flash form is above any item, transparent regions in the form show the content that is below it.

  • opaque: the Flash form honors the z-index of dhtml so you can float items above it. If the Flash form is above any item, it blocks any content that is below it.

Note: Attributes that are not marked as supported in XML are not handled by the skins provided with ColdFusion. They are, however, included in the generated XML as html namespace attributes to the form tag.


This tag requires an end tag.

You can use the following ColdFusion form control tags in the cfform tag:

  • cfapplet: Used in HTML and XML format only; embeds a registered Java applet.

  • cfformgroup: Used in Flash and XML format only; groups and arranges child controls.

  • cfformitem: Used in Flash and XML format only; adds horizontal rules, vertical rules, and text to the form.

  • cfgrid: Creates a grid control to display tabular data.

  • cfinput: Creates and an input element.

  • cfselect: Creates a drop-down list box.

  • cfslider: Used in HTML and XML format only; creates a slider control.

  • cftextarea: Creates a multiline text input box.

  • cftree: Creates a tree control.

In HTML format, all tags, and in Flash format the cftree and cfgrid tags, require JavaScript support on the browser. The cfapplet tag and applet format cfgrid, cfslider, and cftree tags require the client to download a Java applet.

If you specify Flash format in the cfform tag, ColdFusion ignores any HTML in the form body. Use ColdFusion tags, such as cfinput, for all form controls. You can include individual Flash format cfgrid and cftree controls in an HTML format cfform tag.

In Flash format, if your forms do not request sensitive data (such as credit card numbers), consider setting the timeout attribute. This can prevent users from getting "The form data has expired. Please reload this page in your browser" errors if they use the browser back button to return to the form. For more information, see Caching data in Flash forms in the Developing ColdFusion Applications.

Note: In Flash format, if you do not specify height and width attributes, Flash reserves browser space equal to the area of the browser window. If any other output follows the form, users must scroll to see it. Therefore, if you follow a Flash form with additional output, specify the height and width values. The width and height attributes are required for Flash forms, if they are used inside of a table.

If attribute value text must include quotation marks, escape them by doubling them.

Using the onError attribute in Flash forms

If you use onSubmit or onBlur validation, the onError attribute lets you specify ActionScript code to execute if the user tries to submit a Flash form with validation errors, as follows:

  • If you specify one or more valid Flash expressions, Flash executes the expressions.

  • If you omit the attribute, Flash displays a dialog box with all applicable error messages.

  • If you specify onError="" (an empty string) Flash does not display any message, but does not submit the form.

Your ActionScript can use the errors variable to determine the fields and errors. The errors object has the following fields:




The name attribute of the control’s CFML tag.


The internal name used by Flash for the field name (for example, _level0.field1).


The value in the field.


The message attribute of the control’s CFML tag.

The following example shows cfform tags with an onError attribute that selects the tab in an accordion or tab navigator that contains a lastName field with an invalid entry:

<cfform name="form1" format="flash" width="800" height="500"  
        onError="if (errors['lastName'] != undefined 
            ){tabA.selectedIndex=0; _root.lastName.setFocus();}">

Incorporating HTML form tags and attributes

In HTML format, the cfform tag lets you incorporate the following standard HTML elements. They are not available in Flash format:

  • Standard HTML form tag attributes and values. The attributes and values are included in the form tag that cfform outputs in the page. For example, you can use form tag attributes like target or onMouseOver with cfform.

  • HTML tags that can ordinarily be put within the HTML form tag. For example, you can use the HTML input tag to create a submit button in a cfform, without the other features of cfinput:

        <input type = "Submit" value = " update... "> 

Using forms in cfdiv, cflayout, cffpod, and cfwindow controls

The cfdiv, cflayout, cffpod, and cfwindow tags create AJAX-based controls that can serve as containers for interactive forms. When you use such a structure, you do not want submitting form information to cause a new page to be displayed; instead, you want dynamic code to modify the existing page without causing a complete reload. You can do this by using the onSuccess and onError attributes.

The function specified by the onSuccess attribute gets called if the form data is submitted successfully. This function is responsible for updating the pod, layout, or window to reflect the results of the submission, for example, to display additional data or pop up a confirmation window. This function must not take any arguments

The function specified by the onError attribute gets called if an error occurs when the form data is submitted. This function is responsible for handling the error, such as displaying an error message. This function must take two arguments: an error number and an error message.

Incorporating interactive fields in PDF forms

ColdFusion lets you use the cfform tag to create PDF forms that contain static and interactive form fields. The cfform tag must exist within a cfdocument tag (where format="pdf"). Only one cfform tag can exist within a cfdocument tag.

Completed forms can be posted to the server as an HTTP Post, or the entire PDF can be submitted as binary stream. If the PDF is submitted, you can use the cffile tag to save completed PDF form to a hard drive:

<cffile action="write" file="c:\savedpdf.pdf" output="#PDF.content#">

The output can be manipulated and extracted by using the tag.

Only the following cfform attributes are supported in generating PDF forms:

  • action

  • format

  • method

  • name

  • onSubmit

  • skin

  • style

To embed an existing PDF form generated by LiveCycle Designer or Acrobat, use the tag.


<h3>cfform Example</h3> 
<!--- If Form.oncethrough exists, the form has been submitted. ---> 
<cfif IsDefined("Form.oncethrough")> 
    <cfif IsDefined("Form.testVal1")> 
        <h3>Results of Radio Button Test</h3> 
        <cfif Form.testVal1>Your radio button answer was yes 
        <cfelse>Your radio button answer was no 
    <h3>Results of Checkbox Test</h3> 
    <cfif IsDefined("Form.chkTest2")> 
        Your checkbox answer was yes 
        Your checkbox answer was no 
    <cfif IsDefined("Form.textSample") AND Form.textSample is not ""> 
        <h3>Results of Credit Card Input</h3> 
        Your credit card number, <cfoutput>#Form.textSample#</cfoutput>,  
        was valid under the MOD 10 algorithm. 
    <cfif IsDefined("Form.sampleSlider")> 
            <h3>You gave this page a rating of #Form.sampleSlider#</h3> 
    <hr noshade="True"> 
<!--- Begin by calling the cfform tag. ---> 
<cfform name="cfformexample"> 
    <h4>This example displays radio button input type for cfinput.</h4> 
    Yes <cfinput type = "Radio" name = "TestVal1" value = "Yes" checked> 
    No <cfinput type = "Radio" name = "TestVal1" value = "No"> 
    <h4>This example displays checkbox input type for cfinput.</h4> 
    <cfinput type = "Checkbox" name = "ChkTest2" value = "Yes"> 
    <h4>This shows client-side validation for cfinput text boxes.</h4> 
    (<i>This item is optional</i>)<br> 
    Please enter a credit card number: 
    <cfinput type = "Text" name = "TextSample"  
        message = "Please enter a Credit Card Number"  
        validate = "creditcard" required = "No"> 
    <h4>This example shows the use of the cfslider tag.</h4> 
    Rate your approval of this example from 1 to 10 by sliding control.<br> 
    1 <cfslider name = "sampleSlider" width="100" 
            label = "Page Value: " range = "1,10" 
            message = "Please enter a value from 1 to 10"> 10 
    <p><cfinput type = "submit" name = "submit" value = "show me the result"> 
    <cfinput type = "hidden" name = "oncethrough" value = "Yes"></p> 

A simple XML form

The following example shows a simple XML-format form. It uses the default.xsl transform that is supplied with ColdFusion to generate the HTML output for display:

<cfform name="testXForm" format="XML" skin="basic"> 
<!--- Use cfformgroup to put the first and last names on a single line. ---> 
    <cfformgroup type="horizontal"> 
        <cfinput type="text" name="firstname" label="First Name:" value="Robert"> 
        <cfinput type="text" name="lastname" label="Last Name:" value="Smith"> 
<cfinput type="password" name="password" label="Password:" value=""> 
<cfinput type="hidden" name="hidden" label="hidden:" value=""> 
<cfselect name="state" style="width:200" label="State"> 
    <option selected>Utah</option> 
    <option selected>New York</option> 
    <cftextarea name="description" label="Description:" rows="5" cols="40"> 
    this is sample text.</cftextarea> 

A simple PDF form

<cfdocument format="pdf"> 
    <cfdocumentsection ../> 
    <cfform type="html/xform"> 
        <cfinput type="textbox" name="employeeName" value="#fullName#" readonly="true"> 
        <cfinput type="textbox" name="employeeID" value="#id#" readonly> 
        <cfselect name="contributionPercentage" options="#optionsStruct#" required="true"> 
        <cfinput type="submit" name="SubmitAsHTTPPost"> 
        <cfinput type="submit" name="SubmitAsPDF" submitType="PDF"> 
    <cfdocumentsection ../>