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Form Layout

The form layout tree controls the order and nesting of the registration form. Simply drag an item from the parts bin or reposition one within the form layout. The flexibility of the form builder, and the form layout pane in particular, is how we support everything from simple RSVP lists through week-long festivals.

Make no mistake: the flexibility of the form builder is a double-edged sword. It is incumbent upon the organizer to carefully craft the registration form so it is simple and straightforward for the attendees. By nesting and using branches and groups, the user experience can be reduced to a very clear set of choices for your attendees. Luckily if you get stuck you can always call on us for help.

In addition to positioning, the form layout also lets you create three additional kinds of elements for organizing your form:

  • Groups - Groups create mutually-exclusive sets of items that force the attendee to pick one of many
  • Branches - Branches hide items beneath the children to break up long forms helping prevent decision fatigue
  • Text Block - Text Blocks let you insert rich text and images anywhere on the form (Premium Plan Only)

A key feature of the nesting (parent-child hierarchy) is that rules and restrictions on a parent also impact the child. E.g., if a top-level element is only visible to Instructors, then all of the items nested inherit that setting. It is unnecessary to flag all of the children as "Instructor" only.

Nesting elements, limiting visibility and our validation rule engine let you enforce all of your event policies as required.


  1. Add, Delete and Cloning
  2. Drag and drop for position
  3. Nesting to create paths
    1. Limitations on Nesting
  4. Restrict visibility by date
  5. Restrict visibility by member flag
  6. Annotated form layout

Add, Delete and Cloning

To add an item from the parts bin, you simply drag and drop it into your desired position in the form layout:

Moving elements from the parts bin to the form layout

You can right-click or use the wrench at the top of the pane ( to access the context menu for adding groups and branches, deleting and cloning items:

add, delete or clone items quickly

You create packages and inventory, event questions and assigners via the parts bin.

Cloning is particularly powerful in the form layout because we clone all of the children in addition to the selected element. If you are building forms with similar paths, this can greatly reduce the amount of dragging from the parts bin.

Drag and drop for position

When positioning elements in the form layout, a variety of icons are used to indicate the position of the mouse and the element you are dragging. Here are the four possible icons:

Enlarged Icon How to use
Drop on an item to make it a child. Children are only available when the parent is selected/ordered/answered on the form. This gives you great flexibility in how the form appears to your attendees.
With careful control, you can reposition a form layout item at the top of a list (note the top arrow in the icon)...
At the bottom of a list to append a new entry. Note: Dropping at the very bottom of the form layout is quite difficult. This is a limitation of the framework we use and we're hoping for an update to resolve this issue. In the mean time, you can drop your element just above the last item and then drag the last item above the newly added item to achieve the same result.
Or between two others to insert a sibling between two existing items

Clicking any of these items once positioned will bring up the form layout editor in the right pane.

Nesting to create paths

Nesting one item under another (depicted by the indentation) is key to building simple, easy-to-use registration forms for your attendees.

Form layout with basic nesting

Even in a basic registration form like this driver school where attendees are offered one of four mutually exclusive registration options, nesting the assigner under the package means the attendee will not see the form fields for vehicle, class, group and number until they select their registration option.

This showing and hiding of detail keeps the form as simple initially, gradually revealing as much detail and complexity as necessary to enforce your requirements.

Limitations on Nesting

When building trees with nested elements, it is important to understand what happens when participants select or answer the same element more than once:

Element What happens when answered more than once
Package The quantities selected are added together, using one multiple times is generally OK
Event question The last non-empty answer will be saved overwriting any previous answers, using one multiple times must be done with care to avoid multiple responses!
Assigner Each assigner creates an entry, using one multiple times on a registration form is OK

Restrict visibility by date

Unless you want to limit part of the registration form to dates other than the registration open and close dates (from the basic settings screen), you can skip this section. Otherwise, clicking any item in the form layout lets you set sunrise and sunset dates restricting its availability to a subset of the overall registration window. A blank date means "no limit".

Form layout elements with a date restriction will show this icon: date icon

Reminder: anything nested under a package that disappears will also be limited to the same date range and will appear/disappear at the same time. Organizers use this in a variety of ways:

Early bird discount / Late fee

If you have a flat early-bird discount late registration fee you wish to enforce, you can do this very simply using the date controls:

  1. Create a package and inventory item for your discount or late fee.
  2. Set the purchase limits to have Minimum of 1 and Maximum of 1. A non-zero minimum effectively forces the attendee to purchase the package.
  3. Drag it from the parts bin onto the form layout.
  4. Click the item in the form layout and edit the dates.
    1. For a late fee, give it a sunrise (start) date for when you want the late fee to kick in. This will be at midnight on the date you choose. Leave the sunset date blank meaning "run until registration closes".
    2. For a discount, give it only a sunset (end) date for when the discount ends. End dates use 11:59pm on the date you set.

Why leave one of the two dates blank? Two reasons; first if you decide to open registration earlier than anticipated or (more likely) extend the registration close date, you will not need to come back in to change one of the two dates. Second, if you clone this event for the future, you will only need to change one, not two dates.

Date-based Pricing

Taking the previous example to the next level, we can automatically change the pricing any number of times as the registration window progresses by staggering sunrise and sunset dates.

Let's say you wanted to enforce the following pricing:

  • $250 from March 1 to March 15 (Early bird)
  • $275 from March 16 to March 31 (Normal pricing)
  • $300 from April 1 to end of registration (Late reg)

You could do it using the following setup:

  1. Create a package and inventory item "Early Bird Registration" for the first pricing tier at $250. Call the inventory item something generic like "Entry Fee".
  2. Create a second package "Standard Registration" that uses the same inventory item at $275
  3. Create a third package, again using the same "Entry Fee" inventory item, called "Late Registration" for $300.
  4. Drag each of these on to the registration form and configure the following dates:
Package Inventory item Sunrise Sunset
Early Registration ($250) Entry Fee 3/14 (11:59pm)
Normal Registration ($275) Entry Fee 3/15 (12:00am) 3/31 (11:59pm)
Late Registration ($300) Entry Fee 4/1 (12:00a)

The registration form will automatically hide or show the appropriate package based upon the date (as set in your time zone)

Why would you use this approach instead of the previous? Because there may be times where the change in pricing is not a flat rate and cannot be handled by a single package. For example, perhaps your member pricing stays constant while your non-member pricing goes up? Or the increase in fee for a two-day option is different from the increase for a one-day option. These more complicated scenarios can be handled with this strategy.

Staggered registration open

One customer restricts registration for chapter members only during the first week of registration. After the first week, any club member may register and finally a week later, non-members may register too. This is an alternative to an invite only event.

By using sunrise dates and descriptive package names, this becomes straightforward to implement:

  1. Create three packages, each using the same underlying inventory item.
  2. Drag them onto the form layout from the parts bin and edit their sunrise dates:
Package Sunrise
Chapter Member Registration 3/1
Any Member Registration 3/7
Non-member Registration 3/15

With strongly worded package descriptions, this system works very well for our customers in preventing non-chapter or non-members from registering ahead of schedule.

Banquet cut-offs

You may allow registration up until the day before an event but a banquet caterer may need your final head count well in advance. You can accomplish this by using a sunset date to stop selling banquet tickets in time for your cutoff.

Simple give your banquet packages a sunset date and they will disappear, letting you run an ordered inventory report to determine the head count.

What not to do

With dates, it's good to not go overboard:

when date restrictions run wild...

Remember, the nested elements inherit the dates or member flag restrictions of their parents so you don't need to flag every single element in a tree. Just flag the top level items and their children will automatically be limited. This reduces the number of things you need to change when you clone the event for the future.

Restrict visibility by member flag

In addition to restricting by date, each form item can be restricted by the types set on a member profile. All organizations start with two default flags:

  1. Drivers / attendee
  2. Instructors / staff

As of December 2010, premium plan customers can add an additional 30 custom member types to more closely mirror the structure of their organization. These member types are most commonly used today in order to hide instructor registration options (often discounted or free) from students for driver schools and vice versa.

This feature requires proactive maintenance of the profile flags. Because you cannot flag a member until they have a profile (although you can force a member type to automatically be set as a default), there is often a chicken-and-egg scenario in building your segmented lists. We generally advocate having the first registration or two be based on the honor system giving the registrar a chance to flag each member appropriately and then begin hiding the options for a future event.

Alternatively, setting the member type to be user-editable will allow members to self-select the flag and instantly see the appropriate options on the registration form.

See member types for more details.

Annotated Form Layout

Overview of many form builder features and how you might use them

tags Explore related help by tag: Admin, Registrar