inFORM v3

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inFORM v3 Settings Glossary

This document describes the form settings used by inFORM v3. The settings are listed in the order found in the Admin Tool for easy reference when registering a new form.

Form ID

An 8-digit hexadecimal code that uniquely identifies the database entry to use when processing the form. This code will be generated for you automatically when you register your new form. It cannot be changed or specified.

Your HTML form page must pass this ID back to the inFORM program. It should be inserted in your form using a hidden input tag to set the inform_formid object.


The Unity IDs of the people who are allowed to make changes to the form settings. Your ID is determined from your WRAP login and must be found in the Owners list. You must have a Unity ID and be able to login through WRAP to use inFORM v3. You can add other users to this list to allow them to make changes to your forms for you.

inFORM Name

The inFORM Name is used by the inFORM Admin tool to help you identify your registered forms. The front page of the Admin tool will list all of the forms that you have registered by ID and inFORM Name. The inFORM Name is not used in the inFORM results seen by your users.

Contact Address

This must be a valid email address where you can be contacted if there are any problems with processing your form. The address will be displayed to users when inFORM cannot complete their submission due to a configuration error.

Save to Email

This setting determines whether or not inFORM will attempt to email your form submissions. Allowed values are:

  • Yes -

    Your form submissions will be sent through email, according to the settings that you specified at registration.

  • No -

    Your form submissions will not be sent through email at all. The other email settings will be ignored.

Mail Subject

The subject to be used on any email sent from this form. If you do not specify a subject, the default subject that will be used is: 'WWW Form Submission'.

You can have inFORM insert data into your mail subject by using macros in your subject string. These macros are supported:

For example, you could enter the subject as: %EMAIL%: homework assignment, and that way every mail sent would include the submitters email address in the subject of the message.

Copy to User

This setting determines whether or not a copy of the form submission is sent to the poster. Allowed values are "yes" or "no".

This setting will only work if the user provides a valid email address in an inform_email input object found in your form. If you use the WRAP'ed copy of inFORM, the inform_email object will be generated from the user's Unity ID. If you use an input object other than inform_email for the address, inFORM will not be able to copy the email to them.

Allowed Recipients

This should be a list of one or more valid email addresses where the form data can be sent. inFORM will only send mail to addresses found in this list, and to the user if requested. If inFORM is asked to send to an email address not found in this list, the submission will fail. There are two ways to use this list:

  • Send to everyone on the list -

    If you do not specify an inform_recipient input object in your form, the email will go to the everyone on the list by default.

  • Send to specific addresses on the list -

    You can provide the inform_recipient input object in your form to allow the user to specify who should recieve the email. This is best done using a pulldown menu of the email addreses specified in the list. The user cannot specify just any email address in a text field, the address must be found in the Allowed Recipients list or inFORM will refuse to send the message.

In either case, the total number of email recipients is limited to 10 addresses, including the user address if Copy to User has been selected. inFORM is not intended to be used as a bulk-mailing tool. If you need to send to more than 10 addresses, please create a mailing list and specify the list address here. You can specify more than 10 addresses in your list, so long as you select less than 10 of them using the inform_recipient input object.

You can list any valid email addresses that you need to use. The addresses are not limited to NC State domains.

Save File Format

This setting determines whether or not inFORM will save your submissions to AFS filespace, and what format to use for those data files. Allowed values are:

  • Files -

    inFORM will save your data to individual data files, one for each submission. The data will be saved in the same readable format used when sending email.

  • Survey -

    inFORM will save your data to a single data file. The data will be formatted as a tab-delimited table, with one line of data for each submission. The resulting file should be suitable for importing into a spreadsheet program.

  • None -

    inFORM will not save your data to files. The other file settings will be ignored.

Save Directory

This is the directory where you want inFORM to save your data files. This directory must be found in AFS space in either the /afs/unity or /afs/eos directory trees. The directory should be specified as a unix file path, using front-slash "/" as the directory separator. The directory must also be writable by the servers in the www:servers.cgi PTS group or else inFORM will not be able to save your submissions.

File Name

This is the first part of the file name to use when saving data. The complete file name will be generated as follows, depending upon the Save File Format that you selected:

  • Files -

    FILENAME_USERID_DATE.dat - The USERID is as found in the inform_userid input object, or "ANON" if not found. The DATE is the full date and time of submission formatted "YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS".

  • Survey -

    FILENAME.dat - The survey data file as a tab-separated table.

    FILENAME.fmt - A list of the columns found in the data file, as a single tab-separated row. This file is used to determine the order of the columns found in the data file.

One Reply per User

This setting is used to tell inFORM to only accept a single submission from a given user. Allowed settings are "yes" and "no". When "yes" is selected, inFORM will look in your data file to see if the given user ID has submitted data before. If an old entry is found, then the new submission will be denied.

The user ID must be set either by using the inform_userid input object in your form, or by submitting to the WRAP'ed copy of inFORM. If the form does not contain a userid, there is no way for this option to work.

This setting only works when you are using the "Survey" Save File Format. It will be ignored when using "Files" format.

Show Empty Responses

By default, inFORM will not report any input objects that were left empty by the user. This is intended to reduce the clutter when reading the saved data. Set this option to "yes" to have inFORM save all objects that were submitted, even if they are empty.

Add Time Stamp

This setting determines whether or not inFORM will add the submission date/time to the data that is saved. When set to "yes", a new input object named inform_date will be added to the data. The value will be set to the date and time that the submission was made. This object will also be added to the Saved inFORM Objects list so the data will be included in the output automatically.

Saved inFORM Objects

By default, inFORM does not save the data found in any input object beginning with "inform_", as it assumes these objects are used to control the program. If you want to save one or more of these objects as part of your data, specify the object names to be saved in this list.

For example, you might want to put "inform_userid, inform_email" in this list to save the ID and email address of the person who submitted the form.

Saved Environment Variables

You can provide a list of server environment variables that you want to save as part of your submitted data. These variables are usually used when you want to track your submissions. Some variables you might use are:

  • REMOTE_ADDR - the IP address of the user's browser
  • HTTP_REFERER - the URL of the form that the user used when submitting, if provided by the browser
  • HTTP_USER_AGENT - a string that identifies the type of browser used by the user
Required Input Objects

You can provide a list of input objects found in your form that must be filled in by the user. If any of these objects are left blank, the user will be told which fields were left empty, and the submission will not be saved.

Leave this setting blank if you do not want to require any objects found in your form.

See the Missing Fields Page setting for details about the format of the error message.

Allowed User File

If you want to restrict who can submit data through your form, you should provide the full path and filename of a file that contains a list of allowed user ID's. The file should contain one user ID per line. The file must be located in AFS file space under the /afs/unity or /afs/eos directory trees.

Leave this setting blank if you do not want to restrict the users of your form.

inFORM will check the user ID found in the inform_userid input object in your form. You can also submit to the WRAP'ed copy of inFORM to have this tag filled in automatically from the user's WRAP login. If no inform_userid input object is found, then the user will be refused.

Custom Response Pages

The default Missing Fields Page and the Thank You Page generated by inFORM can be customized to suit your needs. The customization works the same way for both pages. You can:

  • Leave the setting blank -

    inFORM will generate the default response page. This page will include information about what was submitted by the user.

  • Provide a URL -

    inFORM will redirect the user to the given URL instead of generating a response page. inFORM will not pass any data to this URL, so it will not be able to tell the user anything about what was submitted.

  • Provide a template file -

    inFORM will read the specified file and use it as a template to generate the response page. inFORM will look for the comment <!-- INFORM-INSERT-CODE --> in the HTML code and it will insert a table containing a summary of the submitted data at that point. Thus you can control the look of the entire response page and still return a copy of the dynamic form data.

    The file must be specified as a full path to a file in AFS space, and that file must be readable by the servers in the www:servers.cgi PTS group.

    See the Template Files Help Page for more information about creating templates.

Reminder: If you provide a URL, inFORM will not parse the returned page and will not insert any data elements. If you want to use a temple file, you must give the file location as a path in AFS space.

Missing Fields Page

Use this setting to provide an alternative to the default error page that is sent when the user does not enter all off the Required Input Objects from your form. See the Custom Response Pages section for information on how this works. If you choose to provide a page template, then inFORM will insert a list of the objects that were left blank into your template page.

Thank You Page

Use this setting to provide an alternative to the default thank you page that is sent when the user successfully submits data from your form. See the Custom Response Pages section for information on how this works. If you choose to provide a page template, then inFORM will insert a list of the objects that were submitted and their values into your template page.

inFORM v3 is a product of NC State University's Information Technology Division.
To report problems, please contact

Last Update: $Date: 2016/10/11 14:03:48 $