How to design modern SharePoint forms for Microsoft 365 or SharePoint 2019 on-premises

Connect to a SharePoint list or library

SharePoint Online

After following all the steps of SharePoint installation instruction (Office 365), download and run the designer application. Simply enter the URL of the site that you want to modify forms for:

Sign In SharePoint Online

You’ll then need to go through standard SharePoint authentication, make sure to use login with Full Control permissions on the site.

Note

If you want to logout from the previously selected user, just connect to the site once again and press Sign Out button:

Sign out button

SharePoint On-Premises

After following all the steps of SharePoint installation instruction (SharePoint 2019), you can launch the designer app from desktop or use Design Forms button in the ribbon (make sure to activate Site Collection feature first):

Run Forms from Ribbon

Enter the exact URL of the site that you want to customize list for. Unless your Windows desktop login is the same as your SharePoint login, you’ll need to remove the mark from Login as current user and use your SharePoint credentials instead:

Sign In not as Windows user

Depending on the type of authentication you have on your site, you might need to try different types:

Select authentication

New, Edit, and Display forms

Once you connect to a SharePoint List, you can select which form you want to edit in the upper right corner of the editor:

Select Form - New, Edit and Display

  • New Form - only available for SharePoint Lists, not available in SharePoint Libraries. Form that you see when you click +New Item.

  • Edit Form - form that allows you to edit values stored in an item, or properties of an uploaded file in SharePoint Library.

  • Display Form - form that only allows you to see what values are stored in an item or check properties of an uploaded file, cannot edit.

Saving a form or multiple forms

Saving a form is easy - just click the Save button. Once the button is pressed, it gets grayed out and you’ll see a message that says that the form is saving. Please, wait until the process is complete. Meanwhile, you can continue working in the designer, but if you want to see the results in SharePoint, you need to wait until you see Layout has been successfully saved message:

Saving a form

You are also able to save multiple forms at once if you want them to share functionality. For example, if the form has no custom logic, it’s often easier to save New, Edit and Display form at the same time. Just click the arrow symbol on the Save button and select which forms you want to replace with the current one:

Save multiple forms

Be careful when saving more than one form, it’s easy to forget that two forms might have different JavaScript attached to them and overwrite existing code.

Content Type

You can select which Content Type you want to customize forms for - each Content Type has its own forms:

Select Content Type

Restoring default forms

If you decide that you no longer want to utilize a specific form, you can open it in the editor and click the Reset button:

Reset the form

If you ever want to go back and revert some changes, you can always restore a previous version of a form.

Editing layouts: PC, Tablet, Phone

In the designer, on the left, you have Containers, Controls and Fields that you can use on the form:

Containers, Controls and Fields

Adding them to the form is easy, just drag and drop the desired elements to the form. You can change individualy configuration of each Field, Control and Container by selecting it with a click and then adjusting its properties in menu on the right:

Field's Properties

By default, each element is placed inside a Grid. By adjusting PARENT GRID properties of each element, you adjust element’s layout in regards to all other elements. You can learn more on how to work with form layout.

Note

We do not recommend adding Common Fields to SharePoint forms unless you know what exactly you want to do with them. By default, only SharePoint Fields store data when Item is saved, Common Fields lose all the data. If you want, you can use Common fields to perform some calculations on the form or submit certain data to MS Flow using Plumsail Forms connector.

Mobile Layouts

You can customize layout for mobile devices by selecting device type in the Ribbon. Clicking red X under the layout will delete it:

Layouts icons

To find more about various buttons and options available in the editor, check out our Ribbon actions article.

CSS and JavaScript

If you want to change the appearance of elements on the form, you can either edit Style property of the elements or apply custom styles with CSS editor. Don’t forget that you can give each element a class and then use it in CSS editor to apply styles by class.

JavaScript and CSS editors


Another thing that you can alter on any form is JavaScript and with our rich JavaScript API there is a lot that can be done with it.

Please, make sure that you are familiar with the events present in JavaScript API as these events need to be used in order to get access to all forms elements. You can check out the practical examples of using JavaScript API to make forms more dynamic:

Form sets for user groups

You are not limited to three Forms per Content Type. In fact, you can create many Form sets as necessary. Add a new one by clicking the + sign:

Add Form sets

Common use for Form sets is to provide unique forms for members of certain groups, easily configured in the menu when you create a new Form Set:

Form sets Group Configuration

But you are not limited to it. In fact, you can leave it empty and instead use Custom routing to redirect users to the appropriate form based on other conditions, such as field values on the form or user’s properties:

Form Routing button

Note

This can also be used to provide different forms for different languages.

Lookup: filtering, cascading, cross-site connection

You can also do a lot with the Lookup on the form. For example, you can use our custom Lookup control to setup cross-site connection:

Lookup control

Note

You can also use List or Library control to create Parent/Child relationship across sites with the Lookup control.

Either Lookup control or a regular SharePoint field can then be further customized. For example, you can add filtering and cascading functionality:

Lookup filter

Also, both can be customized, and you can adjust display values in dropdown for your exact needs:

Lookup view customized