Form Fields

This screen is perhaps the first and most important screen of Business Directory. Here you manage all the fields you wish to display in the listings themselves. You can set the order of display, whether the fields are shown in the excerpt (list view), the listing (detail view), search form or any combination of the above. You also set field attributes like type (text, URL, etc) and whether a field is optional.

NOTE: You can also add category-specific fields, which is explained here.

Notes before you begin

IMPORTANT: Before you import ANY records, you should completely setup and configure ALL fields you plan to use in your directory. This will save you any headaches from data you missed during mapping.

IMPORTANT:  When you enter information into the main description field, you can enter anything you like.  However, Business Directory Plugin may NOT display HTML content properly unless you have the attribute set under Directory → Directory Content → Form Fields for the Long Description field, “Allow HTML content?” checked.

You can preview the form at any time by clicking the Preview Form button at the top to see how your changes will look on the Submit Listing screen.

When you select the menu item under Directory → Directory Content →  Form Fields you see this main screen:

form fields

Your field names may be different than the ones shown.  The right-hand column shows at a glance, whether field is:

  • Optional or Required (Validator)
  • Displayed in the “list view” (In Excerpt) or in the “detail view” (In Listing)
optional or required form fields

You can find additional information about the field by hovering over the field name and clicking Edit.

Adding a New Form Field

  1. Click the Add New Form Field button at the top of Form Fields screen
  2. Enter the data shown below
  3. Click “Add Field” and the field will be saved

Form Field Settings

Field Association

This is the meaning of the field in the eyes of WordPress.  Only certain associations are allowed in WP, so you must pick from this list.  Your options are as follows:

  • Post Title: Select this option for the (top) Title field for your listings. Can only be used for one field in your set of fields
  • Post Content: Select this option for the “main content” of your listing.  Usually, this is the Long Description field for your listings. Can only be used for one field in your set of fields
  • Post Category: Select this option for the “category” of your listing. Used by the Business Genre field (by default) for your listings. Can only be used for one field in your set of fields
  • Post Excerpt: Used by the Short Description field for your listings (for displaying in the list view). Can only be used for one field in your set of fields
  • Post Tags: Used by the Tags field for your listings. Can only be used for one field in your set of fields
  • Post Metadata: The type used by all other fields. Can represent any other type of field (e.g. URL, LinkedIn, Facebook, Email, etc). Can be used as many times as you want

You may see other associations when viewing certain fields like Regions or Ratings.  These associations are internal for BD and are not editable.

IMPORTANT Most of the time, you will be using Post Metadata for your new fields. If you're not sure what you should choose on a new field, and it's not one of the “WordPress” like fields (title, content, category, tags), it's probably Post Metadata.

Field Type

The type of control used to display and enter your field data. Select from:


A basic one-line text field for text entry.

Select list

A drop-down field with limited choices and a single selection option.

URL field

A web link with additional configuration options.


A multi-line text entry control.

Radio button

A set of exclusive choices presented in a bulleted list

Multiselect List

A listbox field with limited choices and multiple selection option (by using Ctrl or Shift clicking)


A set of inclusive choices presented in a bulleted list

Facebook follow

Allows entry of a Facebook page to create a Like button pointing to that page. This field says “Like” with a number after it and lets you like the Facebook page without leaving the listing.

Social Site (Twitter)

Allows entry of a Twitter handle (e.g. @handle) or a full URL to a Twitter account to create a Follow button on the profile

This field says “follow @whoever” and takes you to the Twitter page to follow them.

LinkedIn profile

Allows the entry of a Business LinkedIn profile (only business profiles supported, personal ones do not work). This field says nothing but takes you to the page in LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn field is very particular about what you put in there (because of their API). It’s not a URL of your profile. The company number assigned by LinkedIn is required.

Example: If you follow the link

You will go to the company page for Adobe and 1480 is the LinkedIn identifier for Adobe. To add Adobe's page for LinkedIn, put 1480 into the LinkedIn form field of the listing and the button will appear, and let you “follow” the company. If you click it it will take you to the LinkedIn company page.

Here is an example the Facebook, X (Twitter), and LinkedIn fields:

Facebook like, Twitter follow, and Linked in link examples

Social Site (Any)

Allows end-users to choose the social media field they would like to add.

You have lots of options here, like choosing an icon or icon and text, or text only. Since this field allows users to choose which social media they want to add, the best names for this field in your submit listing form is “Social Media”

Here is an example using icons only in the Social Site field:

Social site example with multiple options selected

Image Upload

A field that accepts a file upload (usually used for logos)

Date Field

A field that uses a calendar control to accept formatted dates.

Phone Number

A field that usually uses a phone number validator to accept formatted phone numbers.  The field will attempt to use the Phone metadata tags so that mobile browsers will render this as a link and allow users to call the number directly.

NOTE: Most fields will probably be Textfields when you are building a standard listing form.

Field Label

The text label used with this field on the forms (can be hidden, see below)

Field description (optional)

A description that can be displayed under or next to the field (depending on your theme) for additional info regarding how to use it

Field validation options

Field Validator

The type of validation to be performed on the field prior to submitting the data.

  • No validator: performs no validation on the field (default).
  • Email: Ensures the entered data conforms to a standard email address of the form [email protected].
  • URL: Ensures the data is a standard web URL of the form http(s)://site.ext/sub-url/
  • Don't Allow URLs: Ensures the entered data doesn't contain any URLs.
  • Whole Number: Ensures the entered data is a valid integer value. If the field is used in sorting, it will be sorted numerically.
  • Decimal Number: Ensures the entered data is a valid floating point or integer value. If the field is used in sorting, it will be sorted numerically.
  • Date: Ensures the entered data will parse as a date.

Fields that fail validation will prevent the listing from being saved/submitted.

Is field required?: Whether this field must be always be filled in or not.

Field-specific settings

Some fields have additional settings that depends on the type of the field.  These additional options are explained below:

Field TypeSettingWhat it does
Select List, Radio Button, & Checkbox fieldsField OptionsThe list of options to choose from, using comma (,) separated list of options. Example: Red,Blue,Green
Select List, & Multi-select fieldsAllow empty selection on search?Turning this on allows this field to be optional during searches from the Advanced Search screen
Multi-select fieldsNumber of options visible without scrolling?Adjusts the height of the list box on the Advanced Search screen by setting the number of visible options
URL FieldOpen link in a new window?Determines whether clicking on the link will open a new browser tab or not.
URL FieldUse rel=”nofollow” when displaying the link?Adds the nofollow directive to the link to prevent web crawlers from following it. Can be overridden with Restrictions
Date FieldDate formatAllows you to select a number of common formats for dates
Text Field (Long Description only)Allow HTML in field?Allow users to enter a specific subset of tags in HTML (security limited ones).
Text Field (Long Description only)Allow WordPress shortcodesAllow users to enter a valid WordPress shortcode in the field and expand it. By default, shortcodes do not expand in text fields
Text Field (Long Description only)Allow iFrames to be usedAllow users to enter iframes in your Long Description field. This is NOT RECOMMENDED for security reasons, but we allow you to override the default setting. Requires that you allow HTML as well

Field display options

Field Category Policy

Allows you to add category-specific fields for your directory. You can either make the field apply to all categories or apply it to only certain categories.

field display options

Show this field to admin users only

When turned on, this field will be shown to admin users only in the edit listing view and no users on the front end.

Show this value in excerpt view

When turned on, the field will show in the excerpt (list) view.

Show this value in listing view

When turned on, the field will show in the listing (detail) view.

Include this field in the search form

Display label and/or icon

This field allows users to choose how the field displays in the listing (premium license holders only).

display field title or icon

You can choose to show the field label, no label, both label and icon, icon only, or replace the field value with an icon. Please review the complete instructions for enabling this feature.

Here are example fields with the various settings:

Show Label:

show label only

Hide Label: 

hide label

Show Label and icon: 

Show label and icon

Show Icon: 

show icon

Replace Value with Icon: 

replace value with icon

Field Privacy Options

This field contains sensitive or private information?: Add this field when exporting or deleting a user's personal data. NOTE: This setting was added to accommodate users affected by the GDPR privacy regulations in the European Union and refers to the exportation of data into a CSV file.

Edit an existing Form Field

  1. From the Form Fields screen, hover over the plan you wish to edit
  2. Click the Edit link
  3. Edit the data noted above
  4. Click Save Field and the data will be saved

Delete a Form Field

  1. From the Form Fields screen, hover over the plan you wish to remove
  2. Click the Delete link
  3. You will be asked to confirm the deletion on a new screen
  4. Click the Delete button to complete the process
NOTE: Some fields cannot be deleted, such as Title, Description and Category.  They are required for any custom post type in WordPress.  Business Directory listings are a custom post type.

Preview the Listing Form

Clicking on the Preview Form button will create a rough idea of what the form will look like on the Submit Listing section.  It's not an exact display because it doesn't apply the final CSS to the form but it will show you the labels, order and basic layout.  An example is shown below:

listing form preview

Manage Theme Tags

Theme Tags are the way Business Directory maps a field to a display area in the BD Directory Theme (not your WP theme!).  For example, you might identify 3 fields like “Customer Address”, “Customer State”, and “Customer City” to map to “Address”, “State” and “City” in the directory theme.  This allows BD to “understand” what the field means in your mind, and allows us to do things like special formatting.  It's the difference between the unformatted address, and a formatted one.

Unformatted (no theme)

No theme listing example

Formatted (using Elegant Business theme from BD Directory Themes)

Elegant theme listing example

The Manage Theme tags screen looks like the following.

Mapped Fields:

Mapped fields in theme

Unmapped Fields:

Unmapped fields in theme

When checking your theme tags, you should do the following, IN ORDER:

  1. Create all of the fields you think you'll need in your directory.
  2. Go to Directory → Directory Content → Form Fields, and click Manage Theme Tags.  You'll see the screen above (without the colorful arrows)
  3. Starting with the next Unmapped field, see if you already have a field to map to it.  In the example above, notice that Address is unmapped.  In my fields, I already defined “Customer Address” so I can open the drop-down and select “Customer Address” for the mapping.
  4. Repeat step 1 for every field on your Unmapped fields.
  5. If you don't have a field for mapping, add one under Directory → Directory Content → Form Fields. Return to Manage Theme Tags and map the field.

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