Using a Form

We are using the FormMail script by Matt Wright to allow our users to use forms on their webpages. If you need to use this FormMail script, please contact our helpdesk so we can allow you access.

This page is not a tutorial on writing forms. If you don't know how to write HTML or write forms, then you should pick up a book on HTML that discusses forms.

The FormMail script you are allowed to access is at, so begin your form with the following:

<form method="post" action="">

The actions of the FormMail script are controlled by hidden input tags in your form's HTML source. Here are the tags and what they do:

Required Hidden Fields

This form field allows you to specify to whom you wish for your form results to be mailed. Most likely you will want this to be your e-mail address.
<input type=hidden name="recipient" value="">

Optional Hidden Fields

The subject field will allow you to specify the subject that you wish to appear in the e-mail that is sent to you after this form has been filled out. If you do not have this option turned on, then the script will default to a message subject: WWW Form Submission
<input type=hidden name="subject" value="Your Subject">

If you wish to redirect the user to a different URL, rather than having them see the default response to the fill-out form, you can use this hidden variable to send them to a pre-made HTML page.

<input type=hidden name="redirect" value="">

You can use this field to require that the user fill out fields in the form. Simply place all field names that you want to be mandatory into this field. If the required fields are not filled in, the user will be notified of what they need to fill in, and a link back to the form they just submitted will be provided.

<input type=hidden name="required" value="email,phone">

Allows you to have Environment variables included in the e-mail message you receive after a user has filled out your form. Useful if you wish to know what browser they were using, what domain they were coming from or any other attributes associated with environment variables. The following is a short list of valid environment variables that might be useful:

REMOTE_HOST - Sends the hostname making a request.
REMOTE_ADDR - Sends the IP address of the remote host making the request.
HTTP_USER_AGENT - The browser the client is using to send the request.
There are others, but these are a few of the most useful. For more information on environment variables, see:
<input type=hidden name="env_report" value="REMOTE_HOST,HTTP_USER_AGENT">

This field allows you to choose the order in which you wish for your variables to appear in the e-mail that FormMail generates. You can choose to have the field sorted alphabetically or specify a set order in which you want the fields to appear in your mail message. By leaving this field out, the order will simply default to the order in which the browser sends the information to the script (which is usually the exact same order as they appeared in the form.) When sorting by a set order of fields, you should include the phrase "order:" as the first part of your value for the sort field, and then follow that with the field names you want to be listed in the e-mail message, separated by commas.

<input type=hidden name="sort" value="alphabetic">
<input type=hidden name="sort" value="order:name1,name2,name3,etc...">

print_config allows you to specify which of the config variables you would like to have printed in your e-mail message. By default, no config fields are printed to your e-mail. This is because the important form fields, like email, subject, etc. are included in the header of the message. However some users have asked for this option so they can have these fields printed in the body of the message. The config fields that you wish to have printed should be in the value attribute of your input tag separated by commas.

<input type=hidden name="print_config" value="email,subject">

print_blank_fields allows you to request that all form fields are printed in the return HTML, regardless of whether or not they were filled in. FormMail defaults to turning this off, so that unused form fields aren't e-mailed.

<input type=hidden name="print_blank_fields" value="1">

This form field allows you to specify the title and header that will appear on the resulting page if you do not specify a redirect URL.

<input type=hidden name="title" value="Feedback Form Results">

This field allows you to specify a URL that will appear, as return_link_title, on the following report page. This field will not be used if you have the redirect field set, but it is useful if you allow the user to receive the report on the following page, but want to offer them a way to get back to your main page.

<input type=hidden name="return_link_url" value="">

This is the title that will be used to link the user back to the page you specify with return_link_url.

<input type=hidden name="return_link_title" value="Back to Main Page">

This form field allows you to specify a background image that will appear if you do not have the redirect field set. This image will appear as the background to the form results page.

<input type=hidden name="background" value="">

This form field allow you to specify a bgcolor for the form results page in much the way you specify a background image. This field should not be set if the redirect field is.

<input type=hidden name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF">

This field works in the same way as bgcolor, except that it will change the color of your text.

<input type=hidden name="text_color" value="#000000">

Changes the color of links on the resulting page. Works in the same way as text_color. Should not be defined if redirect is.

<input type=hidden name="link_color" value="#FF0000">

Changes the color of visited links on the resulting page. Works exactly the same as link_color. Should not be set if redirect is.

<input type=hidden name="vlink_color" value="#0000FF">

Changes the color of active links on the resulting page. Works exactly the same as link_color. Should not be set if redirect is.

<input type=hidden name="alink_color" value="#0000FF">

Other Reserved Fields

There are 2 other optional fields that are treated specially by the script. These are:

This form field will allow the user to specify their return e-mail address. If you want to be able to return e-mail to your user, I strongly suggest that you include this form field and allow them to fill it in. This will be put into the From: field of the message you receive. If you want to require an email address with valid syntax, add this field name to the 'required' field.

<input type=text name="email">

The realname form field will allow the user to input their real name. This field is useful for identification purposes and will also be put into the From: line of your message header.

<input type=text name="realname">

For more information, see the FormMail home page at

Last updated 05/27/97