Addon:Forms Gramplet

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Please use carefully on data that is backed up, and help make it better by reporting any comments or problems to the author, or issues to the bug tracker
Unless otherwise stated on this page, you can download this addon by following these instructions.
Please note that some Addons have prerequisites that need to be installed before they can be used.
This Addon/Plugin system is controlled by the Plugin Manager

Census or Form?

Please note the Form Addons are an upgrade released in 2015 to expand the flexibility of the orignal Census Addons. The Form Addons supersede the Census Addons from Gramps 4.2.X

The Form gramplet allows users to create and edit structured source data in a single form. It makes the meticulous process of recording all the discrete elements far less fussy and error-prone.

The Form gramplet has been enhanced to handle other forms such as birth, marriage and death certificates and parish register entries as well as the originally supported census forms.

Using a Form doesn't mean creating data that can only be accessed with the Form tool. You can forego using the Form Gramplet at any time but still see and edit the data that was entered. The Form gramplet merely streamlines creating Events with the Attributes to separately store elements of data from a structured source. You could do the same process using the standard Gramps editors... it would just involve a lot more steps per Person or Event.

Forms Gramplet

Before using the forms addons

You need to define the form that describes the information contained within a source.
See: Configuration

Adding the Forms Gramplet

The Forms Gramplet is designed to be added to the bottombar of the People Category (Grouped (or) List) view.

Adding Forms Gramplet To Bottombar Of People Category (Tree) View

Select the "Gramplet bar menu" (little down arrow or "v" in screenshot) and select "Add a gramplet" and select "Forms" then the Forms Gramplet will be shown docked as below.

Initial Configuration for each source

Before using the forms addons you need to define the form that describes the information contained within a source. See: Configuration

The Forms Gramplet lists all the events for the active person that can be edited using the form editor. The listing displays the source, date and place of the event together with the role the active person performs in the event.

A new event can be created by clicking the New button at the bottom of the Forms Gramplet which will show you the Select Form selector dialog where you can choose the form to use. Once you select a form you will be taken to the Form Editor.

Forms Gramplet - Shown docked In Bottombar Of People Category View
Forms Gramplet - Shown Undocked from Bottombar Of People Category View

File:Forms Gramplet showing existing event.png
Forms Gramplet - Showing existing event

An existing event can be edited either by highlighting a row and clicking the Edit button or by double-clicking on a row to bring up the the Form Editor.

Form Selector

The form selector allows the user to select a source that has been associated with a form. The sources are grouped by event type.

Form Selector.png

If the Form Selector list is empty then you need to define the form that describes the information contained within a source. See: Configuration

Form Editor

The form editor is designed so that most data for an event can be entered into a single form.

  • First a citation reference should be entered. This should comprise of one or more references that uniquely identify the citation. For example, in the case of a UK census you will need to enter the PRO reference, Piece, Folio and Page.
  • The date of the event can be entered. For a census, the date is populated automatically.
  • A place can be selected in the usual Gramps manner.

Details tab

The "Details" tab provides an area which allows the user to enter data specific to individual people listed in the source. This tab can be divided into sections. Each section consists of people performing the same role in the event.

Form Editor.png

Person Section

A person section allows information about a single person to be entered. A new person can be created and selected by clicking the + button. A person already in Gramps can be selected by clicking the second button (share). The user is prevented from entering data until a person is selected.

Form Person Section.png

Family Section

A family section allows information about two people belonging to a family to be entered. A new family can be created and selected by clicking the + button. A family already in Gramps can be selected by clicking the second button (share). The user is prevented from entering data until a family is selected.

Form Family Section.png

Multiple Person Section

A multiple person section allows information about multiple people to be entered. A new person can be created and then added to the section by clicking the + button. A person already in Gramps can be added to the section by clicking the second button (share). A person can be removed from the section by clicking the - button. The order of people in the section can be changed by highlighting a row and then using the up and down arrow buttons.

Form Multiple Section.png

Headings tab

The Headings tab provides an area which allows the user to enter data specific to the event listed in the source.

Gallery tab

The Gallery tab provides the ability to add media to the event. This is done in the same way as in the standard Gramps editors.


Before using the form addons, you need to define the form that describes the information contained within a source.

To do this you need to edit each Source and add an entry in the "Attributes" tab. The entry must have a key of "Form" and a value which is a Code that uniquely identifies the form to be used eg: UK1841

Translated Gramps

If you are using Gramps in a language other than English, enter the translated version of the key (e.g. In French, "Formulaire" instead of "Form").

Form Source.png

Supported form definitions

To see a full list of the supported Code's for definitions included with the addon that are available, See: Form Definitions

Writing your own form definitions


Make sure that your definition file is saved using UTF-8 encoding.

If a form you require is not in the list of supported definitions then you can write your own.

Form definitions are stored in XML files. These are located in the Form directory beneath your user plugins directory. The file called form_xx.xml(where xx is a country code), is provided in the download, and contains some common definitions. Additional files called custom.xml and test.xml will also be searched.

Definition files consist of an XML declaration followed by a forms element.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>

The forms element contains a number of form elements, each representing a form definition. The form start-tag contains 4 attributes:

  • id : A unique code to identify the form definition. You will use this code in the "Form" attribute of the source.
  • type: The type of the event created by the form editor. This value will appear in the "Type" column of events ("EventType"). It would be wise to avoid standard ones, for example, to add death information you could specify "Death.Info" or another one you make up (Data loss is possible otherwise).
  • title : A description of the form. It should be possible to use anything here.
  • date : An optional date in a Gramps date format. This is only useful for census definitions or similar events that happen on a specific date.
<form id='UK1841' type='Census' title='1841 UK Census' date='6 Jun 1841'>

The form is divided into sections which describe the information that needs to be captured for people performing a given role in the event. Each form element should contain at least one section element. The section start-tag can specify these 3 attributes:

  • role : The role that people in this section perform in the event. This value will appear in the "Role" column of events ("EventRoleType").
  • type : The type of section. This defines how a section is displayed and people are selected. Allowed values are: 'person' for a single person, 'multi' for one or more people, or 'family' for two people selected by a family.
  • title : This is used when displaying the section on the form and provides the only way to visually tell multiple sections apart. In a marriage you would have a "Husband", a "Wife" and possibly others such as "Witnesses".
<section role='Primary' type='person' title='Child'>

Each section element should contain a column element for each column in the section. Column elements describe information that may be recorded for each person in the section.

A column element contains:

  • An _attribute element. This contains the key used to store column information in the attributes of event reference objects within the Gramps database (The "Type" Attribute of the reference information for the event. If you use "Name" then the selected person's name will be prefilled. Once defined this text must not be changed.
  • An optional _longname element. This contains a fuller description of the column and is only used for tooltips (when you hover the mouse over the field in the form).
  • A size element. This contains the size of the column in the census report. It is a percentage of the page width. The sum of all size elements in a definition should total 100%.
    <_attribute>At Home</_attribute>
    <_longname>Working at Home</_longname>

The underscore is important and indicates that the text should be translated by translators.

Each form element may optionally contain heading elements. Heading elements describe information that is recorded once for each form.

A heading element contains:

  • An _attribute element. This contains the key used to store information in the attributes of the event objects within the Gramps database.
    <_attribute>City or Borough</_attribute>

Although you can add your definitions to the pre-defined entries in form_xx.xml, it is recommended you create a separate file called custom.xml or test.xml for this purpose.

Tips on debugging your custom form definitions

After creating or updating a form (in custom.xml or test.xml) to make sure your Form is correctly formatted use a text editor that includes an XML mode and syntax check, (like NotePad++ and install the "XML Tools" plugin), then the editor will be able to tell you if your Form's XML code is formatted correctly.

If the XML form check worked then start Gramps to test it and if the New and Edit buttons don't appear in the Forms Gramplet then there is a good chance that an XML syntax (or other) error has occurred. The Forms Gramplet will not tell you where the error is, but luckily you may get a message in grampsXX.log (in the root of gramps user directory) that may look like:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Program Files\GrampsAIO64-5.1.2\gramps\gen\plug\", line 252, in load_plugin
    _module = self.import_plugin(pdata)
  File "C:\Users\<~username>\AppData\Roaming\gramps\gramps51\plugins\Form\", line 114, in __load_definitions
    dom = xml.dom.minidom.parse(definition_file)
  File "AIO/xml/dom/", line 1958, in parse
  File "AIO/xml/dom/", line 911, in parse
  File "AIO/xml/dom/", line 207, in parseFile xml.parsers.expat.ExpatError: mismatched tag: line 12, column 10

If there are other (non-syntax) errors in the file then when you use the New button and select the form, it will probably fail and suggest you restart Gramps, if you open the details first you will see some information which may give you a clue as to where the issue is (start from the bottom of the error message), the following is an example:

  25285: ERROR: line 157: Unhandled exception 
  File "C:\Users\<~username>\AppData\Roaming\gramps\gramps51\plugins\Form\", line 995, in __init__
    title1, title2 = title.split('/')
ValueError: not enough values to unpack (expected 2, got 1)

For the example error above, the title was fine, the Forms Gramplet was reporting that one of the entries in the custom form was incorrectly typed and should be exactly like the supported form elements.

Submitting your form definitions

Once you have written some custom form definitions, you may wish to share them with the Gramps community.

A Form Testing area is available for this purpose.

See existing Form Definitions for a current list.

See also

Form Tutorials