How to Add Placeholder Text to a Form Field

Would you like to add placeholder text to fields in your forms? Placeholder text can help guide your users, either providing instructions or showing an example format. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to add placeholder text to a field in WPForms.


Why Use Placeholder Text?

Placeholder text is most often used to provide some simple guidance to the user, but in some cases it can help accomplish design goals as well. Placeholder text can be especially useful because even though it appears inside a field, the field will still be considered empty until the user adds their own text.

Below, we’ll cover the most popular reasons for using placeholder text.

Show Users Example Input

In most cases, placeholder text is used to show example input to users. Even when the input might seem obvious to you, this is one way to make the process of filling out the form even easier for a user.

For example, you’ll often see sites using placeholder text to demonstrate the expected format for a phone field.

Placeholder text for Phone field

Note: Would you like your placeholder to appear grey, as shown in the screenshot above? Be sure to check out our developer doc for details on how to change placeholder text color.

Hide Field Labels

One of the easiest ways to make a form appear more compact is to hide field labels. However, field labels (the text that says “Name”, “Email”, “Message”, etc) provide really valuable instruction to your visitors. In many cases, it’s the only way a user will know what to put in each field.

You can get around this, though, by adding the text from the label to a placeholder.

For example, instead of displaying the label for a Name field, as well as the “First Name” and “Last Name” sub-labels, you could hide all of these and add the label text to placeholders for each sub-field.

Add placeholder text for Name field and hide labels

Note: Want to make your forms even more compact? Consider using a multi column layout, or even displaying your entire form on a single line.

Require Users to Select a Dropdown Field Option

When you first set up a Dropdown field, the first option will be selected by default.

Default Dropdown field shows first choice selection

If you’d prefer that this field remain empty until the user selects an option, then you’ll need to use placeholder text.

Example of placeholder text for a Dropdown field

So let’s add go ahead and add some placeholder text! Before we get started, be sure to create a new form or edit an existing form.

Add Placeholder Text to Input Fields

Input fields, such as Name, Email, or Single Line Text fields, are a great place to add placeholder text because you probably want the user to type in some pretty specific information.

For our example, we’ll add placeholder text to an Email field.

First, you’ll need to add the field to your form.

Add Email field to form

Then click on the field to open its Field Options panel. From here, you’ll need to click on the Advanced Options section to open it. This will display extra options, including a Placeholder Text field.

Simply add the text you’d like to display, and you’re all set!

Add placeholder text to Email field

Placeholder text is super useful in Dropdown fields, since it requires the user to select their own answer (no choice will be selected by default).

To set this up, you’ll need to add a Dropdown field to your form.

Add Dropdown field to form

Then click on the Dropdown field to open its Field Options. Within the Field Options, you’ll need to open the Advanced Options section. Here, you can add the Placeholder Text.

Add placeholder text to Dropdown field

That’s it! You can now add placeholder text to your form fields.

Next, would you like to learn more way to guide your users with instructional text? Be sure to check out our guide to adding non-input text and descriptions for all the ways to accomplish this.