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The Forms API

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The Files That Make Up Your Form

In order to implement a form, you provide a series of files. These files are placed into a subdirectory of the interface/forms/ directory of your OpenEMR install.

Required Files

Forms written to use the Forms API MUST provide the following files:

Name Function Called by
new.php Draw a form for users to input data into. dropdown box on right hand of encounters page
view.php Draw a form with data in it, allowing users to edit. selecting a form in an encounter, (optionally) show.php
report.php Draw part of a form displaying a simple 'report' of the form data. encounters.php and the medical records report function
table.sql Perform all of the SQL setup of the form (table creation, list insertion, etc) Executed by library/'s installSQL function, called when you hit the 'register' link for a form on the 'forms admin' page.

Optional Files

Other files can exist in your form's directory to provide additional funcionality, EG, a printing function, or a non-encounter form, or just to contain common code used by multiple files in your forms. the following is a list of common file names, and their functions (by convention).

Forms written to use the encounters form API MAY provide the following files:

Name Function Called by
info.txt A more user friendly name for your form. if present, displayed in forms admin page, and used as the name when referring to the form. library/ and interface/forms_admin/forms_admin.php
save.php Save the submitted form data to the database. new.php and view.php
print.php Print the current form, with the contents pulled from the database. view.php
show.php Show a the most recent (and optionally signed) form of this type(if applicable). left_nav.php(with modifications)

PHP Files to Include

Core APIs

For information about including the core APIs and using their functionality, please see The OpenEMR API.


Including globals.php (which is required) brings in many variables which are useful for finding components of openemr, or for inheriting the look and feel of other openemr code.


This is the file defining the OpenEMR core APIs, including access controls, and the third party forms API.

Form Functions
Function Use Returns
formFetch retrieve encounter based form contents from the sql engine results of mysql_fetch_array
formSubmit save encounter based form contents to the sql engine
formJump redirect the browser to either the top of the current encounter, or an optional URL.


This file contains functions for rendering form objects.

  • generate_form_field()

library/ contains the 'addForm' function, for linking a form into an encounter.

Files commonly referenced in HTML output

Referenced Used For
library/js/jquery.js jquery
$css_header the css theme of the site
../../forms/$form_folder/style.css the css theme of this form
library/dynarch_calendar.css the css theme of calendar objects
library/dynarch_calendar.js calendar base code
library/dynarch_calendar_en.js english calendar code


Function From Reason Returns
formHeader display a header for the form.
html_header_show library/ NO-OP; depreciated
formFooter display a form footer