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choice Field Type

choice Field Type

A multi-purpose field used to allow the user to “choose” one or more options. It can be rendered as a select tag, radio buttons, or checkboxes.

To use this field, you must specify either the choice_list or choices option.

Rendered as can be various tags (see below)
Inherited options
Parent type form (if expanded), field otherwise
Class Symfony\Component\Form\Extension\Core\Type\ChoiceType

Example Usage

The easiest way to use this field is to specify the choices directly via the choices option. The key of the array becomes the value that’s actually set on your underlying object (e.g. m), while the value is what the user sees on the form (e.g. Male).

$builder->add('gender', 'choice', array(
    'choices'   => array('m' => 'Male', 'f' => 'Female'),
    'required'  => false,

By setting multiple to true, you can allow the user to choose multiple values. The widget will be rendered as a multiple select tag or a series of checkboxes depending on the expanded option:

$builder->add('availability', 'choice', array(
    'choices'   => array(
        'morning'   => 'Morning',
        'afternoon' => 'Afternoon',
        'evening'   => 'Evening',
    'multiple'  => true,

You can also use the choice_list option, which takes an object that can specify the choices for your widget.

Select tag, Checkboxes or Radio Buttons

This field may be rendered as one of several different HTML fields, depending on the expanded and multiple options:

element type expanded multiple
select tag false false
select tag (with multiple attribute) false true
radio buttons true false
checkboxes true true

Field Options


type: array default: array()

This is the most basic way to specify the choices that should be used by this field. The choices option is an array, where the array key is the item value and the array value is the item’s label:

$builder->add('gender', 'choice', array(
    'choices' => array('m' => 'Male', 'f' => 'Female')


type: Symfony\Component\Form\Extension\Core\ChoiceList\ChoiceListInterface

This is one way of specifying the options to be used for this field. The choice_list option must be an instance of the ChoiceListInterface. For more advanced cases, a custom class that implements the interface can be created to supply the choices.


type: Boolean default: false

If true, the user will be able to select multiple options (as opposed to choosing just one option). Depending on the value of the expanded option, this will render either a select tag or checkboxes if true and a select tag or radio buttons if false. The returned value will be an array.


type: Boolean default: false

If set to true, radio buttons or checkboxes will be rendered (depending on the multiple value). If false, a select element will be rendered.


type: array default: array()

If this option is specified, then a sub-set of all of the options will be moved to the top of the select menu. The following would move the “Baz” option to the top, with a visual separator between it and the rest of the options:

$builder->add('foo_choices', 'choice', array(
    'choices' => array('foo' => 'Foo', 'bar' => 'Bar', 'baz' => 'Baz'),
    'preferred_choices' => array('baz'),

Note that preferred choices are only meaningful when rendering as a select element (i.e. expanded is false). The preferred choices and normal choices are separated visually by a set of dotted lines (i.e. -------------------). This can be customized when rendering the field:

  • Twig
    {{ form_widget(form.foo_choices, { 'separator': '=====' }) }}
  • PHP
    <?php echo $view['form']->widget($form['foo_choices'], array('separator' => '=====')) ?>


type: string or Boolean

This option determines whether or not a special “empty” option (e.g. “Choose an option”) will appear at the top of a select widget. This option only applies if both the expanded and multiple options are set to false.

  • Add an empty value with “Choose an option” as the text:

    $builder->add('states', 'choice', array(
        'empty_value' => 'Choose an option',
  • Guarantee that no “empty” value option is displayed:

    $builder->add('states', 'choice', array(
        'empty_value' => false,

If you leave the empty_value option unset, then a blank (with no text) option will automatically be added if and only if the required option is false:

// a blank (with no text) option will be added
$builder->add('states', 'choice', array(
    'required' => false,

Inherited options

These options inherit from the field type:


type: Boolean default: true

If true, an HTML5 required attribute will be rendered. The corresponding label will also render with a required class.

This is superficial and independent from validation. At best, if you let Symfony guess your field type, then the value of this option will be guessed from your validation information.


type: string default: The label is “guessed” from the field name

Sets the label that will be used when rendering the field. The label can also be directly set inside the template:

{{ form_label(form.name, 'Your name') }}


New in version 2.1: The read_only option was changed in 2.1 to render as a readonly HTML attribute. Previously, it rendered as a disabled attribute. Use the disabled option if you need the old behavior.

type: Boolean default: false

If this option is true, the field will be rendered with the readonly attribute so that the field is not editable.


New in version 2.1: The disabled option is new in version 2.1

type: boolean default: false

If you don’t want a user to modify the value of a field, you can set the disabled option to true. Any submitted value will be ignored.


type: Boolean default: false unless the form is compound

If true, any errors for this field will be passed to the parent field or form. For example, if set to true on a normal field, any errors for that field will be attached to the main form, not to the specific field.

New in version 2.1: The error_mapping option is new to Symfony 2.1.


type: array default: empty

This option allows you to modify the target of a validation error.

Imagine you have a custom method named matchingCityAndZipCode that validates whether the city and zip code match. Unfortunately, there is no “matchingCityAndZipCode” field in your form, so all that Symfony can do is display the error on top of the form.

With customized error mapping, you can do better: map the error to the city field so that it displays above it:

public function setDefaultOptions(OptionsResolverInterface $resolver)
        'error_mapping' => array(
            'matchingCityAndZipCode' => 'city',

Here are the rules for the left and the right side of the mapping:

  • The left side contains property paths.
  • If the violation is generated on a property or method of a class, its path is simply “propertyName”.
  • If the violation is generated on an entry of an array or ArrayAccess object, the property path is [indexName].
  • You can construct nested property paths by concatenating them, separating properties by dots. For example: addresses[work].matchingCityAndZipCode
  • The left side of the error mapping also accepts a dot ., which refers to the field itself. That means that any error added to the field is added to the given nested field instead.
  • The right side contains simply the names of fields in the form.


type: boolean

If you wish the field to be ignored when reading or writing to the object, you can set the mapped option to false.


type: boolean default: false

This option determines if the form will be mapped with data. This can be useful if you need a form to structure the view. See How to use the Virtual Form Field Option.


type: Boolean default: true

In most cases, if you have a name field, then you expect setName to be called on the underlying object. In some cases, however, setName may not be called. Setting by_reference ensures that the setter is called in all cases.

To explain this further, here’s a simple example:

$builder = $this->createFormBuilder($article);
    ->add('title', 'text')
        $builder->create('author', 'form', array('by_reference' => ?))
            ->add('name', 'text')
            ->add('email', 'email')

If by_reference is true, the following takes place behind the scenes when you call bind on the form:


Notice that setAuthor is not called. The author is modified by reference.

If you set by_reference to false, binding looks like this:

$author = $article->getAuthor();

So, all that by_reference=false really does is force the framework to call the setter on the parent object.

Similarly, if you’re using the collection form type where your underlying collection data is an object (like with Doctrine’s ArrayCollection), then by_reference must be set to false if you need the setter (e.g. setAuthors) to be called.


type: mixed default: array() if multiple or expanded, '' otherwise

This option determines what value the field will return when the empty_value choice is selected.

The true default value of this option depends on the field options:

  • If compound is true and data_class is set, then new $data_class();
  • If compound is true and no data_class is set, then array();
  • If compound is false, then null.


The compound option is set to true when the field actually represents a collection of fields (e.g. a form of fields).

For example, if you want the gender field to be set to null when no value is selected, you can do it like this:

$builder->add('gender', 'choice', array(
    'choices' => array(
        'm' => 'Male',
        'f' => 'Female'
    'required'    => false,
    'empty_value' => 'Choose your gender',
    'empty_data'  => null


If you want to set the empty_data option for your entire form class, see the cookbook article How to configure Empty Data for a Form Class

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.