Warning: You are browsing the documentation for Symfony 2.1, which is no longer maintained.

Read the updated version of this page for Symfony 5.3 (the current stable version).

entity Field Type

entity Field Type

A special choice field that’s designed to load options from a Doctrine entity. For example, if you have a Category entity, you could use this field to display a select field of all, or some, of the Category objects from the database.

Rendered as can be various tags (see Select tag, Checkboxes or Radio Buttons)
Overridden Options
  • choices
  • choice_list
Inherited options
Parent type choice
Class Symfony\Bridge\Doctrine\Form\Type\EntityType

Basic Usage

The entity type has just one required option: the entity which should be listed inside the choice field:

$builder->add('users', 'entity', array(
    'class' => 'AcmeHelloBundle:User',
    'property' => 'username',

In this case, all User objects will be loaded from the database and rendered as either a select tag, a set or radio buttons or a series of checkboxes (this depends on the multiple and expanded values). If the entity object does not have a __toString() method the property option is needed.

Using a Custom Query for the Entities

If you need to specify a custom query to use when fetching the entities (e.g. you only want to return some entities, or need to order them), use the query_builder option. The easiest way to use the option is as follows:

use Doctrine\ORM\EntityRepository;
// ...

$builder->add('users', 'entity', array(
    'class' => 'AcmeHelloBundle:User',
    'query_builder' => function(EntityRepository $er) {
        return $er->createQueryBuilder('u')
            ->orderBy('u.username', 'ASC');

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: string required

The class of your entity (e.g. AcmeStoreBundle:Category). This can be a fully-qualified class name (e.g. Acme\StoreBundle\Entity\Category) or the short alias name (as shown prior).


type: string

This is the property that should be used for displaying the entities as text in the HTML element. If left blank, the entity object will be cast into a string and so must have a __toString() method.


type: string

This is a property path (e.g. author.name) used to organize the available choices in groups. It only works when rendered as a select tag and does so by adding optgroup tags around options. Choices that do not return a value for this property path are rendered directly under the select tag, without a surrounding optgroup.


type: Doctrine\ORM\QueryBuilder or a Closure

If specified, this is used to query the subset of options (and their order) that should be used for the field. The value of this option can either be a QueryBuilder object or a Closure. If using a Closure, it should take a single argument, which is the EntityRepository of the entity.


type: string default: the default entity manager

If specified, the specified entity manager will be used to load the choices instead of the default entity manager.

Overridden Options


default: null


default: all entities selected

The choices will default to all entities selected with one of the options that are documented above.

Inherited options

These options inherit from the choice type:


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.


If you are working with a collection of Doctrine entities, it will be helpful to read the documention for the collection Field Type as well. In addition, there is a complete example in the cookbook article How to Embed a Collection of Forms.


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,

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.

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