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HTML::FillInForm(3) User Contributed Perl Documentation HTML::FillInForm(3)


HTML::FillInForm - Populates HTML Forms with data.


version 2.22


Fill HTML form with data.

  $output = HTML::FillInForm->fill( \$html,   $q );
  $output = HTML::FillInForm->fill( \@html,   [$q1,$q2] );
  $output = HTML::FillInForm->fill( \*HTML,   \%data );
  $output = HTML::FillInForm->fill( 't.html', [\%data1,%data2] );

The HTML can be provided as a scalarref, arrayref, filehandle or file. The data can come from one or more hashrefs, or objects which support a param() method, like, Apache::Request, etc.


This module fills in an HTML form with data from a Perl data structure, allowing you to keep the HTML and Perl separate.

Here are two common use cases:

1. A user submits an HTML form without filling out a required field. You want to redisplay the form with all the previous data in it, to make it easy for the user to see and correct the error.

2. You have just retrieved a record from a database and need to display it in an HTML form.


The basic syntax is seen above the Synopsis. There are a few additional options.


target => 'form1'

Suppose you have multiple forms in a html file and only want to fill in one.

  $output = HTML::FillInForm->fill(\$html, $q, target => 'form1');

This will fill in only the form inside

  <FORM name="form1"> ... </FORM>

fill_password => 0

Passwords are filled in by default. To disable:

  fill_password => 0

ignore_fields => []

To disable the filling of some fields:

    ignore_fields => ['prev','next']

disable_fields => []

To disable fields from being edited:

    disable_fields => [ 'uid', 'gid' ]

invalid_fields => []

To mark fields as being invalid (CSS class set to "invalid" or whatever you set invalid_class to):

    invalid_fields => [ 'uid', 'gid' ]

invalid_class => "invalid"

The CSS class which will be used to mark fields invalid. Defaults to "invalid".

clear_absent_checkboxes => 0

Absent fields are not cleared or in any way changed. This is not what you want when you deal with checkboxes which are not sent by browser at all when cleared by user.

To remove "checked" attribute from checkboxes and radio buttons and attribute "selected" from options of select lists for which there's no data:

    clear_absent_checkboxes => 1

File Upload fields

File upload fields cannot be supported directly. Workarounds include asking the user to re-attach any file uploads or fancy server-side storage and referencing. You are on your own.

Clearing Fields

Fields are cleared if you set their value to an empty string or empty arrayref but not undef:

  # this will leave the form element foo untouched
  HTML::FillInForm->fill(\$html, { foo => undef });
  # this will set clear the form element foo
  HTML::FillInForm->fill(\$html, { foo => "" });

It has been suggested to add a option to change the behavior so that undef values will clear the form elements. Patches welcome.

You can also use "clear_absent_checkboxes" option to clear checkboxes, radio buttons and selects without corresponding keys in the data:

    # this will set clear the form element foo (and all others except
    # bar)
    HTML::FillInForm->fill(\$html, { bar => 123 },
        clear_absent_checkboxes => 1);

Old syntax

You probably need to read no further. The remaining docs concern the 1.x era syntax, which is still supported.


Call new() to create a new FillInForm object:

  $fif = HTML::FillInForm->new;

In theory, there is a slight performance benefit to calling new() before fill() if you make multiple calls to fill() before you destroy the object. Benchmark before optimizing.

fill ( old syntax )

Instead of having your HTML and data types auto-detected, you can declare them explicitly in your call to fill():

HTML source options:

    arrayref  => @html
    scalarref => $html
    file      => \*HTML 
    file      => 't.html'

Fill Data options:

    fobject   => $data_obj  # with param() method
    fdat      => \%data

Additional methods are also available:



It's possible to use an alternate parser to HTML::Parser if the alternate provides a sufficiently compatible interface. For example, when a Pure Perl implementation of HTML::Parser appears, it could be used for portability. The syntax is simply to provide a "parser_class" to new();

   HTML::FillInForm->new( parser_class => 'MyAlternate::Parser' );



To use HTML::FillInForm in Apache::PageKit is easy. It is automatically called for any page that includes a <form> tag. It can be turned on or off by using the "fill_in_form" configuration option.

Apache::ASP v2.09 and above

HTML::FillInForm is now integrated with Apache::ASP. To activate, use

  PerlSetVar FormFill 1
  $Response->{FormFill} = 1


Using HTML::FillInForm from HTML::Mason is covered in the FAQ on the website at <>


Note that you might want to think about caching issues if you have password fields on your page. There is a discussion of this issue at

In summary, some browsers will cache the output of CGI scripts, and you can control this by setting the Expires header. For example, use "-expires" in or set "browser_cache" to no in Config.xml file of Apache::PageKit.


Kato Atsushi has translated these docs into Japanese, available from


Please submit any bug reports to


Requires Perl 5.005 and HTML::Parser version 3.26.

I wrote this module because I wanted to be able to insert CGI data into HTML forms, but without combining the HTML and Perl code. and Embperl allow you so insert CGI data into forms, but require that you mix HTML with Perl.

There is a nice review of the module available here: <>


HTML::Parser, Data::FormValidator, HTML::Template, Apache::PageKit


Fixes, Bug Reports, Docs have been generously provided by:

  Alex Kapranoff                Miika Pekkarinen
  Michael Fisher                Sam Tregar
  Tatsuhiko Miyagawa            Joseph Yanni
  Boris Zentner                 Philip Mak
  Dave Rolsky                   Jost Krieger
  Patrick Michael Kane          Gabriel Burka
  Ade Olonoh                    Bill Moseley
  Tom Lancaster                 James Tolley
  Martin H Sluka                Dan Kubb
  Mark Stosberg                 Alexander Hartmaier
  Jonathan Swartz               Paul Miller
  Trevor Schellhorn             Anthony Ettinger
  Jim Miner                     Simon P. Ditner
  Paul Lindner                  Michael Peters
  Maurice Aubrey                Trevor Schellhorn
  Andrew Creer



TJ Mather,


This software is copyright (c) 2000 by TJ Mather,

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.

2021-10-07 perl v5.38.2