Gravity Forms Populate Anything

Dynamically filter and populate field choices and values with posts, users, taxonomies, terms, Gravity Forms entries, and databases. Pretty much anything!

What does it do?

GF Populate Anything allows you to dynamically filter and populate field choices and values with posts, users, taxonomies, terms, Gravity Forms entries, and databases. Pretty much anything! Choices and values can be filtered based on the values entered/selected in other fields allowing you to fetch and populate fresh, dynamic data as the user interacts with the form.

GF Populate Anything also provides support for Live Merge Tags which allows you to display dynamic, filterable data in your field labels, descriptions, and content.


  • Dynamically populate field choices.
    Populate any choice-based field (e.g. Drop Down, Radio Buttons, Checkboxes) with dynamic, filterable data.
  • Dynamically populate field values.
    Automatically populate field values with dynamic, filterable data.
  • Dynamic filtering by user-specified input.
    Filter and populate fresh, dynamic data based on values/selections made in other fields.
  • Chain selects, radio buttons & more!
    Chain the available field choices based on selections in other fields.
  • Live Merge Tags.
    Add auto-updating merge tags anywhere inside your form (e.g. labels, descriptions, choices, values, HTML content).
  • Specialized, built-in data sources.
    Populate Posts, Users, Taxonomies, Terms, and Gravity Forms entries with specialized options for each. For everything else, populate directly from the WordPress database.
  • Flexible choice and input templates.
    Complete control over the populated value and label for choices and inputs.
  • Results preview.
    See the exact data that will be populated based on your filters right in the field settings.
  • Improve data accuracy.
    Improve accuracy by allowing users to select from an existing datasource rather than entering the information manually.
  • Automatic updates.
    Get updates and the latest features right in your dashboard.
  • Awesome support.
    We’re here to help! And we mean it.

How do I enable this functionality?

After GF Populate Anything is installed, you’ll want to enable “Populate Choices Dynamically” or “Populate Value Dynamically” for a given field in the Gravity Forms Form Editor. Here’s what that looks like when populating choices.

Add a field that supports choices such as Drop Down or a text-based field such as Single Line Text.
Enable dynamic population for the fields that you wish to dynamically populate.
Select an object type that you wish to populate the field with.
Optionally add filters to show the desired objects.
Designate what object properties should be displayed by setting the Choice or Value Template.

Feature Details

Populating Choices Dynamically

If you wish to dynamically populate a choice-based field’s choices, you can do so by enabling “Populate choices dynamically” in the field’s settings.

Example Configuration

In the example below, we configured a radio button field to have its choices dynamically populated with users who have the “Administrator” role.


Here’s what the configured radio button field looks like on the frontend.

Populating Values Dynamically

Populating values with GF Populate Anything is similar to how populating choices work. Enable “Populate value(s) dynamically” in the field’s settings and then configure it accordingly.

Example Configuration

In the example below, we configured a single line text field to have its value populated with the post title of the most recently added post.

You can dynamically populate a field’s choices and value(s) if it supports choices!


Here’s what the configured single line text field looks like on the frontend.

Custom Value Templates

When populating choices or values, you may want to combine different properties of the object being populated. This is possible with Custom Value Templates.

To enable, scroll to the bottom of your Value or Choice template dropdown and select the “✎ Custom Value” option. Use the merge tag selector to insert your desired object properties and any static content you would like to display.

When targeting an object property with an array-like value, you can target a specific property of that array by adding it as an additional modifier. Examples: {post:meta_key:property}, {post:address:country}.

Filtering Objects

Filter Groups

Create groups of conditions that filter which objects are populated into the field. Add a condition to your group with the (+)/(-) icons to the right. All conditions in a group must be true for the group to match. Add another group by clicking the “Add Filter Group”. Objects that match any group will be populated into the field.

You can use the plus icon to add an AND filter condition. Adding Filter Groups creates an OR condition, but multiple filters in a single group are considered an AND condition.

Filter Operators
  • is
  • is not
  • is in – filter by a comma-separated list of values
  • is not in – filter by a comma-separated list of values
  • > (greater than)
  • < (less than) * >= (greater than or equal to)
  • <= (less than or equal to)
  • contains
  • starts with
  • ends with
  • is LIKE – filter by a single value
  • Available wildcards
  • % – Zero, one, or multiple characters
  • _ – Single character
Filter Property

Depending on the object type you select, you will have different properties to select from.

  • Author
  • Parent Post
  • Post Content
  • Post ID
  • Post Status
  • Post Title
  • Post Type
  • Post Taxonomies (Dynamic)
  • Post Meta (Dynamic)
Taxonomy Term
  • Name
  • Parent Term
  • Slug
  • Taxonomy Term
  • Term ID
  • Term Meta (Dynamic)
  • Display Name
  • Role
  • User Email
  • User ID
  • User URL
  • Username
  • User Meta (Dynamic)

Security Note: On multisite installations, the User object type will only search users from the current site.

Gravity Forms Entry
  • Created by (User ID)
  • Entry ID
  • Fields (Dynamic)

The Database Object Type’s properties are dependent on the table you select. Once you select a table, the properties will be all available columns on the MySQL Table.

Security Note: On single site installations, the Database object type is only available to administrators.

Filter Values

After selecting the filter property, the Filter Value dropdown will be populated with a list of values that apply for that property. For example, if you are populating posts into a field and add a filter condition for the “Post Status” property, the Filter Value dropdown would be populated with a list of available post statuses (e.g. Draft, Pending Review, Published).

Form Field Values

Objects can also be filtered by values entered by the user when the form is filled out. After selecting the filter property and operator, select the desired field from the Form Field Values option group. When a user enters a value into the specific field, the objects populated into this field will be filtered by that value.

Field Value Objects

One common use case with GF Populate Anything is populating field values from a field with dynamically populated choices. You can do this by manually configuring the Object Type and Filters to use field values, but an even easier way is to use a Field Value Object.

Field Value Objects are available on any field that supports values when there is another choice-based field that has dynamically populated choices on the same form.

Example Field Value Object Configuration

In the example below, we wired up a single text field to display the user ID of the selected user in the radio field above it.

The Fields

The Selected User ID Field Settings

The Frontend

Live Merge Tags

When GF Populate Anything is activated, any merge tag prefixed with an @ will be automatically replaced when its associated field is updated. Live Merge Tags can be used anywhere within your form (labels, descriptions, choices, values, and HTML content).

Fallback Modifier

Live Merge Tags support a special modifier :fallback which can be used to display content when the merge tag does not have a value. For example, if the user can optionally provide their name but you want to greet them regardless, you could use, Hello @{Name:1.3:fallback[there]}. If a user entered their name as David, it would read Hello David but if the user entered no name, it would read Hello there.

Example: Use Field Value in Another Field’s Label
Example: Show Total in Submit Button

Count the Number of Results

Use the {count} merge tag as a Custom Value Template to populate the number of returned results instead of a value. This is useful for conditional logic where you want to show or hide a field based on how many objects exist.

For example, say you have an order form and the first 50 customers to purchase should receive a discounted price. Populate a hidden number field with the entry count.

That count can be used with conditional logic to show a Discount field to the first 50 customers.

The “Only Show Unique Results” checkbox applies to the {count} merge tag. Uncheck this to count all entries.


Google Sheets

This integration requires GP Google Sheets Beta 2.

Populate data directly from Google Sheets with this dreamy integration powered by our very popular GP Google Sheets perk.

Connecting a Spreadsheet

  1. Activate GP Google Sheets and authorize your Google account via the Google Accounts plugin setting.
  2. Click Show Spreadsheets to reveal a list of spreadsheets that have been connected via this account.
  3. Click Add Spreadsheet to connect an existing spreadsheet and give Populate Anything access to populate data from that Google Sheet.

    Note: Populate Anything will automatically have access to any sheet that has been authorized for use with GP Google Sheets.

Populating from Google Sheets

This example will walk you through populating choices into a Drop Down field but, remember, you can also populate values for fields as well.

  1. Navigate to the field settings for your desired field.
  2. Select “Google Sheet” as the “Type” setting.
  3. Select the desired spreadsheet and sheet name from which you would like to populate in the “Spreadsheet” and “Sheet” settings.
  4. Configure which columns from the Google Sheet should be used for the choices’ value and label respectively.

    Pro Tip: Use the “✎ Custom Value” option to combine data from multiple columns.

Known Limitations

  • List fields can only be populated to/from other List fields. If you’re using multi-column lists, the column titles must match.
  • Dynamic checkboxes are not available when exporting form data.
  • When populating from custom database tables, the primary key must be the first column of the database.
  • Populating File Upload fields is not supported.
  • Using checkboxes as Form Field Values in filters is not supported
  • Live Merge Tags do not work with HTML fields in GravityFlow Workflows in the WordPress Admin
  • Live Merge Tags in field labels of the form connected to a WooCommerce Product with the WooCommerce Gravity Forms Product Add-ons do not render in the cart
  • Live Merge Tags cannot be used within <script> tags.
  • Only works with database types supported by wpdb (default options are MySQL and MariaDB). PostgreSQL is currently not supported.
  • Populate Anything supports hydrating choices in GravityEdit, but it does not support updating choices that depend on other field values.
  • Due to restrictions around the Google Sheets API, Populate Anything’s filtering does not work well when populating large (more than one million cells) Google Sheets datasets.
    • Solution: As a workaround, consider using a plugin such as wpDataTables to create a custom MySQL table from a Google Sheet. Then, you can use Populate Anything to populate the data from this table as a Database object type for the most optimal performance.
  • Populate Anything does not work when editing an entry via wpDataTables edit modal.


You can use the free Loco Translate plugin to create translations for any of our Perks. If you’ve never used Loco translate before, here’s a tutorial written for beginners.

Developer’s Notes

By default, Gravity Forms will display choice values in Entry List and Entry Detail views. Populate Anything shows choice labels instead. We made this decision due to overwhelming customer demand and the fact that Populate Anything is often used with values that aren’t easy to read (like posts, terms, and entry IDs). For these scenarios, the label is often easier to understand.


Why aren’t users created with the Gravity Forms User Registration populating in my multisite?

When a user is created with the GF User Registration Add-On in a multisite install, they aren’t given a primary_blog meta key in the database, and Populate Anything specifically looks for that key to determine which site they belong to.

Use the gppa_object_type_user_limit_to_current_site hook as a workaround.

I’m not seeing all results?

By default, Populate Anything will only display up to 500 results to guarantee the best performance, but we do have a way of increasing this number.

Use the gppa_query_limit hook to adjust the maximum number of results that can be returned in your query.

Do note that increasing the limit to allow for large queries will increase memory usage on your site. Depending on the number of results queried, this can cause out-of-memory errors. Some object types, such as the Entry object, also require more memory. One way to combat this is to set up a field (or multiple) that can filter down the results of subsequent fields.

When using the “Only Show Unique Results” setting, the unique results are filtered from the first 500 results. This means that not all unique results may be returned if there are more than 500 total results.

As an alternative to increasing the maximum query limit, this handy snippet will check if the Order By, Value Template, and Label Template across the results are all the same. If so, it will update the query to only select the distinct values from the Order By column. This process ensures that all unique results are returned while avoiding any performance issues that could result from increasing the query limit.

How do I add a placeholder or a blank space to the first populated option in a Drop Down?

You can use the Placeholder setting on the Appearance tab to add a default choice:

Please note that Gravity Forms won’t let you add a space as the placeholder, but you can add a non-breakable space ( ) and it will create a blank choice.

How do I add Checkbox Values as Choices?

By default, Gravity Forms stores checkbox values as arrays separated by commas, and when Populate Anything pulls in those values, it populates them as they are stored. Luckily, we have a snippet that will populate checkboxes from an entry as choices: GP Populate Anything: Checkboxes from an Entry as Choices

How can I differentiate similar items when populating into a Drop Down?

When populating items with the same or similar choice labels, you can differentiate between the similar items by following these steps:

  1. Activate the Enable enhanced user interface option on the Appearance tab.
  2. Set the Choice Template’s Label to a custom value by selecting “Add Custom Value” from the Drop Down and then entering a custom template. For example, this will show the post title and the post ID.

The end result is a searchable Drop Down field with a unique identifier for each choice.

How can I filter Posts published in the last month?

Populate Anything’s results can be filtered on relative dates using PHP Relative Formats as a Custom Value. For example, to filter Posts that were published in the last month, set the Filter like this:

In the context of relative dates, greater than > means “after” and less than < means “before”.

When a meta field is created with a custom field editor, such as Advanced Custom Fields, the newly created field is simply a placeholder. Until it is used in a post, it won’t be found by Populate Anything.

By default, Populate Anything has a 1000 record limit when accessing meta values for a Post. We have a snippet that will let you modify that limit. To use it, change 1000 to whatever limit you’d like to set.

Add the following CSS to automatically disable Multi-Page Navigation links while data populates.

Can I populate data from another database?

By default, Populate Anything will only show the database that the current WordPress installation is on. Use the following snippet to register an additional database with custom credentials. Do note that only SQL databases are supported.

The snippet requires some configuration, which is covered in the installation video linked in the snippet’s description.

Why doesn’t conditional logic work when using Live Merge Tags in choice-based fields?

Conditional logic will not trigger when using Live Merge Tags in choice-based fields. For example, say you are using Live Merge Tags to populate the previously entered seller and client names in a Drop Down field.

In order to use conditional logic with these choices, you need to check Show Values and remove the Live Merge Tags from the values for each choice field.

How can I use empty field values as filter values?

It’s possible to allow empty field values as filter values by using the gppa_has_empty_field_filter_value filter hook. This is useful when you want to populate a value when a filter’s value matches or is blank.

To use the filter, replace “123” with the form ID and “4” with the field ID for which empty filter values should be honored.

add_filter( 'gppa_has_empty_field_filter_value_123_4', '__return_false' );


Gravity Forms has hundreds of hooks. Check out our Gravity Forms Hook Reference for the most thorough guide to Gravity Forms’ many actions and filters.

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