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Author image T.J. Mather


HTML::FillInForm - Populates HTML Forms with data.


This module automatically inserts data from a previous HTML form into the HTML input, textarea, radio buttons, checkboxes and select tags. It is a subclass of HTML::Parser and uses it to parse the HTML and insert the values into the form tags.

One useful application is after a user submits an HTML form without filling out a required field. HTML::FillInForm can be used to redisplay the HTML form with all the form elements containing the submitted info.


This examples fills data into a HTML form stored in $htmlForm from CGI parameters that are stored in $q. For example, it will set the value of any "name" textfield to "John Smith".

  my $q = new CGI;

  $q->param("name","John Smith");

  my $fif = new HTML::FillInForm;
  my $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
                          fobject => $q);

Note CGI.pm is not required - see using fdat below. Also you can use a CGI.pm-like object such as Apache::Request.



Call new() to create a new FillInForm object:

  $fif = new HTML::FillInForm;

To fill in a HTML form contained in a scalar $html:

  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
             fobject => $q);

Returns filled in HTML form contained in $html with data from $q. $q is required to have a param() method that works like CGI's param().

  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
             fobject => [$q1, $q2]);

As of 1.04 the object passed does not need to return all its keys with a empty param() call.

Note that you can pass multiple objects as an array reference.

  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
             fdat => \%fdat);

Returns filled in HTML form contained in $html with data from %fdat. To pass multiple values using %fdat use an array reference.

Alternately you can use

  $output = $fif->fill(arrayref => \@array_of_lines,
             fobject => $q);


  $output = $fif->fill(file => 'form.tmpl',
             fobject => $q);

Suppose you have multiple forms in a html and among them there is only one form you want to fill in, specify target.

  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
                       fobject => $q,
                       target => 'form1');

This will fill in only the form inside

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

Note that this method fills in password fields by default. To disable, pass

  fill_password => 0

To disable the filling of some fields, use the ignore_fields option:

  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
                       fobject => $q,
                       ignore_fields => ['prev','next']);

Note that this module does not clear fields if you set the value to undef. It will clear fields if you set the value to an empty array or an empty string. For example:

  # this will leave the form element foo untouched
  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
             fdat => { foo => undef });

  # this will set clear the form element foo
  $output = $fif->fill(scalarref => \$html,
             fdat => { foo => "" });

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



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 masonhq.com website at http://www.masonhq.com/?FAQ:HTTPAndHTML#h-how_can_i_populate_form_values_automatically_


This documentation describes HTML::FillInForm module version 1.06.


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 CGI.pm 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 tjmather@maxmind.com.


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. CGI.pm 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: http://www.perlmonks.org/index.pl?node_id=274534


(c) 2005 TJ Mather, tjmather@maxmind.com, http://www.maxmind.com/

All rights reserved. This package is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


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


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

  Tatsuhiko Miyagawa
  Boris Zentner
  Dave Rolsky
  Patrick Michael Kane
  Ade Olonoh
  Tom Lancaster
  Martin H Sluka
  Mark Stosberg
  Jonathan Swartz
  Trevor Schellhorn
  Jim Miner
  Paul Lindner
  Maurice Aubrey
  Andrew Creer
  Joseph Yanni
  Philip Mak
  Jost Krieger
  Gabriel Burka
  Bill Moseley
  James Tolley
  Dan Kubb