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Implementer shortcuts: Getting Started, HTML Reference

Developer shortcuts: Technical Overview


The HTML Form Entry allows anyone with basic HTML programming skills and a knowledge of the OpenMRS system to create forms. It is an alternative to the Infopath FormEntry module in many (but not all) cases.

The key point about writing forms with this module is that you only have to write HTML (with some special tags for things in the OpenMRS model) and the module will automatically "just know" what to do when the user clicks the submit button.

Currently a form submission creates one encounter for one patient.

Comparison with Infopath FormEntry module


  • Forms are entered in-the-webapp. No need for installed software on the client.
  • You can review a form after entering it and have it look "just like you entered it"
  • Form submission immediately creates data (i.e. no waiting for queues to be processed.)


  • No WYSIWYG editor (though one is in the works)
  • Support for scripted behavior is limited (and requires Javascript programming)

Want to help improve this module? Contact ~darius.



  1. Download the module from the repository and install it.
  2. Create a Form in OpenMRS via Manage Forms. You do not need to build the form schema. You cannot use an existing form schema from a prior InfoPath form (even if it's marked as retired) or it will not show up if using both Form Entry and HTML Form Entry. Ticket # 1967
  3. Go to Manage HTML Forms, create a new form there (click "Add"), point it at the desired Form you created in OpenMRS (select it from the list), and put in the HTML that describes the form in the HTML box.  (For simplicity, consider copying and pasting the example HTML form below, and editing as desired.) For additional documentation on the HTML tags that are available, see the HTML Reference.


Adding a new or editing a form

Filling out a form

Note that if you put in an illegal value (per the constraints in the concept dictionary) it is immediately flagged.

Viewing a form

This looks pretty close to the initial entry.

Example HTML

Here's the code behind the screenshots

<table border="0" width="100%">
    <tr valign="top">
      <td width="50%">
        <table width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2">
              <td bgcolor="$lightgrey"><b>3. Anamnese</b></td>
		 Symptomes: <br/>
                 <obs conceptId="432" style="checkbox" labelText="Visite de routine, pas de probleme"/> <br/>
                 <obs conceptId="1364" rows="10" cols="60"/>

                Conditions socioeconomiques:
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="1309" answerLabel="necessite d'un emploi"/> <br/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="2862" answerLabel="faim"/> <br/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="2863" answerLabel="frais scolaire"/> <br/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="5622" answerLabel="autre"/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="2864" answerLabel="probleme avec maison"/> <br/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="2865" answerLabel="enterrement"/> <br/>
                  <obs conceptId="2861" answerConceptId="2866" answerLabel="inaccessibilite de l'eau"/>

                <b>Examen Clinique:</b> <br/>
		<table width="100%"><tr valign="top">
		<td width="50%">
			<obs conceptId="5088" labelText="Temp:"/> C <br/>
			<obs conceptId="5087" labelText="Pouls:"/>/min <br/>
			<obs conceptId="5089" labelText="Poids:"/>kg <br/>
			<obs conceptId="2137" labelText="IMC:"/>kg/m2 <br/>
		</td><td width="50%">
			<obs conceptId="5242" labelText="FR:"/>/min <br/>
			<obs conceptId="5085" labelText="TA:"/>
			<obs conceptId="5086" labelText="/"/> <br/>
			<obs conceptId="5090" labelText="Taille:"/>cm
      <td width="50%">
        <table width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2">
              <td bgcolor="$lightgrey"><b>4. Anamnese systematique et depistage TBC:</b></td>
			<table width="100%">
				<obsgroup groupingConceptId="2162">
						<obs conceptId="1734" answerConceptId="107" answerLabel="non"/>
						<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="107" answerLabel="oui"/>
					<td colspan="2">
						<obs conceptId="2160" labelText=""/>semaines
						<obs conceptId="2161" labelText=""/>mois
					<td><obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="2128" answerLabel="seche"/></td>
					<td><obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="970" answerLabel="hemoptysie"/></td>
					<td><obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="5957" answerLabel="productive"/></td>
					<td><obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="5960" answerLabel="dyspnee"/></td>
					<td colspan="2"><obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="136" answerLabel="douleur thoracique"/></td>
					<td align="right"><b>Sueurs nocturnes</b></td>
					<td colspan="2">
						<obs conceptId="1734" answerConceptId="6029" answerLabel="non"/>
						<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="2164" answerLabel="moins de 3 semaines"/>
						<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="2163" answerLabel="plus de 3 semaines"/>
				<tr valign="top">
					<td align="right"><b>Fievre</b></td>
					<td colspan="2">
						<obs conceptId="1734" answerConceptId="5945" answerLabel="non"/>
						<obsgroup groupingConceptId="1292">
							<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="5945" answerLabel="oui,"/>
							<obs conceptId="1294" labelText=""/>jours
							<obs conceptId="2160" labelText=""/>semaines
							<obs conceptId="2161" labelText=""/>mois
					<td align="right"><b>Perte de poids</b></td>
					<td colspan="2">
						<obs conceptId="1734" answerConceptId="832" answerLabel="non"/>
						<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="832" answerLabel="oui moins de 10%"/>
						<obs conceptId="1293" answerConceptId="1352" answerLabel="oui plus de 10%"/>
					<td align="right"><b>Contact TBC+:</b></td>
					<td colspan="2"><obs conceptId="2133" style="no_yes" labelText=""/></td>
		<b>Resultat du depistage TBC</b> <obs conceptId="2136" labelText="" answerConceptIds="664,703" answerLabels="negatif,positif"/>
              <td bgcolor="$lightgrey"><b>5. La sante sexuelle</b></td>
                <table border="0">
                      <td align="right">Sexuellement actif:</td>
                      <td><obs conceptId="2730" style="no_yes"/></td>
                      <td align="right">Dernieres regles</td>
                      <td><obs conceptId="968"/></td>
                      <td align="right">Planification familiale</td>
                      <td><obs conceptId="5271" style="no_yes"/></td>
                      <td align="right">Methode</td>
			<obs conceptId="374" answerConceptId="1720" answerLabel="abstinence"/>
			<obs conceptId="374" answerConceptId="780" answerLabel="contraceptifs oraux"/> <br/>
			<obs conceptId="374" answerConceptId="190" answerLabel="condoms"/>
			<obs conceptId="374" answerConceptId="5279" answerLabel="Depo-provera"/> <br/>
			<obs conceptId="374" answerConceptId="5622" answerLabel="autres"/>
			<obs conceptId="2877" labelText="(a specifier):"/>
                      <td align="right">Enceinte</td>
			<obs conceptId="5272" answerConceptIds="1066,1065" answerLabels="non,oui"/>
			<obs conceptId="5596" labelText="DPA"/>
                      <td align="right">Symptomes d'IST</td>
                      <td><obs conceptId="2731" size="40"/></td>

Required Privileges

The following privileges may be necessary for various activities. It may be necessary to create them manually, and add them to your user's role.

  • [<=1.4] "Patient Dashboard - View Html Forms Section" <-- Required to view the HTML Forms tab on the patient dashboard

  • [>=1.5] "Form Entry" <-- Required to enter forms generally

  • "Add Encounters" <-- Required to submit a form

Upcoming features

To request more features, ask for them on or create them as tickets in our JIRA site.


Want to build an interface out of nothing but htmlforms? The HtmlFormFlowsheet module provides an easy way of combining html forms into a simple patient-dashboard-type configurable interface. Or, you can embed flowsheet tables directly into your existing htmlforms. This module is particularly useful if you are trying to model patient-based flowsheet type data (such as an MDRTB CAT-IV treatment card, or a chronic care flowsheet). See: the htmlformflowsheet module wiki.

Release Notes

Version 1.7.0 (@revision 16276) (JIRA)


  • Install the 1.7.0 version of the module
  • On the Administration page, under Manage HTML Forms, choose "Migrate Names and Descriptions"
    • Once you run this migration, you may not go back to an earlier version of HTML Form Entry

New Features and Bugfixes

  • Improved workflow for creating and editing forms
    • HTML-21 Fix workflow of creating a new HTML Form
    • HTML-98 Provide a Starter Form
    • HTML-93 Improve navigation on the htmlform entry management pages
    • HTML-25 Improve display of the HTML Form Entry "Manage HTML Forms" page
    • HTML-22 Remove name column from the htmlformentry_html_form table
    • HTML-20 HTMLforms require unique form id
  • Display historic patient data on a form
    • HTML-96 Allow access to Logic service through HTML Form Entry
    • HTML-97 Allow access to existing Obs data in HTML Form Entry
  • Additional improvements
    • HTML-95 Discard Changes link doesn't work
    • HTML-30 Misleading error with empty form content

Version 1.6.8 (@revision 16009) (JIRA)

  • HTML Forms may now be shared via the Metadata Sharing Module
  • Support for scripting of forms using Javascript (See the Javascript reference in the HTML Reference)
  • Edit and Delete links are now displayed when viewing a form on the encounters tab (HTML-38)
  • encounterProvider tag now behaves intelligently when given no arguments
  • Programs, Locations, and default Provider may now be specified by UUID, which allows forms to be more portable (HTML-63)
  • Support for specifying a limited list of providers (HTML-55)
  • Support obs elements where the user chooses the question, but the answer is fixed, (conceptIds argument to the obs tag) (HTML-16)
  • Bugfixes in handling obs groups (when multiple obs groups on a form have the same questions but different answers) (HTML-78HTML-68)
  • For developers: support for exporting data entered via a particular section of a particular form (HTML-90)

Version 1.6.7 (@revision 15357)

  • Fixed bug when redisplaying forms containing obsgroups (introduced somewhere around version 1.6.4)
  • Improved performance by caching tag handlers
  • Added delete and print links to view-mode pop-up
  • Improved provider widget so that providers are sorted by name

Version 1.6.6 (@revision 14939)

  • Added style="autocomplete" option to obs tag
  • Added includeIf & excludeIf tags

Version 1.6.5 (@revision 14430)

  • Added ability to reference a concept by mapping, or by uuid
  • Added ability to handle nested obsgroups
  • Replaced dojo functionality with jquery
  • Minor bug fixes

Version (@revision 13717)

  • Changed all controllers so that sessionForm=false
  • Minor tweak to assure properly compatibility with HTML Form Designer module
  • Minor layout tweaks

Version 1.6.4

  • Updated so that HTML Forms now have uuids and other BaseOpenmrsMetadata. This will allow Html Forms to work with the sync module.


  • Fixed bug with HTML Form Entry privileges


  • Fixed #2261 - Problem using an obs with the same concept id in two obsgroups on one form
  • Fixed #2262 - encounterProvider defaults broken in OpenMRS 1.6
  • Updated rendering of date/time widgets to be compatible with OpenMRS 1.7

Version 1.6.3

  • Added support for handling observations of types Time and Datetime with appropriate widgets - #2231
  • Fixed bug with setting time using the Time widget
  • Fixed bug with rendering international characters in "Preview HTML Forms from File" on systems when UTF-8 is not set as default in JVM - #2218

Version 1.6.2

  • Significant performance improvement in generating forms
  • Fixed #1993 - HTML Form Entry visible to all users under Administration

Version 1.6.1

  • #2084 - Allow constrained options for numeric and text obs in HTML Form Entry

Version 1.6.0

  • Works with OpenMRS 1.6 (since encounter.provider is now a Person, not a User). Incompatible with version of OpenMRS before 1.6.

Version 1.5.4

  • Backported fix for bug setting time with Time widget

Version 1.5.3

  • Fixed Linux Velocity Errors: Failed to initialize org.apache.velocity.runtime.log.Log4JLogChute (#1953/#1960)

Version 1.5.2

  • Added ability to make encounterProvider default to the currently logged in user (#1925) (credit: Daniel Futerman)

Version 1.5.1

  • Added ability to enroll a patient in a program
  • Added ability to specify encounter time (#1910)


  • Bumped up the version number due to a build error, no code changes occurred


  • Fixed the log4j.xml file that ships with the module so that logs can be viewed in the openmrs admin interface again

Version 1.5.0

  • Exactly like 1.4.0 but it attaches to the new extension point in OpenMRS 1.5.
  • Incompatible with versions of OpenMRS before 1.5.0 RC1

Version 1.4.0

  • You may now edit a form after having entered it.
  • Enable opening a form based on either formId or htmlFormId
  • i18n:
    • translations element so you can localize your form for different languages
    • Fixed #1630 - htmlformentry: international characters not allowed
    • support for date formatting within the velocity lookup tag
    • support for translation of values within the velocity lookup tag
    • localization of boolean obs, location widget, and user widget
    • Support for answerCode/answerCodes in obs elements
  • Widgets and elements:
    • a section tag
    • a repeat element which provides the ability to display a repeating section with different parameters
    • a location widget to enter a locationId in valueText for concepts with text datatype
    • radio button inputs for coded questions
    • Support for answerClasses attribute in obs elements
    • boolean obs elements can have their yes/no text customized
    • encounterLocation and encounterProvider tags now allow default values
    • encounterDatetime is no longer allowed to be in the future
    • coded obs lists are now sorted by display name by default
  • Designing forms:
    • Display a Form Schema that shows concepts and the text that maps to them
    • ability to view an in-progress form during design from a file on the filesystem
    • fix htmlform edit page to ensure that the html form that is displayed in the textbox is first escaped correctly
  • Random:
    • enable opening a form based on either formId or htmlFormId
    • Fixed some inconsistent behavior because of an upstream bug in Concept.equals(Concept)

Version 1.3

  • Fixed #1302 - Html Form Entry module doesn't clear old error messages
  • Fixed #1303 - Html Form Entry module doesn't warn you if you leave out a required encounter metadata component

Version 1.2

  • Exactly like version 1.1 except compiled with Java 1.5 compliance.

Version 1.1

  • If your session expires while entering a long form you are prompted to re-login, instead of losing your work.
  • You may now fill out multiple forms simultaneously in different windows.

Version 1.0

  • Initial alpha release
  • No labels