Cognito Forms logo

Textbox Field

A Textbox Field is used to collect free-form, text-based responses. The user can type in any combination of letters or numbers in response to the question.


The label will display as the title of the field or the question that is being asked on the form. You can select the icon on the right to hide the label on the form.

Placeholder Text

Placeholder Text is a short prompt that describes the expected value of an input field. The prompt is displayed in the field before you enter a value, and disappears when you begin typing.


Single Line

Single Line textboxes are intended for short answer responses.

Multiple Lines

Multiple Line textboxes are intended for questions that may take more than a few words to answer such as a comments box on a contact form.


With data encryption enabled, you can securely collect passwords that are masked from view with asterisks. Learn more about data encryption.

Format Validation

Format validation allows you to validate (and potentially reformat) user input. For example: a Textbox field with format validation set to Numeric will require users to enter only numbers. You can choose from a variety of standard formats, or specify your own custom format:

  • Alphabetic - Requires users to enter only letters.
  • Numeric - Requires users to enter only numbers.
  • Alphanumeric - Requires users to enter only numbers or letters.
  • SSN - Requires users to enter a 9-digit Social Security number, which is automatically reformatted to ###-##-####.
  • Zip Code - Requires users to enter either a 5-digit or 9-digit Zip code.
  • IP Address - Requires users to enter a 4-number IP address, separated by periods (#.#.#.#.)
  • MAC Address - Requires users to enter a 12 character MAC address, which is automatically reformatted to ###-##-####.
  • Custom Mask - Requires users to enter a numeric or alphabetic value in a custom format. When creating your mask, use # for numbers, @ for letters, and () around optional inputs. Then, write the error message that appears when user input is not formatted correctly.

  • Custom Regular Expression - Enter a custom regular expression to validate user input. For example; if you wanted a user to input a Hex color code (typically formatted as a "#" followed by 3/6 numbers or letters between A-F), you could use the following regular expression:


After you include an error message as well, the user will encounter an error if their code is not formatted correctly:

You also have the ability to reformat a regular expression. For example; you can require users to enter either "abcd" or "ab cd" using the following expression: 

^(ab) ?(cd)$

You can then reformat the expression to ensure that there is a space between "ab" and "cd":

$1 $2

Now, if a users enters "abcd", the Textbox will automatically reformat the string to include a space.

Regular expressions can be quite tricky depending on what you're trying to achieve. There are many useful tools online that can help you write your regular expressions; you can find a cheat sheet to review some of the basics here. Additionally, to test your expressions, RegExr is a great tool.

Default Value

Default values can be used to automatically populate the field's value for the user. The user can then choose to change the default value before submitting the form.

The default value can always be the same value or can change based on certain conditions such as a selected value of another field on the form. To set a changing default value, click the lightening bolt icon in the field to open the Conditional Logic Builder.

Number of Characters

Set a minimum and/or maximum number of characters that the user is allowed to enter into this field. When the number of characters entered is above the maximum or below the minimum, an error message will display, and the form cannot be submitted until the specified number of characters have been entered.

Setting the minimum or maximum number of characters to 0 is the same as not having a number specified.

Help Text

Help text can be used to assist the user by providing additional instructions. Help text will display directly under the field.

Show This Field

By default, fields will always display on the form. However, you may want to hide specific fields or sections based on certain conditions such as a selected value of another field on the form.

  • Always - Field is always shown.
  • When - Field will only display when specific conditions are met. After selecting this option, the Conditional Logic Builder dialog will display allowing you to select when the field or section should be displayed.
  • Internally - Field will not display on the public form and will only display when a Cognito Forms user is editing the form from the Entries page.
  • Never - Field will never display.

Require This Field

Requiring a field will make sure the user provides a response. When a field is required, an error message will display, and the form cannot be submitted until a value has been added to the field. Required fields are indicated by a red asterisk next to the label. By default, fields are never required.

  • Always - Field is always required. User must provide a response in order to submit the form.
  • When - Field is required only when specific conditions are met. After selecting this option, the Conditional Logic Builder dialog will display allowing you to select when the field is required.
  • Never - Field is not required. This is the default behavior.

Limit Quantity

You can set quantity limits and track quantities for your field. Quantity limits are useful for product orders, ticket sales, signups, reservations, and any other scenario for which there's a limit to the number of times a specific value may be selected.

  • No Duplicates - Limit the quantity allowed to just one. Once your limit is set, you can write a custom error message to display when the limit is exceeded.
  • Specific Quantity - Specify a quantity limit greater than one. This value can be either a constant integer, or an integer calculation.
  • Never - Quantity limits are not enforced. This option is set by default.

Custom Error

You can set a custom error message that will display under your field when specified conditions become true. The conditional logic builder will allow you to add any number of rules for validating your field. Learn more about the custom error option.

Printable View