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Dynamically Set ACF Field Default Value

  • I needed to pass a variable dynamically to set the default for a field in a front-end form. I ended up using a PHP Closure in the add_filter call. I realize that you could use a class/object but this seems cleaner.

    Here is more info for those that are interested: PHP Closures, hooks, and WordPress

    Do you think this would be helpful to add to the documentation? I know that you have the post on setting the default values for selects, but this would allow people to dynamically set the default value for any field dynamically.

     $member_id = $view->member_id; // variable in script to be passed coming from object (could be any variable.)  
             function($field) use ($member_id) { 
              // the variable after 'use' ($member_id) indicates that it is the one to 'use' from the main script.  $field is coming from 'acf/load_field'.  
    	     $field['default_value'] = $member_id;
    	     return $field;



  • Hi @CommandZ

    Thanks for sharing your code, but I think this is a bit advanced to make it onto the ACF docs. It may confuse many new comers to WP which find the basics a handful.


  • You’re right Elliot. ACF is an abstraction layer, an easy and fast one at that :), and most will not need to do the above. Thanks for putting this together. Can’t wait to see your paid version!

  • That was a great help @commandz.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • @commandz – Any chance you’re still checking this? (Or anyone else who understands it?) I am trying to do this very thing, but I need to populate the default value with the value of another ACF field from a specific page.

    Here’s how I tried to implement it in functions.php, but it’s not working:

    $address = get_field('center_address', 342);
         function($field) use ($address) {           
    	     $field['default_value'] = $address;
    	     return $field;

    I’m trying to populate the value of field “contact_info” with the value from “center_address”, from post 342. I’m trying to do this on a backend form on the post editing screen, not a frontend form.

    I’m using ACF Pro. The center_address and contact_person field are text fields.


  • Nevermind. I answered my own question. I needed to get rid of “use” and format it like so:

    function my_acf_load_field( $field ) {
         $address = get_field('center_address', 342);
         $field['default_value'] = $address;
         return $field;
    add_filter('acf/load_field/name=contact_person', 'my_acf_load_field');
    Exactly what I needed, fantastic!

    Also, if you want to make that field be uneditable/disabled add this (before the return):
    $field['disabled'] = 1;

  • This is great, thanks for sharing.

    If there is no field, such as not logged in so can’t get first name, at the moment it displays 0 in the input, how can I set this to be empty/blank if no field?

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