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How to use ACF in a plugins admin page

  • Hey guys
    First of all: ACF is awesome! And i will never regret buying the repeater add-on. Thanks for putting time into developing and maintaining this plugin.

    I am trying to load an field group in the settings page of a plugin that I’m making. It’s not really working out and I would like your help.

    My main question is:
    On which hook should I load acf_form_head() ?

    I learned from the documentation that the function acf_form_head(); should be called before the header function in a theme. After that the acf_form($options); can be called and we’re all good. Works like a charm! In a theme. But I’m developing a plugin.

    In the body of my template I call the acf_form function just like I did in the template and the right form loads. Of course not all functionality works because I need the call the acf_form_head().

    I have used several hooks but without luck.

    add_action('admin_init', array($this->handler, 'add_afc_head')); // same for the init hook
    The form styles are loaded but the console returns the following error on load:
    Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property ‘post_id’ of null
    If i click the add image button in my field group the following error appears in the console:
    Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property ‘image’ of null

    The only thing the add_afc_head function does is call acf_form_head and write to my log so I know the function has been called.

    So… Am I using the wrong hook or do I do something else wrong?

    Thanks for helping out!

    • Elliot

    • October 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Hi @skuijers

    The acf_form_head function is only intended to be used in a front end template. It can’t be used in the backend in the same way.

    For ACF to work, you will need to use the acf/input/head, acf/input/enqueue_scripts actions. Perhaps you could look in the core/controllers/input.php file to see how ACF adds the necessary code to the post page?


  • @elliot, Thank you for the clear & quick reaction.

    I have had a quick look in the input.php file and think I’ll be able to find my way from there. When I have done some coding I’ll let you know how it worked out.

  • hey @skuijers, this is exactly the question I’ve been trying to answer for a few hours! Have you made any progress?

    Based on what I know at this point, my approach is to

    1. Register my field groups.

    2. Before rendering my settings page call


    3. Add a tag in my settings page template that renders the field.

    The main conceptual block I’ve run into is how I should pass the “location” params in the register_field_group() call so it reference my settings page. The plugin slug I’m using is “es_awp” (i.e. the settings URL is `’ so I figured I could do something like this (not sure it works):

        'location' => array (
          array (
            array (
              'param' => 'page',
              'operator' => '==',
              'value' => 'es_awp',
              'order_no' => 0,
              'group_no' => 0,

    I’d love to hear your approach and see any code examples if you have. I’ll be sure to post my code if I figure it out too.

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  • @souvarian and @elliot: thanks for the input.

    It needs some more thorough testing but I think I have it working now. Thanks to you both.

    As I have registered my field_groups using the ACF-UI, I am not using the register_field_group function. That way I don’t have the problem with the location.

    How I use these funtions:
    – on hook ‘admin_init’ I call

    /* hooked on admin_init */
    public function add_afc_head() {
           if (in_array(hbd_functions::get_page_by_url(), hbd_settings::$plugin_page_names)) {
              hbd_debug::write_log('acf_form_head called');

    – on hook ‘admin_menu’ I build by menu using add_menu_page();
    – In the callback of that function I do these actions:
    – Then render my page.
    – In my page I call acf_form like this:

    $options = array(
       'post_id' => hbd_settings::AFC_POST_TOKEN, // post to save to
       'field_groups' => array(hbd_settings::AFC_FORM_ID), // field group id
       'form' => true, 
       'form_attributes' => array(
            'id' => 'design-fotos',
            'action' => '',
            'method' => 'post'
       'return' => add_query_arg( 'updated', 'true', (get_admin_url() . 'admin.php?page=s-advanced-search') ), // return url
       'submit_value' => 'Opslaan', 
       'updated_message' => 'Afbeeldingvelden opgeslagen', 

    I hope this solves your question as well souverian. If it doesn’t open a new thread and let me know. I’ll look into it as well.

    As long as further debugging does not surface any issues; topic solved!

    Thanks for the input,


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