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The user may enter more text than used in a typical single line input field and/or the programmer wants to use a large block of multi-line text to capture user input.


When you have text input that spans multiple lines you can use the <textarea> control. The format of the textarea control is the following:

<xf:textarea ref="XPathExpression">

Screen ImageEdit

Here is a screen image using the FireFox XForms extension:

XForms textarea control with label

Note that the label is aligned at the bottom of the left edge.

Sample Style SheetEdit

Here is some sample CSS code that changes all of the text areas in a form to be 7 characters high and 500 pixels wide.

textarea {
   font-family: sans-serif;
   height: 8em;
   width: 600px;

Sample ProgramEdit

      <title>XForms textarea</title>
         <xf:instance xmlns="">
               <MyTextValue />

<xf:input ref="Name" incremental="true">
            <xf:label> Name:</xf:label>
</xf:output ref="Name">
      <xf:textarea ref="MyTextValue">


One of the challenges is to be able to format the size of the textarea correctly. This is usually done in a style sheet.

Aligning the labelsEdit

Some forms place textareas within tables. These tables put the labels on the left cell and the textarea input box on the right. The following CSS will then align the labels at the top of the row.

/* align the label at the top of the left area */
xf|textarea > xf|label {
   vertical-align: top;

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