Enable File Attachment with CodeIgniter 4 form helper

The CodeIgniter 4 PHP framework has many built-in helper libraries. One of them I use a great deal is the form helper. In this post, I’ll cover using specific form helper library methods for file attachment uploads…


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Typically in an HTML form, in order to upload a file attachment, you include the enctype attribute in the <form> tag:

enctype="multipart/form-data"

Therefore, in raw HTML, the code would look similar to this in a PHP project:

<form action="some_file.php" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">

For the actual file attachment field, we use the <input> element with the file type:

<input type="file" name="my_file">

Granted this is not that much HTML code.

But, why not leverage some of the built-in functionality of the ‘form’ helper library if you are building out your project in CodeIgniter 4?

In fact, all you need are 3 methods:

<?=form_open_multipart('some_file.php');?>
<?=form_upload('my_file');?>
<?=form_close();?>

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CodeIgniter 4 form helper: form_open_multipart()

The form_open_multipart() method accepts up to 3 parameters using this syntax:

form_open_multipart(action, attributes, hidden)
  • action – the action target URI string.
  • attributes – an array or string of HTML attributes.
  • hidden – array of hidden fields.

CodeIgniter 4 form helper: form_upload()

The form_upload() method accepts up to 3 parameters using this syntax:

form_upload(field, value, extra)
  • data – field attribute data
  • value – field value
  • extra – extra attributes

(Note: I typically use an array with all the attribute data I need as a single parameter.)


CodeIgniter 4 form helper: File upload structure example

Below is a learning example, on my local Linux XAMPP dev environment, of how to include file attachment uploads in HTML forms using the CodeIgniter 4 form helper.

In the default Home Controller, I create a forms() method which returns the view file, form_view.php:

Related: You can load the form helper (or any other helper in CodeIgniter 4) by using the global helper() function.

In the form_view.php view file, we have coded our form using the following form helper methods:

  • form_open_multipart()
  • form_label() – optional
  • form_upload()
  • form_close()

Note: The base_url() method used as a parameter in the form_open_multipart() method is part of the ‘url’ helper library and is not covered in this post. For more information about the ‘url’ helper, visit the online documentation.

The form helper methods in the form_view.php file render this HTML in the browser:

Which produces this simple (and crude) basic form complete with file attachment field:

The completed form with file upload/attachment

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I have been using the form helper library a great deal in CodeIgniter 4 projects and find it so useful and handy. Try it out if you haven’t used it before.

As always, if you have any questions or see any mistakes in the code, please let me know via the comments. Constructive comments help me provide accurate blog posts and are much appreciated. Thank you for reading!

CodeIgniter 4 Similar Reading

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Josh Otwell has a passion to grow as a PHP Developer, SQL expert, and technical blogger/writer.

Disclaimer: The majority of examples in this post, are performed in a personal development/learning workstation environment and should not be considered production quality or ready. Your particular goals and needs may vary. Like always, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. My opinions are my own.

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