I want to use a '#type' => 'checkboxes' render array to display some checkboxes on the page. They aren't going to be part of a form that ever gets submitted, as they are purely for browser-side user interaction. So I don't need any of the extra functionality provided by drupal_get_form(). I just need a few <input type="checkbox"> elements.

Unfortunately, Drupal appears to simply refuse to render '#type' => 'checkboxes' render arrays unless you pass the array through drupal_get_form(). When I try, absolutely nothing except

<div class="form-item form-type-checkboxes">
 <div class="form-checkboxes"></div>

gets rendered.

Is there any way to get Drupal to render an <input type="checkbox"> element without using drupal_get_form()?

5 Answers 5


...I just need a few <input type="checkbox"> elements.

Just render it as plain html, and if you absolutely want a render array, then create your own theme function for it.

$variables['content']['checkboxes'] = array(
    '#markup' => '<div class="display"> Please select every sport that you play.<br> Soccer: <input type="checkbox" name="sports" value="soccer"><br> Football: <input type="checkbox" name="sports" value="football"><br> Baseball: <input type="checkbox" name="sports" value="baseball"><br> Basketball: <input type="checkbox" name="sports" value="basketball"><br>
  • This is ultimately what I went with, but it just feels icky. I would really have liked for there to be a way to convert a render array into a set of checkboxes. Feb 12, 2015 at 22:08

use this tested code

$element = array(
 '#type' => 'checkboxes',
 '#title' => 'test',
 '#options' => drupal_map_assoc(array(t('SAT'), t('ACT'))),
 '#parents' => array(),

$form_state = array('values' => array());
$form_Build = form_builder('just_test', $element, $form_state);
print drupal_render($form_Build);
  • Unfortunately, that still renders all the extra Drupal form cruft that I don't want. I just want a set of <input type="checkboxes"> elements and associated <label>s. Feb 9, 2015 at 22:34
  • Core has no such function @CoreDumpError. The closest you'll get is theme_checkboxes, but even that has a hard-coded div wrapper (plus you'll probably need to build the elements manually anyway). You could always use theme_checkbox in a loop
    – Clive
    Feb 9, 2015 at 23:29
  • Yeah, I figured as much. Thanks for confirming that I'll have to do this manually. It's ugly, but it works. Feb 10, 2015 at 0:03

I believe this doesn't work because form_process_checkboxes isn't called if you don't run it through the form API.

Before you drupal_render your element, try running it through form_process_checkboxes manually.

$form['yourCheckboxes'] = form_process_checkboxes($form['yourCheckboxes']);
print drupal_render($form);

An example of code :

$accounts = user_load_multiple(array_keys($values));
foreach($values as $uid => $value) {
  $element[$delta][$uid] = array(
    '#type' => 'checkbox',
    '#title' => format_username($accounts[$uid]),
    '#checked' => !empty($value),
    '#attributes' => array('disabled' => 'disabled'),

Later (may not be needed in your code):


Have you looked at theme_checkbox? Unfortunately, it only renders the checkbox, so you'd have to add the labels yourself. But if you're really looking for a Drupal-esque solution, this could be viable.



$element = array(
  '#id' => 'checkbox-id',
  '#name' => 'checkbox-name',

echo '<label for="checkbox-id">Checkbox</label>'. theme('checkbox', array('element' => $element)); 


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