I'm defining a new custom Field Type in Drupal 8, let's say MyFieldType, with custom widget and formatter also.

Such Field Type should have these two fields:

  • text: a simple text value
  • image: a field where the user that use this Field Type can upload an image, as the built-in image field type.

I created the custom field type with the text field with no problems. Now I'm trying to add the image field also, but I'm stuck and I don't understand how to proceed.

What is the correct way to add an image upload field in a custom Field Type?

What I tried

Below there are the main parts from the custom Field Type. All files are from the folder modules\custom\my_field_type\src\Plugin\Field.

From the file FieldType\MyFieldType.php:

class MyFieldType extends FieldItemBase {


  public static function propertyDefinitions(
    FieldStorageDefinitionInterface $field_definition
  ) {

    $properties['text'] = DataDefinition::create('string')
        ->setLabel(t('Text Value'));

    // $properties['image'] ... go here?
    // ...

    return $properties;


  public static function schema(
    FieldStorageDefinitionInterface $field_definition
  ) {

    $columns = array(

      'text' => array(
        'type' => 'varchar',
        'length' => 255,

      // What column for the 'image' field?
      // ...


    $schema = array(
      'columns' => $columns,

    return $schema;


From the file FieldWidget\MyFieldTypeWidget.php:

class MyFieldTypeWidget extends WidgetBase {

  public function formElement(
    FieldItemListInterface $items,
    Array $element, 
    Array &$form, 
    FormStateInterface $formState
  ) {

    $element['value'] = [
      '#type' => 'textfield',
      '#title' => t('Value'),
      '#default_value' => isset($items[$delta]->value) ? 
          $items[$delta]->value : null,
      '#empty_value' => '',

    $element['image'] = [
      '#type' => 'file',
      '#title' => t('Image'),

      '#default_value' => isset($items[$delta]->image) ? 
        $items[$delta]->image : null,

      '#empty_value' => '',

    return $element;


I can see the file upload field in the edit form (adding a new field with this custom type), but I don't know how to go on and (eventually) how to handle the uploaded image inside the class MyFieldType.

1 Answer 1


What you want to do, is to save a reference to the file which is uploaded.

Since what you are making is an image upload with extra text field, you should consider using either

  • \Drupal\image\Plugin\Field\FieldWidget\ImageWidget
  • \Drupal\image\Plugin\Field\FieldWidget\FileWidget

as foundation to your widget. That way you should be able to reuse much of the trick image/file handling and just add custom parts or overrides for your custom widget.

You should also consider using either

  • \Drupal\image\Plugin\Field\FieldType\ImageItem
  • Drupal\file\Plugin\Field\FieldType\FileItem

as foundation to your field type, since they also handle a lot of things for you. The image variant adds a lot of stuff, like alt, height, width, which is something you probably want/need at some point, so no reason making all of this yourself.

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