I created a custom entity using Entity API that has certain properties defined in hook_schema() and also declared in entityPropertyInfo(), a class extending EntityDefaultMetadataController.

So far so good.

Now I'd like for users to be able to customize if and how these properties get displayed when viewing the entities so I implemented hook_field_extra_fields() and declared them.

Then, in my Controller which extends EntityAPIController I added the properties to the $content array in buildContent() as, outlined here.

It actually works pretty well and properties are rendered and respect the order and visibility settings in "Manage Display".

However, I can't seem to figure out how to add settings in Manage Display to customize the label positioning (inline/above/hidden) and, more importantly, how to specify custom formatters for these properties.

Any clues?

  • 1
    Do properties even support formatters? Since "Node" doesn't have "Title" under "Manage display", my first guess would be no. +1 for a good question though.
    – Letharion
    Apr 23, 2012 at 8:50
  • Entity properties don't support formatters, no. You would need to implement that whole mechanism yourself
    – Clive
    Apr 23, 2012 at 10:26
  • I was fearing that was the case
    – Alex Weber
    Apr 26, 2012 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


You could create a module providing a "property" field type. Store the the property to be formatted as an instance setting and then apply a formatter to that. It should be relatively straightforward. Relation module has a dummy field module which might help you in figuring out how to code this.


as you can see in field_ui_display_overview_form in modules/field_ui/field_ui.admin.inc the page Display setting will fill with $instances and $extra_fields:

$instances = field_info_instances($entity_type, $bundle);
$field_types = field_info_field_types();
$extra_fields = field_info_extra_fields($entity_type, $bundle, 'display');

in this function there is two loops which create the page:

foreach ($instances as $name => $instance) {


foreach ($extra_fields as $name => $extra_field) {

and only in first loop which iterate in fields there is options for label and formatter

so if you want this functionality on your properties (as @Clive said):

You would need to implement that whole mechanism yourself

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