I've created a field by implementing hook_field_info, I've created the widget which works perfectly and I've hit a road block with the formatter.

I've implemented hook_field_formatter_settings_form to add some extra output options but I can't work out how to get those values passed to the theme function when the field is rendered.

Here is a simpified version of my code, it's not all the hooks just the ones related to the formatter and the field's theme:

function test_field_formatter_info() {
    return array(
        'test' => array(
            'label' => t('Test'),
            'field types' => array('test'),

function test_field_formatter_view($entity_type, $entity, $field, $instance, $langcode, $items, $display) {
  $element = array();

  foreach ($items as $delta => $item) {

    $element[$delta] = array(
      '#theme' => 'test',
      '#item' => $item,
      '#myextravalue' => $display['settings']['myextravalue'],

  return $element;  

function test_theme() {
  return array(
    'test' => array (
      'variables' => array('item' => NULL, 'myextravalue' => NULL),

function theme_test($variables) {   
    $item = $variables['item'];
    return $output;

The widget, field and formatter are working fine, I just can't work out how to get the formatter settings that were defined by hook_field_formatter_settings_form to the test theme function.

When I $variables variable I only see an array for item. myextravalue is not there!

There is very little information on how to create fields/widgets/formatters for Drupal 7 and I'm pulling my hair out with this.

  • Theme formatter settings are fairly new and got into D7 quite late in the day. The documentation should catch up soon but it is tricky without it. I had cracked it in the past but don't have access to the code I used any more. May 10, 2011 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


Your formatter_view implementation looks ok, very similar to image_field_formatter_view().

However, you're info hook seems to be missing default values for your settings, I'm not sure if they are required or not, but try to add them, again see image_field_formatter_info()

Does the field_formatter_settings form work correctly? Does it show correctly in the summary and keeps the values when you edit it again?

Without more information, the only advice I can give you is install devel.module if you haven't already and make extensive use of dpm() to see where you get which information. For example, contains $display the necessary information in your formatter_view() function?

If yes, it could simply be a outdated theme registry that does not yet know about your additional theme argument (if you added later on for example).

  • I'll check the theme registry, though I did have the Devel module installed and I think the rebuild registry on every request was enabled. Thanks for the suggestions!
    – Camsoft
    May 10, 2011 at 8:02
  • It turns out it was the theme registry! Even though I had the rebuild on every request option turned on in the Devel module! Thanks so much.
    – Camsoft
    May 10, 2011 at 9:57
  • This just worked for me! My mistake was using 'myextravalue' field in my formatter_view hook but not declaring the same in my hook_theme() x-( /me is stupid sometimes > and even after fixing it, I had to clear all cache from drush for it to work (having theme rebuilt turned ON in zen did not work). Thanks everybody :-) Jan 28, 2013 at 7:08

Like any other theme functions, you need to define those array indexes as variables used by the theme function.

For example, you can use the function theme_table() using the following code (the code is present in node_admin_nodes()):

$form['nodes'] = array(
  '#theme' => 'table', 
  '#header' => $header, 
  '#rows' => $options, 
  '#empty' => t('No content available.'),

theme_table() is defined in drupal_common_theme() as:

'table' => array(
  'variables' => array('header' => NULL, 'rows' => NULL, 'attributes' => array(), 'caption' => NULL, 'colgroups' => array(), 'sticky' => TRUE, 'empty' => ''),

If you want to use "#myextravalue," then you need to define "myextravalue" as one of the variables used by your theme function.

  • myextravalue is defined in test_theme(), the only thing I could think of regarding that is that the theme registry hasn't been updated after it was added.
    – Berdir
    May 9, 2011 at 22:48
  • It's probably that the reason; if it works for theme_table(), then it should work for any theme function.
    – apaderno
    May 9, 2011 at 22:55

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