I have a form which presents three input fields which are later combined into a single phone number. When that phone number doesn't validate (doesn't match /^\d{10}$/), I want to show a single message saying the phone number is incorrectly formatted, but I want to highlight all three input fields. Is this possible? The best I have come up with is this:

form_set_error('firstBox', $theMessage);
form_set_error('secondBox', " ");
form_set_error('thirdBox', " ");

This way, all fields are highlighted and I get the message only once, but I still get bullet points for the empty messages...

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Is there a better solution for this?

  • Are these in a fieldset? If so, you should be able to set the form error on that (eg, the parent) and it should cascade down through to the individual fields with just one error message. drupal.org/node/678816 talks to this briefly.
    – Jimajamma
    Sep 17, 2012 at 15:59
  • They are in a fieldset, but they are not alone. Indeed, the phoneNumber fieldset also has a field for the extension and another one for the category (residential, work, etc). I suppose I could add a fieldset in there to solve my problem though, but I'll wait to see if there's a better solution first.
    – Shawn
    Sep 17, 2012 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


D'oh. In Drupal 6 at least, just call form_set_error(FIELD) without the message and it should highlight the field and not set a message. You are sending a space, so you are getting a space as a message.

Code in Question:

function form_set_error($name = NULL, $message = '', $reset = FALSE) {
  static $form = array();
  if ($reset) {
    $form = array();
  if (isset($name) && !isset($form[$name])) {
    $form[$name] = $message;
    if ($message) {
      drupal_set_message($message, 'error');
  return $form;
  • a quick look at the code in Drupal 7 suggests the same behavior, just call form_set_error() with only the first argument.
    – Jimajamma
    Sep 17, 2012 at 16:13
  • I just tried that and the fields are not highlighted at all if I call form_set_error with the first argument only.
    – Shawn
    Sep 17, 2012 at 16:16
  • Grr... Sorry :(
    – Jimajamma
    Sep 17, 2012 at 16:20
  • Well, you could go this route: api.drupal.org/api/drupal/includes%21form.inc/function/… and clean up messages and errors manually.
    – Jimajamma
    Sep 17, 2012 at 16:33

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