How can I add the red error border to a webform component programmatically?

I am doing so custom form validation when the form submits and I need to set the red border on under rules very specific to my module.

Currently, I am doing the following:

form_set_error('email_address', 'Please supply matching email addresses');

It adds an error message and stops the form from being submitted but it does not highlight the form field I am validating. That makes it difficult for the users to see the problem area at a glance

1 Answer 1


You can use Webform Validation. This module includes a lot of validations for webform elements.

Alternatively, you can code your own validation yous adding your validation function to the desired forms. Then use form_set_error to mark wrong element with red border.

Webform puts the fields inside a group, so if you need to mark a field as not valid you must provide the full hierarchy.

For example, for this field in $form:

$form['submitted']['form_contact_data']['form_contact_email'] = array(

You can mark it as erroneous with:

form_set_error('submitted][form_contact_data][form_contact_email', 'Error message');

In this example the filed is inside two groups: the first, 'submitted' is the main Webform group. The second, 'form_contact_data', is a field group created where I've placed contact data fields for this webform.

  • Thanks for your answer. I am already using form_set_error. I amended my question so you can see how I am using that function
    – sisko
    Sep 18, 2012 at 11:27
  • You probably aren't passing the right first argument to form_set_error, the one that indicates wich element to highlight. You have to provide the hierarchy for the element if it's inside a fieldset. And checking Webform Validation module it seems that it prefi every webform element with 'submitted][', so in your case you may use 'submitted][email_address' (Drupal 7).
    – sanzante
    Sep 18, 2012 at 11:31
  • Which is what I though. But, I have confirmed and copied the form_key from the webform_component database table...unless I'm not supposed to use form_key, I can't see what I'm doing wrong. I will look into your suggestion
    – sisko
    Sep 18, 2012 at 11:34
  • Updated answer with example
    – sanzante
    Mar 10, 2015 at 8:08

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