I am asking this question because I have an autocomplete text field with #autocomplete_path set to a valid working path but key events are not handled by the misc/autocomplete.js file. When the form is being created, it apparently assigns all the functions to the respective variables, but none of those functions are executed. For example following function in the misc/autocomplete.js isn't executed.

Drupal.jsAC = function ($input, db) {
  var ac = this;
  this.input = $input[0];
  this.ariaLive = $('#' + this.input.id + '-autocomplete-aria-live');
  this.db = db;

    .keydown(function (event) { return ac.onkeydown(this, event); })
    .keyup(function (event) { ac.onkeyup(this, event); })
    .blur(function () { ac.hidePopup(); ac.db.cancel(); });


Hence, when a user types a letter, key up or key down handlers aren't invoked and nothing happens. So to debug, I want to know how autocomplete works.

Could someone please explain how this works?

  • Which version of drupal are you using? It is different from 6 to 7. You do not need to write any javascript to get autocomplete to work, it is all done via the drupal form api
    – 2pha
    Jan 14, 2014 at 2:27
  • I am using drupal 7.
    – lloydh
    Jan 14, 2014 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


Working with Drupal autocomplete form is good, instead of using the jQuery autocomplete.

Here we have a solution that how to create a custom autocomplete form and to get the user names or whatever.

I am giving the simple example of using it.

Take a menu item in hook_menu to get the autocomplete form. This will call the function called test_autocomplete_form.

$items['autocomplete_form'] = array(
        'title' => 'Test autocomplete form',
        'page callback' => 'drupal_get_form',
        'page arguments' => array('test_autocomplete_form'),
        'access arguments' => array('access test autocomplete'),
        'type' => MENU_NORMAL_ITEM

// Which will get the autocomplete form
function test_autocomplete_form(){
    $form = array();
    $form['testauto'] = array(
        '#type' => 'textfield',
        '#autocomplete_path' => 'test/autocomplete',
        '#description' => t('Please type any letter.'),
    return $form;

We have to mention our custom path in for the #autocomplete_path attribute. Here I have given a path like test/autocomplete which will have to get the autocomplete result for that need to have one more menu item with the same path which we have given for the #autocomplete_path:

// menu item to get the autocomplete result,Which will call the function called 'test_autocomplete'
$items['test/autocomplete'] = array(
        'title' => 'Test autocomplete',
        'page callback' => 'test_autocomplete',
        'access arguments' => array('access test autocomplete'),
        'type' => MENU_CALLBACK

// function to get the autocomplete result, I am taking the user table to get the users names in the autocomplete field
    function test_autocomplete($string = '') {
      $matches = array();
      if ($string) {
        $result = db_query_range("SELECT name FROM {users} WHERE LOWER(name) LIKE LOWER('%s%%')", $string, 0, 10); // only 10 results will show
        while ($user = db_fetch_object($result)) {
          $matches[$user->name] = check_plain($user->name);
      drupal_json_output($matches); // Returns the data in JSON format
  • I'd just like to point out that I had a hard time using an #autocomplete_path of e.g. admin/my-module/search, and instead I used this and it immediately worked: my-module-search. For whatever reason(s), my page callback kept being delivered the word list as the input, until I changed the path, then the input was delivered correctly right away. Oct 26, 2016 at 14:30
  • Great answer here; I'm just noting that in D7 the db_query_range() requires a different parameter order than @madhurjya's answer (api.drupal.org/api/drupal/includes%21database%21database.inc/…).
    – joe_flash
    Apr 14, 2017 at 22:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.