April 14, 2012

Customizing the appearance of a file input in an HTML form

Question by Danny

I’ve been trying to figure out how to customize the appearance of a file input in an HTML form so that the button will match with the rest of the buttons on my site. Looking around here I found a solution that I would expect to work, but it’s having some strange behavior.

I took my file input and set display:none, and created a new text input and button within the form.

            <form method="post" action="../Entry/Create" enctype="multipart/form-data" onsubmit="return aentryValidate()">
                <input type="text" id="EntryTitle" name="EntryTitle" maxlength="50" />
                <div id="invalidTitle" class="invalidData"></div>
                <p id="char-remaining">(50 characters remaining)</p>

                <input type="file" id="ImageFile" name="ImageFile" style="display:none;" />
                <input type="text" id="ImageFileMask" name="ImageFileMask" disabled="true" />
                <button type="button" onclick="HandleFileButtonClick()" id="ImageFileButton" style="margin-left:10px;padding-bottom:0px;height:20px;width:100px;font-size:14px;">browse...</button>
                <div id="invalidImage" class="invalidData"></div>
                <p id="file-desc">(image to represent your entry, jpg, png, or gif)</p>

                <textarea id="EntryDesc" name="EntryDesc"></textarea>
                <div id="invalidDesc" class="invalidData"></div>
                <br />

                <input type="checkbox" id="isPrivate" name="isPrivate" value="true" />
                <input type="hidden" name="isPrivate" value="false" />
                Make my entry private.

                <button id="new-entry-save">save</button>

Then my javascript to handle the ImageFileButton button being clicked:

function HandleFileButtonClick() {
    document.getElementById("ImageFileMask").value = document.getElementById("ImageFile").value;

It appears to work fine. I click the button, the window pops up for me to select a file. When I select a file, it appears in the text box.

The weird behavior comes when I hit the save button on the form. I noticed that it has to be clicked twice to actually submit for some reason now. And, when it submits it is no longer posting the file.

So I made the file input visible again to see what was happening. If I use the ImageFileButton button to select a file, the file shows up in the file input. But when save is clicked, the file input clears and the form doesn’t submit. You then have to click again to submit, and of course now there is no file.

Anybody know what is happening here?

Answer by Starx

No, its not possible. File inputs are generally browser dependant. You might have to use JavaScript replacement or Flash replacement like uploadify.

Article: Input File

Of all form fields, the file upload field is by far the worst when it comes to styling. Explorer Windows offers some (but not many) style possibilities, Mozilla slightly less, and the other browsers none at all. The “Browse” button, especially, is completely inaccessible to CSS manipulation.

Author: Nabin Nepal (Starx)

Hello, I am Nabin Nepal and you can call me Starx. This is my blog where write about my life and my involvements. I am a Software Developer, A Cyclist and a Realist. I hope you will find my blog interesting. Follow me on Google+


Please fill the form - I will response as fast as I can!