SP2010: Using PreSaveAction on Custom Forms

The Situation

You have a list that has list-level validation. But, you need to use a customized new item or edit item form. The validation routine fires on the server, but the custom new and edit forms do not show the associated error. While you could handle your validation with a workflow or a custom event receiver, there’s a simpler way.

The Work-Around

In addition to the existing list-level validation, you can add client-side validation by hooking into the PreSaveAction function. In my particular case, I had three columns that needed to equal each other. There are several moving parts involved.

  1. In the custom new item and edit item forms, create a div to show or hide errors. Default it to not being shown when the page loads. Include your standard error text. (NOTE: You can modify the error text via your JavaScript function later on, if you have multiple validations to run.)
    <div class="ms-formvalidation FormErrors" style="display: none;">The total contacts by race, ethnicity, and gender must match.</div>
  2. In the custom new item and edit item forms, add a call to the PreSaveAction function in the code on the page. (NOTE: You can’t include this as an external file. It must be on the page itself.)
    // Stupidly, this function can't be included in an external file, so we'll call the function here and just return another function from the external file.
    function PreSaveAction() {
    return PreSaveExternalAction();
  3. In a text file in SiteAssets, create your corresponding validation function. (Note: your function can not be inside a $(document).ready(function(). It won’t be called if it is. The name of the function in your external file should match the name of the function returned by the PreSaveAction function.)
    function PreSaveExternalAction() {
    if (($('#TotalContactsByRace').val() != $('#TotalContactsByEthnicity').val()) || ($('#TotalContactsByRace').val() != $('#TotalContactsByGender').val())) {
    return false;
    //if all is good, return true
    return true;
  4. Include a Content Editor Webpart on your custom new and edit item pages which links to your external text file.

    Create a link to the Javascript File

    Create a link to the Javascript File

When you test your page, you should see your validation working. In my TotalContacts.txt file, I do on-the-fly validation as well as the PreSaveAction validation. It’s always a good practice to let people know that there is an error before they try to submit.

Showing the validation error

Showing the validation error

While you could include all your validation in the PreSaveAction function itself, you’d need to repeat your validation code on both the new and edit forms. Anytime I find myself repeating code, I try to find a way to make that piece of code reusable. By having the PreSaveAction function just return another function, we can write that code once, and use it on both the new and edit forms.

Download a copy of the entire TotalContacts.txt file.