Passing information to Nested Forms

I have a fairly long and complicated form that I am looking for ways to simplify. This form is a housing/assistance application for a non-profit. The input of the form is placed into a fillable pdf using the fillable pdf plugin.

Part of the form is an income section. Each member of the household may have 0 to 3-4 income sources, including employment, government benefits, and support benefits (think child support or alimony). Each income source needs to have an income verification form populated, which the processing person then sends off to the agency/employer for verification.

The problem I’m running in to is that I need to create many income verification templates, and I’m trying to figure out a way around it.

The way the form is constructed, the first page has boxes for the applicant to list their family members (up to 6 people). Then there is a conditional page associate with each family member box. This conditional page is where the individual’s details are entered - SSN, relationship, demographic info, and income information.

The income information is entered into 2 sub-forms: 1 for employment income and 1 for benefit income. Each of these could have several entries for each person.

The issue I’m running up against is how to avoid setting up multiple income verification templates. I know I can use the {parent} tag to import data into the sub-form. The problem is the data to import could come from multiple fields - depending on the particular family member. For example, the applicant’s name would be {parent:1.3} {parent:1.6}. The spouse’s name would be {parent:11}. And so forth.

I could potentially solve some of this by having 3 levels of sub-forms (if this would even work) where the first sub-form is the family member’s information, and the second sub-form is the income information. But I would still need to pass the family member’s name to the first sub-form, which could come from any one of multiple boxes. If the only method for getting information into the sub-form is by pulling it in, then I would need to have a unique sub-form for each family member so I can reference field 1, field 2, field 3, etc.

I don’t really have code to share at this point because I am in the development process. I am trying to work through the logic, and part of my problem is not knowing all of my options for getting information into a sub-form.

Thank you for any feedback.

Hi Justin,

If I understand correctly, you’ve embedded the same Child form into multiple Nested Forms fields on different pages of the Parent form. I see why the {parent} merge tag won’t work for you and also 3 levels of Child-forms won’t work with the Nested Forms field.

Looking at how complicated the form is, we’ll want to take a closer look at the setup and see if it’s possible to simplify it to get it working the way you want. Can you please get in touch with us via our support form with an export of the forms and a screencast of how the form works?


Could you split the family member input activities into separate forms? Having the first form capture the basics (name, email, etc) as the nested form on only one page. Then each nested form would use Gravity Flow and its’ user input step so that you can “effectively” still be having nested nested forms, but its’ split across the display so its’ never trying to have double nestings as it were.

The Form Connector Update An Entry can also lead to the main entry being approved (move on to the payment step?) with some small custom logic to ensure are all other member input entries done.

If you do go this route and run into some setup challenges, reach out to Gravity Flow support as it is a pattern we have helped others with. A lot depends on your use case as to when/where each entry moves forward in their respective workflows.


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