Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a custom field?

Straight out of the box, WordPress comes with two post types: Posts and Pages. These allow you to write content in the administration area (sometimes called the back end), and have that content displayed on the public facing side of your website (the front end).

But what if you wanted to store and retrieve more information on each page (or post) than just the content? (More fields than just title and content)..

To help out with this, WordPress provides the ability to associate ‘post meta’ data with your pages or posts. This means you can add information like a start date to an event post, or a price to a product post, and then display that information to your website’s users using built in WordPress functionality.

WordPress calls these ‘custom fields’, and provides a very basic form on the post and page editing screen to create and update these values.

What is ACF?

ACF helps you, as a developer, to take advantage of these custom fields. It gives your users a sleek user interface to manage their custom field information, and you a suite of powerful functions to retrieve and present it to your site’s visitors.

Practically, this means you can add customised data to not only Posts and Pages, but also Categories, Taxonomies, Custom Posts, Custom Taxonomies, Users, Attachments, Comments, Menus, Widgets and Options, all in just a few clicks, and without writing any code. There are currently almost 30 different field types ranging from simple text fields through media and maps, to more complex groups of fields and relationships.

ACF also provides a series of PHP functions that developers can use to display the information stored in these fields in their front-end templates, and an ever-expanding suite of actions and filters that make customising both the plugin, and the data it produces, a breeze.

What is ACF PRO?

ACF PRO is an extension of the latest version of our free plugin. It includes 5 premium features:

Why use ACF?

At the time of writing, it is estimated that 30% of the planet’s websites run on WordPress. And one of the keys to WordPress’s success is it’s flexibility and extensibility: it has evolved from a simple blogging platform to a sophisticated Content Management System capable of managing and displaying any sort of information.

ACF handles the nuts and bolts of adding the most common types of information to WordPress. If you’d like to add a PDF to your page for your users to download, the File Field will upload, store and retrieve that PDF for you. You’ll just need to add one line of code to your template.

Like WordPress itself, ACF is also under constant, active development. That means that as the framework evolves, you’ll be able to utilise the improvements introduced without major disruptions to your site and your development processes.

Is ACF for me?

While ACF is designed to be as easy to use as possible, it is a tool created specifically for WordPress developers.

You will need an understanding of how PHP code works, and a decent grounding in the basic concepts of WordPress (such as ‘The Loop’) to get the most value out of the plugin.

What kind of support do you offer?

We are fanatically commited to providing users of ACF great support.

We are constantly working to expand and improve the plugin’s documentation.

If you can’t find an answer there, the folks on our email help desk will do their very best to help you out.

There is also a very active community of users on our Community Forums who are both very knowledgable and friendly!

You can find out more about support at our dedicated Support FAQ

Pre-purchase Questions

How much does ACF cost?

ACF comes in two versions: free and PRO. The free version is fully featured, and contains most of the types of fields you’re likely to need while building an average website.

If you’d really like to level up, and gain access to more complex and feature rich field types such as Galleries, Repeaters, Flexible Content Layouts, and Clones, you’ll need to purchase the PRO version. This is a one time purchase with no onging costs.

ACF PRO currently has two license levels:

  1. Personal ($25) – This covers you for 1 website with lifetime upgrades
  2. Developer ($100) – This allows you to install ACF PRO on unlimited sites, with ongoing upgrades, forever!

Please note that the purchase price is in Australian dollars (AUD), which means that its probably even cheaper where you are (unless you’re in New Zealand, I guess).

Are there any ongoing costs?

No, there are no ongoing costs. This is a one time purchase.

What payment methods do you accept?

You can safely purchase ACF PRO with your PayPal account, or with a credit card through PayPal or Stripe.

Are you registered for tax?

ACF is registered for GST in Australia and VAT in Europe. Your tax will be calculated at checkout.

If you require a ‘Tax residency certificate’ we have one available, please contact support.

What do I get with my purchase

Your purchase provides you access to your own store account page on our site. From here you can:

  • Download the latest version of ACF PRO (and all previous versions, if you wish)
  • View and upgrade your licenses
  • View and print invoices for all your previous orders
  • Edit your contact and billing details
  • View and add new support tickets
Where can I download my purchase?

Your ACF PRO download is always available at your store account page on our site.

Is ACF compatible with (insert theme or plugin here)?

ACF PRO has been built with WordPress best practices in mind. We have designed the plugin to be as efficient and unobtrusive as possible, to allow you to build great websites without getting in your way.

But, with over 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress directory, and probably at least as many themes available, some conflicts may arise. In the unusual circumstance that such an issue occurs, we will always do our utmost to try and resolve those conflicts through our friendly support folks.

What kind of support do you offer?

We are fanatical about support, and want you to get the best out of your website with ACF. If you run into any difficulties, there are several places you can find help:

  • Our extensive documentation contains references and guides for most situations you may encounter
  • We have an active and friendly community on our Community Forums who may be able to help you figure out the ‘how-tos’ of the ACF world.
  • The support professionals on our Help Desk will assist with your more in depth, technical challenges
  • The WordPress professionals at Codeable can provide coding support if you’re starting to feel out of your depth.

Find out more about our support here.

Do you offer refunds?

We really want you to be happy with your purchase, and we’ll try really hard to make that happen. But, if for any reason you’re not completely happy, we do offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Please get in touch.

Account Questions

What types of accounts are there?

Yes. There are currently two different types of accounts:

You can create a support account at any time, but you need to have purchased ACF PRO to access the Accounts area.

I’m having troubles logging in

There are currently two different logins in the world of ACF:

If you are having troubles logging in, you may be using the credentials from one side to try and login to the other. Try checking this first.

If you’re still having troubles, try resetting your password.

Password reset not working

If you’re running into difficulties trying to reset your password, please get in touch.

What can I do with my account?

With your account you can:

  • Download the latest version of ACF PRO (and all previous versions, if you wish)
  • View and upgrade your licenses
  • View and print invoices for all your previous orders
  • Edit your contact and billing details
  • View and add new support tickets
Transferring ownership

Transferring ownership of an ACF PRO license is as simple as updating the account details at your store account page. If you’ve lost your account information, or are having troubles making this happen, please let us know

Can I delete my account?

Absolutely, although this is not possible through the website. Please get in touch.

Installation Questions

How do I install ACF?

Installing ACF is just like installing any other WordPress plugin.

You can install it manually by downloading it from the WordPress Plugins Directory, and then FTP it to your site’s plugins directory. Once ACF is uploaded, you will need to activate it by finding it in the list on the _Plugins_ page in your site’s Administration area, and clicking on the ‘Activate’ link.

Or you can install it automatically by searching for ‘Advanced Custom Fields’ under _Plugins > Add New_ in your site’s Administration area. When you have found ACF in the search results, click on the ‘Install Now’ button. If the installation is successful remember to click the ‘Activate Plugin’ button to complete the process.

ACF is successfully installed and activated if your Administration menu has an entry called Custom Fields.

For a step by step guide to installation, click here.

How do I install ACF PRO?

ACF PRO is only available for download from the downloads section of your ACF store account.

As a result, ACF PRO must be installed via FTP. Unzip the file you have downloaded, and upload the folder called ‘advanced-custom-fields-pro’ to your wp-content/plugins directory. Once ACF PRO is uploaded, you will need to activate it by finding it in the list on the _Plugins_ page in your site’s Administration area, and clicking on the ‘Activate’ link.

To enable your lifetime of automatic upgrades, you’ll need to enter your license key under Custom Fields > Updates, and click ‘Activate’.

Can I uninstall?

We can’t imagine why you’d want to, but you most certainly can uninstall ACF.

The first step will be to locate any ACF specific code in both your theme’s functions.php file, or its template files. For your references, you can find a list of ACF specific functions, filters and actions in the documentation.

You’ll need to deactivate ACF by clicking on the ‘Deactivate’ link on the Plugins page, followed by the ‘Delete’ link.

This will remove all of the plugin’s files from the WordPress plugins directory.

Is it safe to uninstall?

Simply deactivating or uninstalling ACF will not affect any of the data you’ve created while using the plugin.

This means that the data will continue to be available throughout your site even if the plugin is no longer functioning.

Please note, however, if you are using ACF specific functions such as the_field() or get_field() to access this data in your plugin or template files, these functions will no longer exist, and your website will no longer function as expected.

Is it safe to re-install?

Because your field data remains intact after deactivation, you should be able to reinstall ACF or ACF PRO and pick up where you left off.

Simply follow the steps outlined above.

If you run into any troubles, please get in touch with support.

What next?

With ACF or ACF PRO successfully installed, you should probably [get started]()!

Getting Started Questions

Before you start

If you’re planning on using ACF to extend the capabilities of an existing website, it please back up your database and theme files before beginning. That way, you can always return your site to its original state if things don’t go as expected.

If you’re using a pre-built theme, make sure you create a child theme, as you will almost certainly be modifying template files in order to display your custom field data on the front end of your site. Having a child theme means that your changes won’t be overwritten when your theme is next updated.

Now might also be a good time to make sure you’re familiar with concepts like ‘The Loop’, and the WordPress template hierarchy. You’ll need to understand how WordPress uses theme files to output HTML in order to get the most out of the plugin.

Getting around ACF

If you’ve installed and activated ACF successfully, a new menu item titled Custom Fields will appear in the WP-Admin menu. This is your gateway into the wonderful world of ACF.

To create a new set of custom fields (or Field Group), choose Custom Fields > Add New from this menu system. To edit an existing Field Group, choose Custom Fields > Field Groups, and then select the group you want to edit from the list on that page.

The Tools page ( Custom Fields > Tools ), provides an way to import or export some or all of the Field Groups you’ve already created. These plain text, JSON exports are an easy way to move your favourite Field Groups from site to to site, or to backup a Field Group before making changes. You can also generate PHP code here to construct your custom fields from within your theme’s code. Using this option can speed up your website by reducing the number of calls made to the database.

You can enter your ACF PRO license key on the Updates page ( Custom Fields > Updates ). This will enable automatic updates and keep your plugin up to date with all the newest features.

What is a Field Group?

In ACF world, a Field Group is a collection of custom fields that will be displayed together on a WP-Admin editing screen. Behind the scenes, a Field Group is a type of custom post, which means they can be found in the Posts table of your WordPress database. A Field Group is broken up into 3 main sections:

  1. The collection of [Fields](#Link to What is a Field anchor)
  2. The [location](#link to How do I make my fields appear anchor ) settings
  3. The general settings for the Group
What is a Field?

A Field is the basic building block of ACF. It’s main purpose is to streamline the process of adding extra information to, and pulling extra information from, built in WordPress objects such as Posts, Taxonomies, and Users.

In a [Field Group](#link to What is a Field Group anchor) editing screen, you are able to specify settings for each individual field, such as labels and instructions, placeholder text and default values, whether or not a value is required, as well as attributes for the field such as CSS classes and an ID. You can also set up conditional logic for the field (which will control whether or not it is displayed) based on values entered into another field.

More complex field types can even include their own Sub Fields, and can provide the ability to create quite complex structures without needing to write large amounts of code.

What kind of Fields can I make?

ACF currently provides almost 30 different field types ranging from simple text fields through media and maps, to more complex groups of fields and relationships. You can view the full list in our documentation.

How many Fields can I make?

There is no real limit to the number of Fields you can create using the plugin. If you have room on your database server, you can keep on creating Fields.

But as a general rule, and to help both your website and your site’s administration area to maintain decent performance, we wouldn’t recommend adding more that fifty Fields to a Field Group. If you think you need more than that, it might worth reconsidering how you’re structuring your data.

Naming your Fields

Just like in most programming and development, its good practice to make your Field names both readable and descriptive. This will help you keep track of what each Field is for when you’re using them in your templates later on.

For example, rather than naming a date field just ‘date’ perhaps you could name it ‘start_date’, which would allow for an ‘end_date’ at some point in the future.

Readable and descriptive Field names will also help those coming after you.by helping them understand what you were intending when you created those fields. Consider the example below:

<?php $p = get_field('price') * get_field('amount'); ?>

versus

<?php $total_price = get_field('price_per_gram') * get_field('weight_in_grams'); ?>

Obviously the second example will give you a lot more context when you or your workmates return to this code in 6 months to update it!

How do I make my Fields appear when I’m editing?

ACF uses ‘location rules’ to determine when and where to display the Field Groups you create. You can specify these rules in the Location section of the Field Group editing page.

Location rules allow you to choose to show a Field Group based on whether or not a post is of a specific post type, or if it uses a specific template, or if it belongs to a specific category. You can also show field groups for users, taxonomies, attachments, menus, and much more. You can even specify your own custom location rules.

See also this guide for more information.

How do I make my Fields appear on my website?

You will need to edit your theme’s PHP template files to show the information entered into your Fields on your site’s front end.

ACF provides a suite of functions to assist with retrieving your Fields’ values from the database and displaying them in a template.

The documentation for each field type generally has code examples showing how to edit your template file to make the data returned by that field type display properly on the front end. Below is a simple example of using _thefield() to make a field in a basic template:

<?php

if ( have_posts() ) {
    while ( have_posts() ) {
        the_post(); 
        ?>

        <h2><?php the_field('name_of_text_field'); ?></h2>

        <?php
    } // end while
} // end if

?>
Can I customise my Fields?

Each Field has a group of settings that provide the ability to change labels, placeholder, default values, instructions, and more. There are also settings available that are specific to each field type, such as ‘options’ for a dropdown field.

If the provided settings are not configurable enough for you, you can also explore the filters that are avaialble for different field types.

Where can I find out more?

If you have more specific questions about how ACF works, please have a look through our extensive documentation.

If you would like to access our support system, please check out our Support FAQ. You can also access help through the support section of our website.

Updates Questions

Are updates free?

Yes, updates are free. Whether you’re using the free version or ACF PRO, you can keep your plugin up to date at no extra cost.

How do I update ACF?

ACF can be updated either via one-click update or manually. When an update becomes available, you will receive a notification on your Plugins page.

To apply the update via one-click update, simply click ‘update now’ in the notification on the Plugins page.

To update manually, you can download the new version of the plugin from the WordPress plugin repository. You can then safely delete the plugin directory on your server, and upload the new version via FTP.

For more details please see our guide: How to update

How do I update ACF PRO?

ACF PRO can also be updated via one-click update or manually. When an update becomes available, you will receive a notification on your Plugins page.

To apply the update via one-click update, simply click ‘update now’ in the notification on the Plugins page.

If you want to update manually, you’ll need to download the latest version from your store account.

For more details please see our guide: How to update

I upgraded from v4 to v5 and my Fields disappeared!

If you’ve upgraded from version 4 to version 5 of ACF and you can’t see you fields, first of all, don’t panic! Version 5 uses a different data structure so they might not be visible, but your fields and their values are still there.

You should see a database upgrade prompt at the top of the page on your WordPress dashboard. All you need to do is click the button to run the database upgrade process. Your fields should re-ppear once that process has been completed

If you’re still having difficulties, please get in touch.

I upgraded from v4 to v5 and the database upgrade prompt didn’t appear.

For some reason, the database upgrade process may not have triggered as expected when the new version was installed. To make this happen again, please ensure version 5 is activated and follow this procedure:

  1. Back up your database.
  2. In your wp_options table, please set the acf_version value back to the latest version you had installed ( something like 4.4.11 )
  3. Reload the wp-admin dashboard
  4. Click the database upgrade button that appears

If you’re still having troubles, please contact support.

I can’t seem to connect to the update server

In some hosting environments, communication may not be possible between your server and the WordPress update server. If this happens to you , please note any error messages you find, and contact support.

How do I downgrade ACF?

If you’d like to go back to an earlier version of ACF, we’d recommend using this rollback plugin, which is available from the WordPress repository.

Although we’re not associated with this plugin in any way, we have had reports of ACF users employing it successfully.

How do I downgrade ACF PRO?

All the previous version of ACF PRO are available for download from the downloads section of your ACF store account. To start rolling back, you’ll need to login, download and unzip the version you’d like to rollback to.

Then, on your website, you’ll need to deactivate and delete the version you’re currently running on the _Plugins_ page.

Finally, you’ll need to upload the older version to your wp-content/plugins directory. Once the older version of ACF PRO is uploaded, you will need to activate again it by finding it in the list on the _Plugins_ page in your site’s Administration area, and clicking on the ‘Activate’ link.

License Questions

What is a license?

ACF PRO introduces a standard licensing system which unlocks future updates. There are currently 2 different licenses available, these are personal and developer.

  • A personal license will unlock plugin updates on 1 website,
  • A developer license will unlock plugin updates on unlimited websites.

After purchasing an ACF PRO license, you will have access to the plugin files via your store account page, and can then use the license key on the Custom Fields > Updates page within the WP-Admin section of your website to activate and unlock plugin updates for the website.

Can I upgrade my license?

You can upgrade your license at any time. Simply login to your store account page and follow the prompts. Your license will be upgraded and you will be charged the difference in cost!

Can I downgrade my license?

Currently, this functionality does not exist, however it will be considered in the future.

How do I activate my license key?

To activate your ACF PRO license, you need to paste your license key into the available space on the page at Custom Fields > Updates. Then click the ‘Activate License’ button.

You can find this key on your store account page.

For a more detailed guide please visit our guide: How to activate.

What data is recorded upon activation

Each time an ACF PRO license key is activated, the following data is sent to the ACF website and saved to later validate activations and download updates:

  • ACF license key
  • ACF installed version
  • WP site name
  • WP site url
  • WP installed version
  • WP language
  • WP timezone

No personal data such as usernames or emails or IP addresses are recorded.

If you’d like to find out more about our approach to data and privacy, please read our Privacy Policy

Support Questions

What kind of support do you provide?

We are fanatical about support, and want you to get the best out of your website with ACF. If you run into any difficulties, there are several places you can find help:

  • Our extensive documentation contains references and guides for most situations you may encounter
  • We have an active and friendly community on our Community Forums who may be able to help you figure out the ‘how-tos’ of the ACF world.
  • The support professionals on our Help Desk will assist with your more in depth, technical challenges
  • The WordPress professionals at Codeable can provide coding support if you’re starting to feel out of your depth.
Who can access support?

Support is provided for free to everyone, without any bias to customers or beginners. Because this support service is provided for free, please take this into consideration when creating a ticket and waiting for a reply.

Please research your issue and read the relevant documentation before asking a question. This will help free up our support team and allow for faster development on the plugin which we all love.

When should I use the documentation?

If you have a question about ACF, our collection of documentation articles should always be your first stop.

We are constantly updating and expanding the documentation, based on your feedback, to try and anticipate any questions or difficulties you may have.

The documentation contains detailed technical descriptions and code examples for:

The documentation also contains dozens of friendly guides and tutorials, covering topics from Getting Started, to how to debug your code.

When should I use the Community Forums

If you’ve been through the documentation, and you’re looking for advice on how to use ACF to accomplish a specific task, our Community Forums would be a great next stop.

The chances are that if you’re looking to do something with ACF, someone before you has probably faced a similar challenge, and their solution may already be in the forums.

If there isn’t already a thread containing an answer to your question, you can create a new one, and one of the friendly fellow developers who hang around the forum will probably be able to point you in the right direction.

You can also use the forums to throw around new ideas, discuss ACF related plugins, and earn some good karma by sharing your knowledge with the community.

When should I use the Help Desk

If you run into a problem, and can’t find a solution in the documentation, or the Community Forums, please get in touch with our email help desk.

The friendly folks on the help desk will do their utmost to help you solve any problems that are ACF related, but please note, we may not always be able to help with issues that are caused by custom theme code, or conflicts and incompatibilities with other plugins.

We aim to answer your questions within 24 hours, with the exception of weekends and Australian holidays (because, mate, we’re probably throwing a shrimp on the barbie or cuddling a koala).

When should I use Codeable?

If you’re looking for a developer to help you write some custom code that involves ACF, we’ve been pretty impressed with the folks from Codeable. They have a roster of vetted developers who have specific expertise in WordPress and ACF.

Plus, they’re giving ACF users a USD$60 voucher (worth an hour of coding) if you get in touch through us.

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