I’m creating an extension that on installation, programmatically creates a channel and fields for that channel.

One of the fields I’d like to create is a Grid field to store PDF documents against an entry. But reading through ExpressionEngine’s documentation on the channel fields API there’s no mention of Grid, and I can’t find anywhere that specifies the options for creating a Grid field.

What options do I need to specify? So far I have this:

    'field_name' => 'floor_plans',
    'field_label' => 'Floor Plans',
    'field_type' => 'grid',
    'field_order' => 30,
    'field_instructions' => 'The floor plans for the property',
    'field_required' => 'n',
    'field_search' => 'n',
    'field_is_hidden' => 'n',

This creates the Grid field, but there are no inputs to enter data.


2 Answers 2


Have you had a look at the Grid Model that is in the system folder? Specifically /system/expressionengine/models/grid_model.php

This model has methods for creating new Grid Fields (create_field on line 140), add and update columns (save_col_settings on lone 235) and saving data into the grid (save_field_data on line 689). Is this the API you are looking for?

Surfice to say, this Model shows you the code to create grids, columns and data. With a little searching you could probably find the code that calls these model functions for examples on how to use (appologies I don't have a test enviroment to post actual code for you atm) I suspect in the /system/expressionengine/fieldtypes/ft.grid.php is a good place to start for this. Another place is the apply_settings function on line 606 of /system/expressionengine/fieldtypes/libraries/Grid_lib.php

In order to load and use the model, all you need to do in your model is :

//load the Grid Model

//create a new Grid field (PSEUDO)
$settings = array(
    'settings_for_grid' => true
$new_field = ee()->grid_model->create_field($settings, 'grid');

//create a column on the new grid
$col_id = 1;
$col_settings = array(
    'settings_for_column' => true
$col_ids[] = ee()->grid_model->save_col_settings($col_settings, $col_id = 1, 'grid');

Seems straight forward enougth, although determining your settings (for the columns look to like 645 ;) ) might be a pain it should work, after all this is how the admin CP creates the fields!

Let us know how you get on mate!


I've been sitting back waiting for an API of some kind to show up, but I haven't been able to find anything. You have created the grid field, but it doesn't have any columns. I believe you are going to have to manipulate the exp_grid_columns table manually.


$grid_column = array(
    'field_id' => $field_id,
    'content_type' => 'channel',
    'col_order' => 0,          //order of the columns
    'col_type'  => '',         //field type name (text, textarea, assets)
    'col_label' => '',         //the name of the column
    'col_name' => '',          //the short_name of the column
    'col_instructions' => '',  //instructions for the column
    'col_required' => 'n',     //is this column required
    'col_search => 'n',        //is this column searchable
    'col_width' => 0,          //zero is auto
    'col_settings' => ''       //the settings for the field type
$query = ee()->db->insert("grid_columns", $grid_column);

What I would suggest, is to create a grid fieldtype the way you would like through the channel fields editor, and then look at the grid_columns table to get an idea of how it's set up.

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