Working with trees in Django forms


The following custom form fields are provided in the mptt.forms package.


This is the default formfield used by TreeForeignKey

A subclass of ModelChoiceField which represents the tree level of each node when generating option labels.

For example, where a form which used a ModelChoiceField:

category = ModelChoiceField(queryset=Category.objects.all())

…would result in a select with the following options:

Root 1
Child 1.1
Child 1.1.1
Root 2
Child 2.1
Child 2.1.1

Using a TreeNodeChoiceField instead:

category = TreeNodeChoiceField(queryset=Category.objects.all())

…would result in a select with the following options:

Root 1
--- Child 1.1
------ Child 1.1.1
Root 2
--- Child 2.1
------ Child 2.1.1

The text used to indicate a tree level can by customised by providing a level_indicator argument:

category = TreeNodeChoiceField(queryset=Category.objects.all(),

…which for this example would result in a select with the following options:

Root 1
+-- Child 1.1
+--+-- Child 1.1.1
Root 2
+-- Child 2.1
+--+-- Child 2.1.1

The starting level can be set so querysets not including the root object can still be displayed in a convenient way. Use the start_level argument to set the starting point for levels:

obj = Category.objects.get(pk=1)
category = TreeNodeChoiceField(queryset=obj.get_descendants(),

…which for this example would result in a select with the following options:

--- Child 1.1.1


Just like TreeNodeChoiceField, but accepts more than one value.


A subclass of ChoiceField whose choices default to the valid arguments for the move_to method.


The following custom form is provided in the mptt.forms package.


A form which allows the user to move a given node from one location in its tree to another, with optional restriction of the nodes which are valid target nodes for the move_to method


The form contains the following fields:

  • target – a TreeNodeChoiceField for selecting the target node for the node movement.

    Target nodes will be displayed as a single <select> with its size attribute set, so the user can scroll through the target nodes without having to open the dropdown list first.

  • position – a TreeNodePositionField for selecting the position of the node movement, related to the target node.


Required arguments:

When constructing the form, the model instance representing the node to be moved must be passed as the first argument.

Optional arguments:


If provided, this keyword argument will define the list of nodes which are valid for selection in form. Otherwise, any instance of the same model class as the node being moved will be available for selection, apart from the node itself and any of its descendants.

For example, if you want to restrict the node to moving within its own tree, pass a QuerySet containing everything in the node’s tree except itself and its descendants (to prevent invalid moves) and the root node (as a user could choose to make the node a sibling of the root node).

If provided, this keyword argument will be used to set the size of the select used for the target node. Defaults to 10.
A tuple of allowed position choices and their descriptions.
A string which will be used to represent a single tree level in the target options.

save() method

When the form’s save() method is called, it will attempt to perform the node movement as specified in the form.

If an invalid move is attempted, an error message will be added to the form’s non-field errors (accessible using {{ form.non_field_errors }} in templates) and the associated mptt.exceptions.InvalidMove will be re-raised.

It’s recommended that you attempt to catch this error and, if caught, allow your view to to fall through to rendering the form again again, so the error message is displayed to the user.

Example usage

A sample view which shows basic usage of the form is provided below:

from django.http import HttpResponseRedirect
from django.shortcuts import render_to_response

from faqs.models import Category
from mptt.exceptions import InvalidMove
from mptt.forms import MoveNodeForm

def move_category(request, category_pk):
    category = get_object_or_404(Category, pk=category_pk)
    if request.method == 'POST':
        form = MoveNodeForm(category, request.POST)
        if form.is_valid():
                category =
                return HttpResponseRedirect(category.get_absolute_url())
            except InvalidMove:
        form = MoveNodeForm(category)

    return render_to_response('faqs/move_category.html', {
        'form': form,
        'category': category,
        'category_tree': Category.objects.all(),