The Power of ACF for Themes and Page Builders

Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a powerful tool in WordPress that allows you to add custom data fields to your posts, pages, and even custom post types. This functionality enhances the flexibility and usability of your WordPress site, making it possible to tailor content management to your specific needs. Here’s a straightforward guide on how to leverage ACF in WordPress without getting lost in technical jargon.

Setting Up ACF

  • Install the Plugin: Start by installing the ACF plugin from the WordPress plugin repository. Go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Plugins” > “Add New”, search for “Advanced Custom Fields”, and click “Install Now”, followed by “Activate”.
  • Create Your First Field Group: After activation, you’ll see a new menu item in your dashboard named “Custom Fields”. Go there, click “Add New” next to “Field Groups”. Here, you’ll create a container for your custom fields, which can be displayed on posts, pages, or custom post types.
  • Add Custom Fields: Inside the field group, click the “Add Field” button. Here, you can define the type of data you want to collect – text, images, checkboxes, etc. For each field, you’ll need to provide a field name and field type. You can also set up other options like default values and instructions for content editors.

Using ACF in Your Theme

To display ACF data on your site, you’ll need to edit your theme files. This requires some basic knowledge of PHP and how WordPress themes work. Here’s a simple example of how to display a custom field value in a post:

<?php the_field('your_field_name'); ?>

Place this code snippet in your theme file where you want the custom field data to appear, replacing 'your_field_name' with the actual name of your custom field.

Advanced Usage

  • Conditional Logic: ACF allows you to show or hide fields based on the value of other fields. This is great for creating intuitive and dynamic interfaces for content managers.
  • Options Pages: With ACF, you can create options pages – separate admin pages for site-wide settings. This is useful for settings that you need to access across multiple pages, like header scripts or a footer copyright statement.
  • Repeater Fields: The Repeater Field is a premium feature that allows you to create a set of sub-fields which can be repeated again and again while editing content. This is perfect for creating dynamic lists like event schedules, gallery images, or product features.
  • Relationship Fields: You can relate different posts, pages, or custom post types with ACF, creating powerful connections between your content. For instance, you could link a custom post type “Events” with “Speakers” to show who is speaking at each event.

Best Practices

  • Backup Your Site: Always backup your WordPress site before making changes to theme files or updating the ACF plugin.
  • Use Child Themes: When modifying your theme files to include ACF code, it’s best to do this in a child theme. This way, your changes won’t be overwritten when you update the parent theme.
  • Keep It Organized: As you start adding more custom fields and field groups, it can get overwhelming. Keep your field groups organized by assigning them to specific post types or pages and naming them clearly.
  • Test Your Fields: Always test your fields on a staging site or local environment before pushing changes live. This ensures everything works as expected without impacting your live site.

ACF is an incredibly versatile tool that, once mastered, can significantly enhance your WordPress site’s functionality and editorial workflow. While there’s a learning curve, the investment in time to learn ACF is well worth the payoff in terms of site customization and management efficiency.

While ACF is powerful on its own, its true potential shines when used in conjunction with page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi. Here’s a more detailed look into ACF’s applications and how it integrates with page builders.

Integrating ACF with Page Builders

Page builders are popular tools that offer a more visual approach to designing and creating content in WordPress. They allow users to build complex layouts with ease, without needing to write code. Integrating ACF with page builders takes this convenience further by letting you insert custom fields directly into your layouts. This combination is potent for creating dynamic and personalized websites.

Using ACF with Elementor

Elementor is one of the most popular page builders due to its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and extensive widget library. ACF complements Elementor by allowing you to dynamically insert ACF field data into Elementor widgets. For instance, you can create a custom post type for ‘Properties’ with fields for ‘Price’, ‘Location’, and ‘Photos’, and then use Elementor to design a property listing page that dynamically displays this information for each property.

To use ACF fields in Elementor:

  • Create your ACF field groups and fields as usual.
  • Edit a page with Elementor where you want to display ACF fields.
  • Drag a widget that supports dynamic content (like a text editor or image widget) into your layout.
  • Click the dynamic icon next to the widget’s content field, and select “ACF Field” from the list of dynamic tags.
  • Choose the specific ACF field you want to display from the dropdown menu.

Integrating ACF with Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is another widely-used page builder that emphasizes flexibility and ease of use. Integrating ACF with Beaver Builder allows you to incorporate custom fields into your Beaver Builder layouts. This integration is achieved through Beaver Themer, an add-on for Beaver Builder that enables theme building and inserting ACF fields into posts and templates.

To include ACF fields in Beaver Builder layouts:

  • Ensure you have Beaver Themer installed and activated along with ACF and Beaver Builder.
  • Create an ACF field group and assign it to your post, page, or custom post type.
  • Edit your layout with Beaver Builder and open the module where you want to insert an ACF field.
  • Select the ACF field from the list of connections available in the module settings.

Utilizing ACF with Divi

Divi is known for its versatile Divi Builder, a visual page builder that offers numerous modules and design options. ACF extends Divi’s capabilities by allowing you to use custom fields within Divi modules. This integration enables you to craft custom pages that dynamically display ACF field data.

To display ACF fields in Divi:

  • Create and configure your ACF fields.
  • Edit a page or post with Divi Builder.
  • Insert a module that you want to display your ACF field in.
  • Use a shortcode within the module’s content area to display your ACF field, like .

WPBakery Page Builder with ACF

WPBakery Page Builder is known for its powerful frontend and backend editor. To integrate ACF fields with WPBakery:

  • Use Text Blocks: You can insert ACF shortcodes directly into any text block. The shortcode format for displaying an ACF field is , where "field_name" is the name of your ACF field.
  • Custom WPBakery Widgets: For a more seamless integration, developers can create custom WPBakery widgets (elements) that pull in ACF fields. This method requires custom coding but results in a more integrated experience.
  • Dynamic Elements: Some WPBakery add-ons offer dynamic elements that are designed to work with custom fields, including ACF. These elements allow for the direct insertion of ACF fields without using shortcodes.

Brizy Page Builder ACF integration

Brizy stands out for its user-friendly design and intuitive interface. To use ACF with Brizy:

  • Dynamic Content Feature: Brizy supports dynamic content out of the box, which allows you to link ACF fields directly to text, image, and other elements within the Brizy editor. You simply select the element, choose “Dynamic” and then select the ACF field you want to display.
  • Custom Fields Integration: For each element that supports dynamic content, you can easily integrate your ACF fields. This is done through the Brizy UI without needing to enter any code manually.

Visual Composer and ACF

Visual Composer offers a rich drag-and-drop interface with plenty of content elements and templates. Integrating ACF with Visual Composer can be done in a few ways:

  • Text Block or Raw HTML Element: Similar to WPBakery, you can use the Text Block or Raw HTML element to insert ACF shortcodes. This method is straightforward but requires managing shortcodes manually.
  • Dynamic Content: Visual Composer also supports dynamic content. You can link ACF fields to various elements within Visual Composer through its dynamic content settings, enabling you to display custom field data seamlessly in your layouts.
  • Custom Elements: For advanced integration, developers can create custom Visual Composer elements that harness ACF fields. This approach provides the most flexibility and integration depth but requires PHP and WordPress development knowledge.

General Tips for Integration

  • Explore Add-ons and Extensions: Many page builders have add-ons or extensions that enhance their compatibility with ACF. These tools can simplify the process of integrating ACF fields into your page builder layouts.
  • Leverage the ACF and Page Builder Communities: The WordPress community is vast and supportive. If you encounter challenges integrating ACF with your page builder, forums and community groups can be invaluable resources.
  • Consider Performance: Dynamic content can impact your site’s performance. Optimize your ACF fields and query them efficiently to ensure your site remains fast and responsive.

Wrap Up

Integrating Advanced Custom Fields with page builders unlocks a level of customization and flexibility that can significantly enhance your WordPress site’s functionality and design. By combining the structural control of ACF with the visual design capabilities of page builders, you can create highly personalized and dynamic content layouts that cater precisely to your needs. Whether you’re using Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, or another page builder, leveraging ACF within your page building process is a powerful way to elevate your website’s design and user experience.