Django displaying CheckboxSelectMultiple in columns with Bootstrap

The django-bootstrap3 package is used to show django forms with bootstrap.

Most of the fields have their own bootstrap widgets except for:


Unfortunately that makes the CheckboxSelectMultiple render as a single line of vertical checkboxes. Not making use of space that well. So how do we change the way it is rendered?

Since django 1.11, custom renderers simply by changing the template as opposed to overriding the render method prior to django 1.11.

So let us figure out which template we need to change. Search the django source code for CheckboxSelectMultiple. We find it in django.forms.widgets.CheckboxSelectMultiple and the template it is using is template_name = 'django/forms/widgets/checkbox_select.html'.

So we override it:

class ColumnCheckboxSelectMultiple(forms.widgets.CheckboxSelectMultiple):
    template_name = 'forms/widgets/bootstrap_checkbox_select.html'

Then we create the template in:/templates/forms/widgets/bootstrap_checkbox_select.html

Unfortunately we get an error saying the TemplateDoesNotExist at /xxx/

Now the problem is it is not looking in project DIRs. This is sorted by adding the following in your settings file:

FORM_RENDERER = 'django.forms.renderers.TemplatesSetting'
and adding django.forms to INSTALLED_APPS
For more details on why you have to de this checkout this stackoverflow answer

Making the Template

So we have copied the contents of django/forms/templates/django/forms/widgets/multiple_input.html to templates/forms/widgets/bootstrap_checkbox_select.html


django-bootstrap is actually rendering the widget or overriding how it is being rendered.

So what we just did makes no difference and even better than that, this is something that can be solved with css. We want to split these checkboxes into columns.

In essence all we need is the following form field:

    user = forms.ModelChoiceField(
                "checked": "",
                "class": "column-checkbox"

and the following css:

.column-checkbox {
    padding-top: 20px;

.column-checkbox .checkbox {
    display: block;
    float: left;
    width: 25%;

There was an issue with the above that made the continer div not have a height. To fix this make sure that overflow: auto; for the containing div.