Override binary field mode

This is the official documentation of the forestadmin/laravel-forestadmin v2+ and forestadmin/symfony-forestadmin PHP agents.

In Forest Admin, binary fields are not handled specially: they are included in the payloads that transit between your agent and the UI like any other field. To achieve that they are either encoded using the data-URI scheme ↗ or in hexadecimal representation ↗.

Binary fields in databases are usually either used to store compact data (like a hash or an identifier) or large data (like an image).

To be able to handle both cases, Forest Admin has two distinct modes available.


hex mode

datauri mode

Best suited for

Compact data (identifiers, hashes, ...)

Large data (files)


The binary data is encoded in hexadecimal representation.

The binary data is encoded using the data-URI scheme.




UI widget

Textual representation

File picker / viewer

Default mode

Field is used as either a primary or foreign key

Field is not used as either a primary or foreign key

Switching between modes

Note that as both modes result in a textual representation of the binary data, changing the mode will not affect the widget used in the UI.

You will need to update the widget manually using the UI customization ↗ feature.

Using the hexadecimal mode

The hexadecimal mode is suitable for all data that you would not save in a file.

It is the default mode for all binary fields that are used as either a primary or foreign key.

If you want to use the hexadecimal mode for another field, use the replaceFieldBinaryMode method:

use ForestAdmin\AgentPHP\DatasourceCustomizer\CollectionCustomizer;

  function (CollectionCustomizer $builder) {
    $builder->replaceFieldBinaryMode('avatar', 'hex')

Using the data-URI mode

The data-URI mode is suitable for all data that you would save in a file (images, PDFs, ...).

When using that mode, you will be able to use both the File Viewer ↗ and the File Picker ↗ widgets in the UI to respectively preview and upload files.

If the automatic detection based on the field type is not working for you, you can force the datauri mode using the replaceFieldBinaryMode method as so:

use ForestAdmin\AgentPHP\DatasourceCustomizer\CollectionCustomizer;

  function (CollectionCustomizer $builder) {
    $builder->replaceFieldBinaryMode('avatar', 'datauri')

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