Last updated 6 December 2014. Created on 20 May 2012.
Edited by Sweetchuck, samwilson, bisonbleu, COBadger. Log in to edit this page.

Getting started

  1. Create a View.
  2. Add a "Bulk operations" field if available (see technical details below).
  3. Configure the field. There's a "Views Bulk Operations" fieldset where the actions visible to the user are selected.
  4. Go to the View page. VBO functionality should be present.

Note that any D6 views that used the VBO style plugin instead of the VBO field will need to be recreated.

Technical details

The module relies on the Views Form API available in Views 3.
The selection field (checkbox / radio) is provided as a views field called "Bulk operations".
The field can use a relationship, allowing you to have a node view with operations on node authors, for example.
Note that currently a View can only have one VBO field. Even if the view has several VBO fields, only the first one found will be used.

The "Bulk operations" views field is available in Views for all entity base tables, since VBO relies on entities directly and no longer has its own "object" abstraction.

There is Drush integration available, allowing you to run an action against the resultset of any View that has the VBO field in its master display.

Operations are gathered from two sources:
1) Drupal core actions (hook_action_info() and advanced actions added through the Actions UI)
2) Rules 2
Note that VBO no longer supports hook_node_operations() and hook_user_operations()
which were supported in in the Drupal 6 branch.

Rules 2 integration

The module can execute any created Rules component (rule, ruleset, action set) that accepts an entity (example types: "node", "entity")
or a list entity type (example types: "list<node>", "list<entity>") as the first parameter.
As a reminder, Rules components can be created at admin/config/workflow/rules/components.

A Rules action is provided that loads a list of entities from a VBO View.
That list can then be iterated on in Rules, and used in further actions.
The purpose of this action is to replace the old "Execute VBO" action with a more elegant solution.
There is also a Rules condition for checking the number of results returned by a VBO View.


By default, VBO passes only one entity at a time to the operation. This allows the entity loading to be segmented into chunks, avoiding memory limits and timeouts.

However, some operations need all selected entities to be passed at once, which requires aggregation to be turned on. For core actions that means setting "aggregate" => TRUE in your hook_action_info() implementation. For Rules components, that means requiring a list entity type as the first parameter such as list.

Note, loading can't be segmented when aggregation is on, so the usual methods of executing (Batch API, Drupal Queue) are bypassed and all entities are loaded at once, making it possible to hit the memory limit. That's why aggregation should only be enabled for actions that require a smaller amount of items to be selected.

See the VBO action "Pass ids as arguments to a page" in actions/ for an example implementation.


By default (for performance reasons), VBO doesn't pass the selected views rows to actions.

However, when a Drupal core action declares 'pass rows' => TRUE in its definition (hook_action_info()), VBO does pass the full rows
through the $context array. So $context['rows'] has an array of selected rows in the form of $row_index => $views_row.
If the action is using aggregation, $context['rows'] will include all selected rows.
Otherwise, only the current row (that is being operated on) will be included.

Using this feature has a memory cost and is not recommended for actions that process a big number of rows.
Also, if all rows on all pages are selected, only the rows from the first page will be passed through. This is a known issue.

Right now there is no way for a Rules 2 component to receive context, but there are plans to change that, see #1540984: Pass context to rules.

Execution methods

When configuring the VBO field, the following setting can be seen:
"Number of entities to load at once", set to 10 by default.
When the number of selected items is less than that, the entities are loaded all at once, and appropriate operations are fired.
When the number of selected items is more than that, Batch API is used to load the entities in smaller groups
(the size of which is taken from that setting), and a progress bar is shown.

Alternatively, the user can choose to use the Drupal Queue, by enabling the
"Enqueue the operation instead of executing it directly" checkbox for each desired action in the VBO field settings.
The entities and their operation are then enqueued one by one, to be processed by the queue worker (which usually happens when cron is run).
This is useful for postponing long running operations.

Looking for support? Visit the forums, or join #drupal-support in IRC.


texas-bronius’s picture possible with a solution in #1436726: Add integrations with Views Bulk Operations (sample VBO action to expose selected records to CSV export included herein) so you don't have to try to click on that over-quota hosted site we all see Google pointing us too :)

80s themed Drupal T-Shirts

stieglitz’s picture

I found this in my quest to get this functionality for webform: by I havent had a chance to install it but it looks promising. It should be a full module if it works IMO