So in my organization I am considered the InfoPath guy, reason….well I think everyone love to torcher me with complex and sometime crazy form ideas that clients come up with.
Scott, can we do 3 data connections sending data to the form in 3 different sections. Then have rules and conditions on the form that allow those areas to be visible based on form selections…..YEP
Scott, can we have all the user information that is filling out the form, auto-populate with there Active Directory information…YES
Scott, can we create Grids on the form, that allow folks to update this and then submit them into SharePoint lists….NO, I actually do say NO sometimes…LOL
So I have decided to start tackling some questions that I get via email, or via comments. This will be a series of posts over the next few months covering some fun topics:
Design, Publishing options,Data Connections, Field Options, InfoPath Views, Page Layout options, Format and Presentation, and Developer.
So I figured the best way to do this is simply starting from a base InfoPath form, and work my way from left to right on the Ribbon Tabs. Today I am going to actually start with FILE…yes FILE this is a Tab on the Ribbon, and has a ton of functions I am betting most you you miss.
Form Information and Form Properties
So I actually know folks who never, I mean never go to this option. Major mistake. There is a few great tricks here.
So with Quick Publish this gives the ability to do a quick re-publish to an existing form that you have already created. This is a great time saver once you have formally Published your form. Keep in mind this really only works once you have completed the process using the Publish option.
You can do this step at any time during the form creation process. Nice part about this option is once you have published a form it is a great way to quickly come back in and make a change to the Submit options. Click on the Advanced Button to see more options.
The Submission process is really the culmination of a great form. If you build a beautiful form, and your submission and notifications stick…then is that not like dressing up a pig. Seriously.
Focus on two areas:
- Submit Options: You have 4 general ways to submit your form. Single Destination, Data Connection, Custom Rules, or Code.
- Notification, post submission: This is all focused on what POPs up and what the form does post Submit action. Make sure you use a unified language here, and is fitting your business purpose. Important note, this is not multi-lingual, so consider that.
TIP: Performing the submission via code will drastically effect your Publishing process. As you will now be required to publish via Administration, not just simple Content Type or Library. So make sure to contact your Site Collection Administrator before you design or try to implement.
So you have created a great form, now what. Well before you publish it for everyone to see and use check your work. This option gives you an automated method to validate your settings, options, fields, rules, etc…
When you select this option you will get a new Side Bar that will run a scan of your form. If you have no issues you will see the bar to the right here…
Now it is important to address any error you get, as these can only compound over time, or may have significant issues with your data integrity.
Verify on Server…. you will see this option to the bottom of the form. By checking this option you are asking the Design Checker to communicate with your SharePoint server and verify the form. If you are doing this offline, or do not have the infrastructure of the form in place. You will see this notice.
You also have the option to Change Settings….this is will give the chance to correct or input your Server Validation information.
TIP: Make sure you’re server url end with _vti_bin/FormsServices.asmx
The Advanced Form Options will give you the ability to change deep configurations and features behind the scenes. This includes key changes such as Offline ability, Security and Trusts, Compatibility, and Filler Features.
TIP: A common option overlooked here is the ability to suppress the InfoPath Ribbon from users. I am a fan of this to limit the ability of my users Save, Print, or do other actions. This also limits the Command on the Ribbon if you want.
The last of the Information options is the Form Template Properties. This is overlooked a lot. I am a fan of seeing this as just finishing the book. Make sure you update your Form Name, and provide a Description. You will see when you update the name, the ID also adapts.
Category: this gives you the ability to categorize your forms, such as HR Forms, Sales Forms, etc.
So I wanted to wrap this post up by saying keep in mind that in many cases the business gets wrapped up in the Look and Feel, or the function of the form. You have many other options and considerations to ensure you tackle.