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SharePoint and InfoPath

From: SharePoint 2010 Essential Training

Video: SharePoint and InfoPath

SharePoint and InfoPath were made for each other. While Microsoft has done a great job with integrating SharePoint with Word and Excel and Outlook, InfoPath is one of those programs that if you're not using it together with SharePoint, you're really missing out on what it can do. But what is it? InfoPath is part of Microsoft Office that you won't find it in every edition of Microsoft Office. It's typically available in the more expensive versions, like Professional Plus rather than Office Standard, and it's one of the newer Office programs, only been around for a few years.

SharePoint and InfoPath

SharePoint and InfoPath were made for each other. While Microsoft has done a great job with integrating SharePoint with Word and Excel and Outlook, InfoPath is one of those programs that if you're not using it together with SharePoint, you're really missing out on what it can do. But what is it? InfoPath is part of Microsoft Office that you won't find it in every edition of Microsoft Office. It's typically available in the more expensive versions, like Professional Plus rather than Office Standard, and it's one of the newer Office programs, only been around for a few years.

So I still do come across a lot of people that have never used it. InfoPath is a program for creating and filling out electronic forms, and by forms I mean something like a vacation request form, an expense form, a requisition order, purchase order. The kind of thing that yes, you might have previously written that in Word or Excel or converted it to a PDF, but those aren't great ways of making forms. They tend to be brittle, and they can be easily broken, and they can be easily changed. In InfoPath, you can design forms, I'm going to start with a blank form here, where you get the ability to lay out a form using a bunch of graphical controls and then insert the different elements onto that, like text boxes and date pickers and combo boxes, so that without any code you can quite easily create a rich user interface with a lot of control over the data that people have to put on the form in order to fill it out properly.

Now InfoPath works in two very different modes, either designing a form, what I'm doing here, or filling out a form, and in fact in this version of Office for the first time they've actually split it up into two programs, the InfoPath Designer and the InfoPath Filler, and here's the benefit of using InfoPath together with SharePoint. After designing a form we can move it into SharePoint. It's called publishing. We're publishing it into SharePoint as a template, so that we design the Form once, and then we can let hundreds of people fill it out without ever accidentally changing our form.

Let me show you a very quick demo of this. As you might understand, InfoPath itself is really a whole course in itself, but I'll give you some of the basics of the process here. I'm going to make a new InfoPath form. Now you'll notice that even right at the top of InfoPath forms it's got a couple of options that seem to have something to do with SharePoint. In fact, this first option here says you've got a template for a SharePoint form library. Now what is this? Well, a form library in SharePoint is very similar to a document library. It's really a library that's just designed to have an InfoPath form in it, and you'll see exactly the impact of that.

They behave very much like document libraries, but this is the one that I want. I'm going to select that and then say Design Form. I'm going to create a very simple form here. Notice that it gives you some suggestions for adding labels, so we could say well I want to put a name, then it says Add control. I click that and think, well, what would the name be? I'm going to say Text Box. Notice that as I add these fields they start off being called field1, but if I double-click that I can give that a more useful thing like Name. I could put in something like Department.

I'm now going to add a control here that would be a drop-down list. I'll change the value of that to be Department. Because I added this as a drop-down list, I can click this box to say Edit Choices where I can just manually add in a few choices such as my Operations department, my Sales department and my Marketing department. I'll leave it at that for the moment. I'm just doing this as a very quick demo and we could put in say Email. I accidentally added the field name there, there we go, and I'm going to blank out the others.

Let's put in one more here of a date. I'm going to put in a Date Picker. Call that date and here through InfoPath, I can give it a default value. It gives me some suggestions that I can insert a function here, such as average, floor, round. Well we've got some date and time stuff. I've got a Date and let's say today. That looks good, click OK and then in how much I could just put Amount, add a control that's a Text Box. We can say that this is not a text string, this is a decimal, and I could itself put in some data formats here, such as the currency symbol and if I wanted to, I could add some rules to this.

That it has to be between a certain number, and if it's between a certain number show an error or show it up as Bad, don't allow to be submitted. I'm going to leave that as Blank right now. So this is a very simple and straightforward, obviously very simplistic form here, but I'm going to show you the process of taking this and putting this into SharePoint. First I'm just going to save this file, because I'm just working right now on my desktop. This has done nothing with SharePoint right now. The thing that I need to do is go to my File menu and come down and say Publish.

It's going to ask me, where do you want to publish this to, send this by E-mail, send it to a network location or what it prefers, SharePoint Server? I'm going to click that option. it's going to ask, what's the location of the SharePoint site? I'll enter the name of that team site that I've been using all along. Click Next. I'm going to uncheck this option at the top that says Enable this form to be filled out using a browser. I'll come back to that in just a minute. It's going to ask, what do you want to create or modify, a form library? I'm going to accept the default value.

This means basically create my own document library with this in it. It's going to ask and make sure, do you want to make a new form library? Yes, I do, I'm accepting the default on this screen again. Give it a name. I'm going to say Expense Advances. Optional description, I click Next. So now it's going to ask if there's certain fields I want from the form that I want to show up when I'm just looking at the library, the same way that I see title and date modified by when I'm looking at a document library. I'm going to say yes, I'm going to click the Add button, and it's showing me the fields that I defined on my form such as name and department.

I'll just accept those two, click Next and click Publish. My form template was published successfully. I can check to open the form library and click Close, and as we see here we're in a library called Expense Advances in our team site. There's no documents in it. You maybe thinking, well, didn't we upload one? Well no, what we did is we created that InfoPath form as the template for this library. and what that means is if I'm going through my Document option here and I say New Document, it doesn't create a new blank Word document.

It's going to create a new Expense Advance Form. It's actually going to open up InfoPath in the "fill this form out" mode, not the edit mode. Notice that I can't shift things around. I can't change this. I can't drag off controls, I can't accidentally delete a macro, the same way I might have this had been written in Excel for example. So I'll put something in, we'll select a department from the drop-down, we'll put in the email and we could even put in an amount here.

When I close this, it's going to prompt me to save my changes. Do you want to save these changes? Yes, sure, why not? Give it a name and save it back into SharePoint. I'm still looking in InfoPath here because I still have that open. Refresh this library and I actually see that entry there. If I wanted to take a look at this and perhaps edit it again, I can just click the drop-down and say Edit in Microsoft InfoPath. It opens up in the Form Filler mode. I can make the changes. You see those have all been reread in, in the correct place. I'll close down all the different InfoPath windows I had open there.

So while this is obviously a very quick and a very simplistic example of an InfoPath form, you're probably getting the picture that you can create quite powerful forms very quickly with data validation and without code. And there's one more piece to this. In what I just showed you, I created the form using InfoPath and I filled the form out using InfoPath, but what if your users don't have InfoPath? After all InfoPath is not included in the Standard Office applications. Well, there's an answer to that too, but the answer only comes if you have SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, and if you do, there's a feature called Forms Services that really means "turn my InfoPath form into a Web page." I'm going to go back into InfoPath, the Designer and open up the recent form that I was playing around with, that Expense Advance Form.

And once I have the form open in InfoPath, I'm going to go back to my Publish section on the File menu. Rather than Quick Publish, which would just take a change that I've made and keep everything the same, I'm going to republish it to the SharePoint Server. It's keeping all the things that it knows about. Yes, I'm going to go back to that same library. However, this time I'm going to check this box, Enable this form to be filled out using a browser. Now this will require that you have the Enterprise Edition of SharePoint 2010, in fact, if InfoPath detects or even thinks that you don't, it won't allow that option to be checked.

That's the only thing I'm going to do different, and then I'm going to click in the Next button, going to say update the template in the existing form library, click Next, keep my same columns and click Publish. I'm just going to close InfoPath completely down, so it doesn't confuse the picture here anymore, and go back and refresh that library. It looks the same, absolutely, but now when I click Add document, what it's going to do is open up that form, which looks identical, but this time it's in the browser, and what that means is anybody could be now filling out this form and they wouldn't have to have a copy of InfoPath on their own machine, and that's what Forms Services does for you.

Now make no mistake about it, you can use InfoPath just fine with even the most basic version of SharePoint, even SharePoint Foundation, but if you want to take your InfoPath forms and publish them as web pages, you need the Forms Services option that's only in SharePoint Enterprise. Everything else behaves the same way. We've still got the date pickers. We've got the ability to format our numbers. We can click Save. We can just save that directly into that library. It's a very well done web-based version of the InfoPath Form Filler.

Like many pieces of SharePoint, as you can imagine, working with InfoPath could be a multi-hour course all in its own, but these are the core concepts of working with InfoPath and SharePoint, and hopefully, you can understand from this if it's something that you want to pursue or not.

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This video is part of

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SharePoint 2010 Essential Training

70 video lessons · 47933 viewers

Simon Allardice
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 16m 34s
    1. What is SharePoint?
      8m 9s
    2. SharePoint roles
      2m 5s
    3. Accessing SharePoint
      4m 48s
    4. The SharePoint product line
      1m 32s
  3. 44m 55s
    1. What is a team site?
      2m 43s
    2. Navigating a team site
      9m 41s
    3. Using team site lists and libraries
      11m 38s
    4. Editing the home page
      9m 31s
    5. Adding a Web Part
      6m 19s
    6. Deleting a Web Part
      5m 3s
  4. 10m 53s
    1. What is a Document Workspace?
      4m 2s
    2. Creating a Document Workspace
      4m 3s
    3. Deleting a Document Workspace
      2m 48s
  5. 6m 3s
    1. What is a Meeting Workspace?
      2m 7s
    2. Creating a Meeting Workspace
      2m 40s
    3. Deleting a Meeting Workspace
      1m 16s
  6. 36m 3s
    1. Exploring the available lists
      5m 30s
    2. Creating a custom list
      8m 44s
    3. Creating a custom view
      6m 43s
    4. Working with libraries
      6m 18s
    5. Using versioning and Check In/Check Out
      8m 48s
  7. 45m 55s
    1. SharePoint and Word
      6m 6s
    2. SharePoint and Outlook
      7m 38s
    3. SharePoint and Excel
      3m 54s
    4. SharePoint and Access
      2m 58s
    5. SharePoint and InfoPath
      11m 42s
    6. SharePoint and PowerPoint
      3m 46s
    7. SharePoint and Visio
      6m 20s
    8. Using SharePoint Workspace
      3m 31s
  8. 32m 8s
    1. What is a site collection?
      3m 56s
    2. Creating a site collection
      6m 35s
    3. Creating a new site
      6m 29s
    4. Customizing a site
      7m 47s
    5. Creating a site template
      7m 21s
  9. 13m 53s
    1. Understanding permissions
      3m 33s
    2. Adding a user to a site
      5m 14s
    3. Deleting a user from a site
      1m 39s
    4. Creating a new security group
      3m 27s
  10. 31m 54s
    1. Using out-of-the-box workflows
      11m 1s
    2. Creating your own workflows with SharePoint Designer
      15m 20s
    3. Creating your own workflows with Visio
      5m 33s
  11. 40m 36s
    1. Using site templates
      5m 49s
    2. Using the web content management features
      10m 40s
    3. Using master pages
      3m 37s
    4. Creating an Enterprise Wiki
      7m 14s
    5. Sharing an Access database with Access Services
      7m 19s
    6. Working with rich media
      5m 57s
  12. 53m 9s
    1. Managing documents and records
      3m 0s
    2. What are content types?
      4m 22s
    3. Creating a content type
      11m 30s
    4. What are document sets?
      2m 12s
    5. Creating document sets
      7m 49s
    6. Creating a Document Center
      4m 37s
    7. Creating a Record Center
      8m 25s
    8. Defining information management policy
      11m 14s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Using personal and social features
      7m 28s
    2. Creating a SharePoint blog
      2m 48s
    3. Personalizing SharePoint with tags and notes
      5m 26s
  14. 21m 22s
    1. Searching in SharePoint
      4m 26s
    2. Creating a Search Center
      8m 4s
    3. Customizing Search with keywords
      3m 30s
    4. Customizing Search with scopes
      5m 22s
  15. 47m 18s
    1. Using Excel Services
      10m 12s
    2. Creating a Business Intelligence Center
      3m 5s
    3. Using PerformancePoint Services
      12m 3s
    4. Using status indicators
      8m 10s
    5. Using the Chart Web Parts
      6m 33s
    6. Using Business Connectivity Services (BCS)
      7m 15s
  16. 1m 3s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 3s

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