Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video What you can do with InfoPath, part of InfoPath 2013 Essential Training.
In case you're relatively new to InfoPath Form Development, I'd like to provide an overview so you can think about what InfoPath can do for you in the place that it might have in your organization. Well some of us create forms for our own use. Many of us create most or all of the InfoPath Forms, we create for others to use. And even if you begin by thinking that you're creating forms for your own use, if they are grand looking forms and you have other colleagues who have similar work or similar functions they are going to say, I wish I could do that and now you're creating forms for your whole department or your entire team.
So before I say what can InfoPath do for me, it's helpful to think what can InfoPath do for my users? What can InfoPath do for my colleagues? What role does InfoPath have in my organization? Now on screen you're seeing one of the forms that we will create in this course. This is called the Web Post Request Form. We'll create other forms as well and you don't need to know the details of this one, but this form isn't even finished, and even in its raw state, it's a beautiful form compared to anything you can quickly create in Word, Excel, Acrobat or other tools that you use to create forms.
This is the user experience of the form. If they're using the InfoPath filler software, they have the ability to go in and type text, they can use dropdown list, they can select date, they can insert hyperlinks, click buttons, insert ink drawings. Whatever they would like to do they can manage that right here. So this is a powerful form that allows users to insert not just text data but other types of data and even attach entire files.
When your users want to provide data, this form is a great mechanism for that. But when we look at the organization, or our user community as a whole, there's even more functionality available simply because we're using InfoPath here rather than some other tool. We already can see that users will be able to fill out the form, but they could do that with Word, or Excel, or a form that they scribble information on, on a tablet or the back of a napkin. So what's next? Well, one of the most amazing things is that they'll never have to print this form and put it in an envelope in most of our use scenarios.
They can simply click a button that says Submit and send this form off on its way to a distribution list or another user, or to a folder in Microsoft Exchange configured to receive posts. They can submit this completed form to a SharePoint library and if you provide a connection they can send it to a database. There are some other methods as well. And then finally, if you're using SharePoint as your form publishing location your users will have the ability to aggregate form data and do some analysis, something that they can't easily do with data collected from forms created in Excel or Word.
In fact, if you want to be able to analyze aggregated data that was originally entered in Word or Excel, you will begin by writing some custom code to extract that data. With InfoPath we don't have to do that, and it creates lots of wins for our users. So what users can do with InfoPath is fill out form, in InfoPath Filler or in a Browser, such as Internet Explorer. They can submit the form by email, or to SharePoint or to a database. And then, if you're using SharePoint, they can aggregate and view their form details.
And what can you look forward to as an InfoPath Form Developer? Well this is the preview of the form, let's look at our Design View, here we see all of the different controls that we can use to create a rich user experience, all of the formatting that's available. The ability to insert different types of Layout Tables, and Pictures to Design our Pages, to connect to a vast array of data sources either to pull data into the form like a dropdown list, or to send data back out of the form once it's done.
We can create rules to determine how things are done automatically within our form. And then, over here on the right we have a Field list that we create as we are creating this form. InfoPath Forms capture data as XML, extensible markup language. XML is a standard that crosses many different types of databases and many different types of platforms. It doesn't matter, if you're on a Mac, or if you're on a Windows PC, if you're running Linux, you have access to XML.
And so, XML is our generic standard for exchanging data between different organizations, between different individuals. All of the controls here in InfoPath are made to capture XML data and this Field list is actually description of an XML file called the schema that gets created as you and I worked together. Microsoft InfoPath Designer 2013, which we see here, is a powerful Form Design tool and it will allow you to connect to a wide range of data sources to design and theme your form documents to use its rich array of controls to capture data and to present choices and options to your users.
Microsoft InfoPath Designer isn't just a tool to create the most amazing forms you'll ever make. It's a tool that will help you create business solutions.
- What is InfoPath?
- Creating a template from scratch
- Importing Word and Excel forms
- Creating and modifying data sources
- Adding and formatting a layout table
- Choosing a theme
- Working with form controls like date pickers and check boxes
- Using tables and sections for repeating data
- Publishing forms and templates
- Enabling digital signatures in a form