Chapter 10. Gathering Data with InfoPath

SharePoint can collect data using lists or InfoPath Form Libraries. Lists use the NewForm.aspx page to collect entries—I showed you how to customize that page in Chapter 4. You can do a lot with lists, but InfoPath is better suited for these tasks:

  • Data validation

  • Conditional formatting

  • Submitting to database

  • Submitting via email

  • Collecting signatures

  • Read-only views of data

In this chapter, I will show you how to use Microsoft InfoPath 2007 to leverage those advantages through SharePoint Form libraries and InfoPath Forms Services.

What Software Do You Need?

To fill out InfoPath forms, a user needs Microsoft InfoPath installed on her computer. InfoPath is included with the Microsoft Office 2007 Professional Plus, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. It can also be bought separate from Office.

Others can edit or view completed forms without having InfoPath installed through InfoPath Forms Services, which are included with MOSS Enterprise Edition. Forms Services converts InfoPath forms to web-enabled forms that can be filled out using the standard web browser. However, web-enabled forms are more limited than full InfoPath forms, so you’ll need to analyze the form requirements before you decide whether that will work for your application.

In addition, form developers may need Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) or Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) to program InfoPath forms. InfoPath includes its own form designer, so the Visual Studio tools are ...

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