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SharePoint® Server 2010 Enterprise Content Management by Russ Houberg, Brett Grego, Chris Caplinger, Todd Kitta

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Chapter 11

Electronic Forms with InfoPath

What's in this chapter?

  • An overview of electronic forms, why they exist, and when to use them
  • Working with Microsoft's forms
  • Understanding of how InfoPath integrates with SharePoint
  • Architecting and managing electronic forms solutions on the Microsoft platform

Electronic Forms Overview

Forms have been an integral part of business processes since well before the ENIAC ushered in the era of general-purpose computing in 1946. Tax forms, job applications, surveys, and financial aid request forms are a few examples of forms you are likely familiar with, and you might have dealt with the paper versions of these many times in your life, perhaps too many times.

Most forms (paper or electronic) exist simply to drive a business process. A university admissions application, for example, provides all the relevant information the admissions staff needs to process your request for admittance, ultimately returning a yes or no answer. Therefore, generally, the form itself is a by-product of the process and likely has little or no use after that process is complete, except perhaps as a historical record.

Paper forms have been manually passed around offices for generations in the service of various business processes. Perhaps a paper purchase order form requires managerial approval for purchases exceeding $500. Perhaps after Susie fills out the original request, it needs to be inter-office mailed to Bob for his signature. From there, it needs to be forwarded ...

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