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Essential SharePoint by Jeff Webb

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Using Form Libraries to Gather Data

SharePoint form libraries are special document libraries for collecting data gathered through Microsoft InfoPath. Though purchased separately, InfoPath is part of the Microsoft Office System. It provides a platform for creating and displaying data-entry forms that may incorporate:

  • Links to remote data sources such as SQL or Access databases

  • Text fields that include simple formatting such as bold, italic, bulleted lists, etc.

  • Office-like editing tools such as autocorrect and spell-checking

  • Complex data validation

  • Detail and summary views of data

  • The ability to submit form data to a database or to an email recipient

  • Property promotion (so that form data automatically becomes part of the searchable SharePoint form library)

InfoPath's form-creation tools are based on XML and its related standards. It is perhaps most useful for medium-to-large corporations that use XML schemas as part of their information architecture. If you're not familiar with XPath, XML, XSD, and XSLT, you may find designing InfoPath forms difficult. On the other hand, filling out an InfoPath form is very easy.

Warning

The following sections assume you have InfoPath 2003 SP1 installed on your computer. Members must also have InfoPath installed in order to fill out forms.

Understanding Form Libraries

A form library is basically a document library that uses an InfoPath form template (template.xsn) as a template rather than a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file. To add a new item to the library, ...

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