If you already use Microsoft Office InfoPath forms for tasks like submitting weekly status reports, and if you use Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to manage e-mail messages, InfoPath e-mail forms can help streamline the processes that you use to collaborate and share data. That is because you can open, fill out, and submit InfoPath forms from within Office Outlook 2007, without having to open InfoPath. If you receive an InfoPath e-mail form, you can reply to it, forward it, and store it just as you would with any other items in Office Outlook 2007.
If you enable form merging for an InfoPath form template, your users can merge InfoPath e-mail forms that are stored in an Office Outlook 2007 folder, such as an InfoPath Forms folder. By merging forms, you can consolidate data from many different forms into one form. This is useful when you want to compare or summarize data from several related forms. For example, it might be useful for a manager whose team fills out weekly status report forms to merge data from those forms into a single summary report for her director.
You can only save the merged data as an InfoPath form. You cannot save the data as an InfoPath e-mail form in Office Outlook 2007.
When you merge InfoPath e-mail forms, a new form is created. This new form is based on the same form template as the InfoPath e-mail forms that you selected to merge.
Merge InfoPath e-mail forms
In the folder view in Office Outlook 2007, select the forms that you want to merge.
Tip: To select multiple items, hold down CTRL and select individual items, or hold down SHIFT and select a range of items.
Right-click the selected forms, point to InfoPath actions on the shortcut menu, and then click Merge Forms.
InfoPath opens with a new form that contains the merged data. The new form is based on the same form template as the selected InfoPath e-mail forms.
Note: When a user merges InfoPath e-mail forms, the merged data from repeating controls may contain a blank row. For example, if a user merges three expense report forms that each contain a single row of expenses in a repeating table, the repeating table in the InfoPath e-mail form that contains merged data may contain a blank row, followed by the three rows of data from each of the other InfoPath e-mail forms.
To save the form that contains the merged data, on the File menu, click Save As, browse to the location where you want to save the form, and then click Save.
Tip: You can also analyze data from InfoPath e-mail forms by exporting form data. You can export form data from one or more InfoPath e-mail forms to a Microsoft Office Excel 2007 workbook. You can export InfoPath e-mail forms as individual XML files that can be saved and opened later by using InfoPath. You can also export form data from a single InfoPath e-mail form to additional supported file formats. Find information about exporting InfoPath e-mail forms in the See Also section.