Using lookups to populate field values in a Lists tool

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You can use lookups to populate field values in list-type fields, such as a drop-down list box or multiple selection list box. Using lookups to populate these field values allows you and other users to update the options in these fields without using the InfoPath Designer.

For example, suppose you want to add a drop-down list box that asks users to select an ice cream flavor. One way to do this is to create the field in InfoPath, adding the specific option values (such as "Vanilla," "Chocolate," and "Strawberry"). However, with this method, if you want to subsequently add new flavors, you must edit the field in the InfoPath Designer.

Alternatively, you could create a specific form, perhaps named "Flavors," to be used for creating data items that contain the option values for the drop-down list box. This form would typically contain a single Text field for recording the flavor names. You or other workspace users could then create items using this form, with one item per flavor name. These items would be listed in their own view, perhaps also named "Flavors." You could then apply a data connection in the drop-down list box that "looks up" all items in the Flavors view, and displays their values as the drop-down list options. With this method, to add new flavor options, you or other users simply add new items using the Flavor form.

You can create lookups that derive values from another view in the same Lists tool, or from another Lists tool in the same Groove workspace. You cannot define a lookup that derives data from a tool in another Groove workspace.

Note: If you want to define lookups, it is strongly recommended that you use form templates started in a SharePoint Workspace Lists tool, and not started directly in InfoPath. Form templates started in a Lists tool contain built-in features for enabling lookups.

Setting up a lookup requires two general tasks. You must:

Allowing access to lookup data

Defining a lookup

Allowing access to lookup data

To allow a field in which a lookup is defined to access data from another Lists tool and view, you must check options that allow the other Lists tool and view to share the Lookup data.

  1. Go to the tool that contains the lookup data.

  2. Enter the Designer.

  3. Click Settings and Options and then check Allow this tool to provide data to lookups defined in other tools.

  4. Click the view lists the lookup data items.

  5. Click Properties and then check Allow this view to provide data to lookups defined in other tools.

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Defining a lookup

You define a lookup by setting field properties to create a connection to external data. You must set these field properties in Microsoft InfoPath.

  1. Open the field properties for the field in which you want to define the lookup.

  2. On the Data tab, click Get choices from an external data source.

  3. Click Add next to the Data source box.

  4. In the Data Connection Wizard, accept the settings to Create a new connection to...Receive data, and then click Next.

  5. Click SharePoint Workspace library or list and then click Next.

  6. Do all of the following when prompted for information about the Lists tool that contains the lookup data:

    • Select the tool, view, and view column that contains the lookup data items.

    • If you want, enter a comment about the lookup in the text box.

    • Click Next.

    • Enter a name for the data connection, and then click Finish.

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