Ways to customize a repeating section

After you insert a repeating section on a form template, you can customize it by changing its properties and settings in the Repeating Section Properties dialog box. To open the dialog box, on the form template, double-click the repeating section whose properties you want to change.

The following table describes some of the ways in which you can customize a repeating section and offers reasons why you might do so. Although the table doesn't provide detailed procedural information about the options in the Repeating Section Properties dialog box, it does give you an idea of the range of options that are available.


  • If you are designing a browser-compatible form template, certain features in the Repeating Section Properties dialog box are not available. For example, you cannot enable the setting that allows users to insert sections horizontally, in a side-by-side formation.

  • If your form template is based on a database, schema, or other existing data source, you may not be able to customize all aspects of a control. For example, you may be able to change the size of the control but not its field or group name, which are derived from the existing data source.





Change group name

When you design a new, blank form template, you can change the default field or group name for a control to something that is easier to identify when you work with the data source. For example, in an insurance form template, a group named "Dependent" is easier to understand than a group named "group1."

Note: Changing the group name does not change the binding between a repeating section on the form template and a repeating group in the data source. If you need to bind a repeating section to a different repeating group, right-click the repeating section, and then click Change Binding on the shortcut menu.


Prevent users from inserting and deleting the sections

By default, the Allow users to insert and delete the sections check box is selected. If you clear this check box, users won't be able to insert or delete the sections in a repeating section. This is useful in reporting scenarios where you want to display repeating data but you don't want users to change that data or add more sections.


Customize menu commands

Click Modify to further modify the section properties. For example, you can open the Customize Commands dialog box, where you can customize the names and locations of the menu commands used to insert or remove sections on the user's form. This type of customization makes your form template easier to use. For example, you can add custom commands to the Edit menu that enable users to remove repeating sections from their form.


Show or customize hint text

The Show insert button and hint text check box is selected by default. You can clear this check box if you don't want users to see instructional text on the form, or you can customize the instructional text. For example, if you have an insurance form template where users are required to enter dependents in a repeating section, you might change the "Insert item" text that appears beneath the repeating section to "Insert additional dependent."


Apply rules

Click Rules to open the Rules dialog box, where you can use rules to apply actions when users insert or work with controls inside the repeating section.


Add conditional formatting

Click Conditional Formatting to open the Conditional Formatting dialog box, where you can change the appearance of a control, including its visibility, based on values that users enter into the form. For example, you can choose to hide a repeating section whenever a user clears a particular check box on the form.


Allow users to insert sections in a side-by-side formation instead of one after the other

The Repeat vertically option is selected by default. This means that as users add repeating sections, those sections appear in a vertical formation down the length of the form. You can choose to make the repeating section expand horizontally instead. This allows you to create completely different layouts. For example, you can create a form template that resembles a calendar. The Repeat horizontally option is not supported in browser-compatible form templates.


Filter data

Click Filter Data to open the Filter Data dialog box, where you can enable users to filter data in a repeating section based on values that the user enters or selects elsewhere on the form. For example, if you use a repeating section to collect information about current projects, you can design a list box that allows users to filter their projects by status. Filtering data is not supported in browser-compatible form templates.


Set up a master/detail relationship

On the Master/Detail tab, you can establish a master/detail relationship between a repeating table (the master control) and a repeating section (the detail control). If you set up this type of relationship, related data will appear in the repeating section based on the item that a user selects in the repeating table. Master/detail controls are not supported in browser-compatible form templates.


Adjust size, padding, and margins

You can manually specify the size of a control by entering values in the Height and Width boxes. You can also refine the spacing both inside and outside the control by changing the padding, which is the amount of buffer space surrounding the control's contents, or the margins, which is the amount of space between the control's border and any surrounding text or controls on the form template.


Change the tab index order

You can change the position of a control in the form template's overall tab order. Tab order is the order in which the focus moves in a form from one field or object to the next as users press TAB or SHIFT+TAB. The default tab index setting for all controls in a form template is 0, but the tab order starts with 1. That is, any control with 1 in the Tab index box will be visited first when users press the TAB key. Any control with 2 in the Tab index box will be visited second, and so on. Any controls with 0 in the Tab index box will come last in the tab order. If you want to skip controls in the tab order, enter -1 in the Tab index box.


Specify a ScreenTip

To make an explanatory note appear when users move their pointer over the control, enter the text that you want in the ScreenTip box. Accessibility aids, such as screen review utilities that make on-screen information available as synthesized speech or a refreshable Braille display, often rely on these ScreenTips to interpret information for their users.


Specify and customize the merge settings

Click Merge Settings to specify how data that users enter into the control should appear when several forms are combined. For example, you can change the order in which the repeating sections are inserted in the target form.


Obtain the ViewContext or xmlToEdit identifiers for the repeating section

You can use the ViewContext or XmlToEdit value to identify the control in code. For example, if you know the ViewContext value, you can use that value with the ExecuteAction method of the View object to programmatically perform an editing action on the XML data that is bound to the control. Similarly, if you know the XmlToEdit value, you can use that value with the ExecuteAction method of the View object to programmatically insert or remove instances of a repeating control. For example, you can specify an xCollection action, such as xCollection::insert or xCollection::removeAll, and the XmlToEdit name, which identifies the particular xCollection to work with.

Browser forms

Customize the settings for posting data back to the server

The Browser forms tab appears only when you are designing a browser-compatible form template. It allows you to control whether data is sent to the server when users insert or remove sections on the form.

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