About sharing forms on a SharePoint site

Many teams use Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services to collect information and share files. If this is the case in your organization, you can publish Microsoft TE000130407 forms to form libraries, which are designed specifically for sharing collections of related forms. For example, a sales team might use a form library to fill out, save, and view sales report forms.

Form libraries act as a file server, where users can fill out and store forms based on the same form template. One form template is associated with each form library, so that every form created from that form library will have the same structure and appearance.

Although you can publish forms to any network location, publishing them to form libraries offers additional benefits for users, including the ability to merge multiple forms and export form library data to a spreadsheet.

Prerequisites for working with form libraries

To publish a form to a form library you must have access to a Windows SharePoint Services site. You must also have permissions to create a form library on the site.

To fill out forms in a form library users must have a network or Internet connection to the Windows SharePoint Services site, as well as permissions to add completed forms to the form library.

Designing forms for form libraries

While in design mode in InfoPath, you can do the following:

  • Specify fields to display in a form library    In design mode, you can specify parts of the form that you want to highlight in fields in a form library. Fields in a form library, which are displayed in columns, are useful when you want to look at important information in a form without having to open each form individually. For example, if you use a form library to store expense report forms, you could automatically create columns that show each employee's name and the total expenses claimed.

  • Link controls to SharePoint lists and libraries     You can establish a connection between controls in your form and a Windows SharePoint Services library or list. For example, you might specify that items in a drop-down list box come directly from a Windows SharePoint Services list. Whenever users open the form, the contents of the list box update to reflect the latest changes to the Windows SharePoint Services list.

  • Publish a form to a form library     You can use the Publish command on the File menu to open a wizard that guides you through the process of publishing a form to a form library. This wizard can also speed up the process of publishing a new version of an existing form.

  • Gain access to form libraries    The Open from SharePoint Site command on the File menu offers immediate access to existing form libraries. This option helps you quickly find and modify form templates from within InfoPath.

Working with forms in form libraries

From the Windows SharePoint Services site itself, you can do the following:

  • Fill out forms    In a form library, you can click the Fill Out This Form button in the default view to fill out a form in InfoPath. When you click Save in InfoPath, the form is automatically saved as an item in the form library.

  • Merge forms    If form merging has been enabled, the form library will include a Merge Forms link that lets you select the forms you want to merge. This is particularly useful if you need to summarize information. For example, if you manage a team that fills out sales call reports, you might want to merge the names and phone numbers of potential sales leads into a single form, so that you have all of the data you need in one place.

  • Export data    Depending on the form template and the way that the form library is set up, fields in form library columns may be able to display both data stored within the form and properties of the form. You can then export the data that is displayed in specific fields in the form library columns to a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Office Excel 2003.

Note: The information in this topic may not apply if you are working with a form designed using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 without any service packs installed.

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