Publishing InfoPath forms using Outlook 2007

This past weekend I was busy creating a presentation for MOSSIG on Wednesday about deploying InfoPath forms using Outlook 2007. So I thought I would put up a couple of quick instructions and how to’s that I ran into while putting this preso together.

First let me answer that question “Why would I deploy my forms using Outlook?” now as we know InfoPath has a couple of options to choose from when deploying

  • Using SharePoint server and/or Form Services
  • Using a shared location on your network
  • Creating an MSI package to wrap your form deployment
  • Using outlook

The first 3 make sense, you would deploy via SharePoint and Form Services if you want your form to reach everyone in your company and potentially people outside your company.

The second again makes sense if you don’t have a SharePoint server available but still want to reach all users in you company and keep the form template centrally managed

The third option is good for forms that need more elevated privileges as they can be deployed with full trust, however you now have to manage the form template using a standard SOE rather than a central location

The fourth option is great when you have forms that need to either fit into an existing email based workflow system or when you need to create a quick and dirty workflow for example capturing once off data from other users about a company dinner.

Creating the form is actually no different to creating any other form however there are some things to take into consideration when creating your form

  1. To get the full benefit of your form design make sure it’s security level is set to “Restricted”
  2. Make sure you expose the fields you want to view in outlook while your publishing the form (I’ll cover this in more detail latter on)
  3. Some controls will cause issues when deploying via outlook for example you cannot have a Rich Text box control with linked images enabled.

Once you have your form created you now need to publish it (for this example I’m using the Travel request form template that is included with InfoPath 2007 out of box so you can follow along)

Once your form template has been saved select File>Publish

APAC SharePoint Conference Presentations are now on TechNet!

I received an email last night from my friend Ian Palangio. Letting me know that 1 of our presentations from the APAC SharePoint conference has been posted on TechNet!

In addition to this there are also links off to a plethora of InfoPath resources.

If InfoPath isn’t your technology of choice there are also resources from all of the other presentations as well so head on over and check it out http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/bb498198.aspx

New book on the block

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For the past couple of months I’ve been working my way through Designing forms for Microsoft Office InfoPath and Form Services 2007. This book was written by Scott Roberts and Hagen Green, both who have been working on the InfoPath team from back when it was still known as XDocs.

This is one of the most comprehensive InfoPath books on the market. It makes a very bold claim early on that it will make an InfoPath expert weather your a beginner or an intermediate user, and I have to be honest this is not an unsubstantiated claim this book has information on everything from Client and Web enabled Forms to building template parts and best practices when building forms. This has now become my InfoPath bible all questions from what I’ve read can be answered by the pages within.

If your just starting out with InfoPath or feel you are a seasoned professional this book is for you, so far I haven’t seen it in stores in Australia, so you’ll have to use the link above to get it off amazon.