Clayton's SharePoint Madness

All About SharePoint, InfoPath, and SharePoint Designer!

Blog Request Log

If there is anything you would like me to write up in a blog entry, please send your request via email.  I will keep a log of blog entries that I am in the process of writing as well as what others have requested.  Remember that I do all non-code solutions, so if you’re looking for custom InfoPath development with code, then I happily refer you to or (same company) to make a request to Greg Collins (InfoPath MVP – Development) and/or Patrick Halstead (InfoPath MVP).  When making a request, give me a title, a description, and whether or not I can reference your name.

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  • Who will send the first request?

55 Responses to “Blog Request Log”

  1. Dan Usher said

    Curious as to what your best practices are surrounding code behind for InfoPath Forms Server solutions as well as deployment of said code behind should it need to be updated. I realize that this is somewhat of a development question, but it also is an admin question too…

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Dan, it is not something I practice often, since I do not deal with code-behind forms regularly, but I can say that when you have a browser-enabled form with code behind, then it requires Full Trust and Administrative Approval. It must be published to Central Admin for approval and then activated in the site where it is to be used.

  2. […] Blog Request Log […]

  3. Cynthia said

    Hi Clayton,

    Your entries have helped me tremendously… thank you! Maybe you can figure this one out. I’m using the GetUserProfie web service to leverage Active Directory for all my user information. I’d like to return a list of all user names to populate a drop down. Since dropdowns on browser forms don’t support filters, how do I do that?

    Ideally, I would like to display the Fullname of the user and store the AccountName (or both). I would like to allow the user to select multiple names.

    “Contact Selector” should do this, but I have read that it gets unpredictable with multiple names. Is that your experience? Should I just create a Sharepoint list that synchs with Active Directory? Is that even possible?

    Thank you for sharing your skills!


    • Clayton Cobb said

      Keep in mind that the UserProfileService does _not_ touch Active Directory. It pulls data from the profile database in MOSS. I mention that as a note in my UserProfileService-Extended blog post…

      1) You want _all_ users in AD? That could be a gigantic list, so are you sure you want to do it in a dropdown? If you have 1000 users, that would be a pretty cumbersome dropdown to look through, and large data sets like that can significantly affect the performance of the form.

      2) You say that browser forms don’t support filters, but you didn’t mention a filter requirement. What do you want to filter? I have a browser form sorting/filtering solution that I’m writing a new blog post for, and you should be able to use that for this and other things.

      3) Have you ever looked at the User Information List in SharePoint? You can see it by clicking on the All People tab in People and Groups at the site collection level. This has user info like what you want to see, and I _have_ used this for a receive data connection that I used to populate a dropdown, but it’s a slow initial form load when downloading all that data. It’s fast once it gets the data, but I didn’t consider it a viable option. You do have the option of filtering this list first before bringing it to SharePoint, but it has to be pre-defined – it can’t be a dynamic filter from within the form until Qdabra releases qRules 2.0

      4) I don’t consider the Contact Selector to be unpredictable with multiple names. Where did you see that or get that comment? I use it for multiple names a lot and even have a method for snagging each name chosen for sending out emails to each person (if needed). I think this is your best option and is pretty simple.

      5) Referring to my initial note, SharePoint lists don’t really touch AD – they touch the profile database. I don’t know of a way to populate an entire SharePoint list with all the users in AD, but the User Information List automatically exists and has this info, although YOU CAN’T BE CERTAIN that it has every name, since it is only populated with a name when that name is given individual permissions (not as part of an AD security group) to a site or is resolved in a People Picker field.

      If nothing else works from above, then you should consider the Qdabra Active Directory Web Service that I also reference in my UserProfileService-Extended blost post. Get the link there if you’d like…

      • Cynthia said

        Hi Clayton,

        Sorry it has taken so long for my reply! I’m happy to report that I was able to get Document-Level Permissioning working with browser based forms thanks to the guys at Qdabra. They are great.

        I can see the User list if I go to http:///_layouts/people.aspx and it looks great. (We only have 350 users.) It doesn’t seem to be available, though, as a SharePoint list to receive data in InfoPath. Could be a permissions issue on my side…

        I have the gone through the document “How to Query the AD Web Service with DBXL” but don’t see a method that will return a list of everyone, not just employees of a certain manager.

        As far as Contact Selector, it seems to only promote the first name/id on its list. When I add the field “Display Name” to the list of promoted values, it appends (first). I couldn’t find the blog where I read that multiple Contactor Selectors on the same form yield unpredictable results in the browser, but somehow I believe it!

        Even when I get my SharePoint list working to display Preferred Name and store Account ID, I still can’t select multiple values in a browser! Argh!!

        Thanks for your detailed reply. I appreciate it.


  4. Clayton Cobb said

    1) Could you share with me the method Qdabra gave you for doc-level permissions?

    2) You may have to be a Site Collection Administrator to connect to that UIL. I am not sure, because I can always see it at the root level of the site collection (not at the sub-site level)

    3) Ask Qdabra directly on how to return a list of everyone. I’m pretty sure this can be done.

    4) You need to change the promoted field settings to “merge” instead of “first.” That is a dropdown selection at the bottom of that promoted field when doing the publishing wizard. This will show a list of all values in that contact selector. There is nothing unpredictable about the behavior you described nor that I’m prescribing. =)

    5) I don’t know what you mean when you say, “I still can’t select multiple values in a browser.” What are you referring to?

  5. Chris said

    Let me apologize up front for asking a very stupid question, but I’m using a hosted WSS 3.0 site (intermedia) and I can never get a straight answer about what is turned off or on *sigh*!!

    How do I use InfoPath to create a form that will utilize and populate information to a WSS 3.0 list? For example, there is a very good InfoPath Absence Request Form. WSS 3.0 Comes with an Absence Template. I’m using this example because anyone can see the two things I’m talking about.

    How would I go about getting the InfoPath Absence request template on a WSS 3.0 site so that it was updating data in a list? I’m not looking for a detailed explanation field by field. I can handle that without a problem. By the way, I want to be able to access the InfoPath Form as a Web Form, not an infoPath Form. What seems to be stumping me (because I’m old and losing it!!!) is:

    1) How do you get the template to the site? (Upload to a Forms Library?)
    2) How do I map fields in the Form to fields in a list at the site?
    3) Can InfoPath be set up to see a list on a WSS site as a data source? If so how?
    4) How does a user use the template on the site? (I assume that each time someone uses the template they create a new populated form on the site. Editing one simple, I just don’t see how a user creates a new one?

    I found some great stuff on this site that will help me once I get going, but right now I don’t quite see where to start!! (I hope the answer is NOT “you need MOSS”!!)

    Again, I apologize for having a senior moment, but I could find anywhere on the web a simple walkthrough on how to get this started!!

    I’m sure I will feel very stupid when someone explains it to me!! LOL


    • Clayton Cobb said

      Chris, you will be quite limited if you choose to a use a HOSTED WSS 3.0 site. WSS 3.0 is only the free version of SharePoint and is very limited. Furthermore, a hosted version of it will be even more limited, since you don’t have rights to the back-end to add whatever you want. I would recommending weighing your options and ensuring that you truly need to and intend to pay someone for the partial use of free software. To answer your specific questions (my numbers don’t match your numbers, since you have more questions than you numbered):

      1) You absolutely cannot do browser forms, because that requires MOSS 2007 Enterprise, the highest level of SharePoint 2007. You have the lowest level.
      2) If you don’t know this question (getting the template to the site), then you really need to hire a consultant to help you through this. This is the most basic step of using InfoPath with SharePoint and is something you would already need to know at a minimum for doing any real InfoPath work with SharePoint. Anyway, you don’t ever upload templates. You PUBLISH them through the publishing wizard. While publishing, you point to your site, and then you either update the form template of an existing form library, you create a new form library on the fly, or you create a content type that can later be applied to one or more form libraries.
      3) Forms are built to map to fields in the form library where it’s published, but they are not built to map to lists. To get a form to update lists, you will need to do something fairly advanced and write your own CAML. Here is a link to a write-up on how to do it: In a month or two, Qdabra will release qRules 2.0 that will have the ability to update lists with forms.
      4) InfoPath can easily see any SharePoint list as a data source. You just create a receive data connection and point to that list.
      5) After publishing to a form library, the user clicks New in that library, and a new form opens based on the template. That user then either hits save, submit, or a custom submit button. I prefer to use a custom submit button on the form canvas that creates an auto-generated filename as explained in my blog post:

  6. Chris said


    I’m beginning to see that we were doing everything correctly, except that WSS 3.0 does not support browser forms. I guess we can just build the forms by Hand in WSS 3.0.

    The reason we are steering away from MOSS is the pricing. We are using WSS as part of a larger solution for some of our customers. But the cost of MOSS in an unlimited Internet environment far outweighs any of the benefits. All of our customers are government and that means 90% of the features are off anyway. Basically we are just using it as a Information gathering and presentation portal.

    We are a not-for-profit that employs individuals with special needs and we were looking for a “simple form designer.” We are always looking for ways to expand the employment opportunities of our special needs program participants and we felt that InfoPath might offer an environment for some of them to build some simple forms while being insulated from the technology. It seemed like a good idea … but then .. many things do LOL!! The devil is in the details. We have three individuals that can design very nice “word and excel” forms including word/merge type of applciations and we now have a request to convert them to “browser forms”. infoPath sounded like a good solution.

    Thanks for the feed back. We constantly have a devil of a time working out what is in MOSS, what is in WSS 3.0 and what is not in the hosted WSS 3.0.


    • Clayton Cobb said

      Chris, cost is understandably a concern. I’m surprised that the customers are mostly gov’t, though, but that there isn’t enough funding unless the customers aren’t the ones paying for the service. I have a few comments in response to yours:

      1) Being that most of the customers are gov’t, I don’t understand your comment about that being a reason why “things” are turned off. I don’t see that as a reason not to use MOSS, but rather as a definite reason TO use MOSS. I don’t plan to try to convince you to use MOSS, so don’t worry about that, but I do want to make sure you understand the vast limitations of WSS 3.0. Hopefully, WSS can do what you need, but it is meant to be used for very limited collaboration situations without the need for things like a robust architecture, enterprise search, workflows, integrated forms, reporting, etc. Most of the differences are architectural and are related to Shared Service Providers, which are the most powerful thing in MOSS and main difference from WSS. You mentioned that 90% of the features are off, but I’m not sure what that could be other than things like blogs, wikis, and MySites (assuming those would be included in what’s turned off, although most gov’t is learning that they need to be more open to E2.0 things like that.

      2) You said, “I guess we can just build the forms by Hand in WSS 3.0.” What do you mean by this? No matter what, you always build the forms “by hand” in the InfoPath designer. The browser-enabled part is just where users fill them out, not where they are built. Could you clarify? There is no alternative method for building a form other than by hand.

      3) Would your environment truly be unlimited, or does everyone have a login? With logins, you pay per user. It would only be unlimited if this was truly an anonymous Internet-facing site that is available to anyone in the world.

      4) Sounds like a good mission, and I’d be interested in learning more plus maybe offering my services free-of-charge to provide some consulting and guidance with accomplishing your mission. Let me know if you would be interested in that by contacting me on the Contact page.

      5) If those folks can build nice Word/Excel forms, then they would probably be excellent at building InfoPath forms with some training and guidance. However, you can’t make the current forms nor InfoPath forms into browser forms without either moving to MOSS Enterprise or custom coding your own ASP.NET forms using C#/.NET. That is pure development work and would require SharePoint developers who also know how to create their own XML frameworks. Who and what is the driver for “browser forms”?

      6) Lastly, I may have a perfect solution for you that is not public yet but that I could get you some information on, because this will be the only alternative on the web for browser-enabled forms> It doesn’t rely on SharePoint, lets you build the forms in InfoPath, and lets you use a hosted service with your own domain without a high cost. If interested in that, let me know, and I’ll facilitate the discussion with that business.

  7. Chris said

    Clayton, we only work with State and Local Government customers at the moment – things might change in the future, but for now we want to stick to that one market. We deliver scanning services to our customers (doc prep, scanning, indexing, index cleanup etc). We also offer hosted access to the information for those government agencies that do not yet have an appropriate ECM system. It’s our hosted solution where we have the need. We use the site for access to confidential documents as well as collecting information etc. The site is an ASP.Net site, with an ECM system included for storing the images. We currently have enough ECM licenses to support 75 concurrent users, and might peak at 250 concurrent users searching through the front-end system. We use our own login/authentication system – not Microsoft’s.
    1) Government Users. We are not behind the Government Agency Firewalls. They access across the Internet. Anything to do with using Office Docs, etc is blocked. To make matters worse … some of the Agencies are using WordPerfect and GroupWise (don’t even go there LOL!!)
    2) We can build forms to collect data in SharePoint Designer and directly manage the lists. The problem is that SharePoint Designer seems to be a little too difficult for our Special Needs staff. InfoPath has enough built-in stuff to make it usable as a Form Design tool. With SPD they need to use controls etc.
    3) The number of users is not unlimited – but the number of named users goes up and down a lot. I was not aware that the Internet WSS was only anonymous. *sigh* on the surface SharePoint is a great tool, but if the average user only hits the site 5 times a month it’s a costly proposition.
    4) Thanks… I will reach out to for some suggestions of the technical side.
    5) “If those folks can build nice Word/Excel forms, then they would probably be excellent at building InfoPath forms with some training and guidance.” AGREED!! We have two types of information: 1) Index/workflow information concerning the government records and their associated images; and, 2) Information being collected from the users that could easily be stored in a SharePoint site (meeting dates, training schedules, status of scanning, request for additional scanning etc. We were going to initially play around with something simpler to get our people up to speed – our thought was our own process for identifying special needs candidates, the evaluation process, the 45-day training programs etc.
    6) Your idea of using InfoPath to store forms outside of SharePoint is interesting. It’s a shame though. There are some nice things about SharePoint that would be a shame to lose. We use a SQL Server 2008 database. I wonder if MS is thinking of allowing SharePoint Lists to be a web service?

    Again, thanks for your ideas and feedback!!

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Oh, to me the term “government” refers to Federal gov’t. I don’t really think of state and local when I hear “government,” because that’s just not where I’ve worked. The SLG market is tough and much different than Fed, but it is an area where my company specializes as we were just awarded the SLG Partner of the Year by Microsoft.

      WSS 3.0 is not anonymous only. It’s just that there is a different cost model for Internet vs Extranet. A true Internet-facing site is one where it’s just open to the public anonymously. If yours is not public and is only available to authenticated users, then you have an Extranet solution, which gets priced on a per-user basis, and realize that this is not a hard limit. It’s not like each person has their own license or certificate to use. You just have to estimate total # of users, and if people fall off while others come on, you only account for the total # of active users at a given time. It’s not a concurrent user thing – it’s actually on the honor system.

      SharePoint lists – and much else in SharePoint – are exposed via web services, which provide for a very robust set of solutions, especially with InfoPath. However, these web services are only exposed when you have an SSP, which is only available in MOSS.

  8. Bil Simser said

    @Clayton: Just a friendly note to say a huge THANKS! InfoPath is a great tool but once you go down the slippery slope of writing code it’s ugly. Deployment is a hassel, there’s code signing, etc. You know the routine. I’ve found techniques on your blog that have immensely helped me keep the code out of my forms and still give me the functionality that I need to provide a rich UX to my users. Keep up the excellent work!

  9. Nancy Young said

    Hi Clayton,

    You’ve helped me several times already, so I’m hoping you can help me again.

    I created an InfoPath 2007 form and published it to a sharepoint (MOSS 2007) site as a content type. I added the content type to the doc library and saw all the associated columns in the doc library’s setting’s column list. I subsequently deleted the content type from the doc library, but the columns are still listed in the settings. They appear to be read-only and I can’t delete them from the library. Worse, I then added the same content type back to the doc library and now there are 2 sets of read-only columns. In the background, not a big deal, but when I want to create a view of the doc library, both sets of columns are listed as available columns for the view. How do I clean this up? This has happened on more than one document library… and more than one content type via InfoPath.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Nancy, yeah, columns can get messy when dealing with InfoPath form templates as content types. If you publish a form template as a content type and add it to a form library, then if you want to remove it, you need to first re-publish and DEMOTE each field. Otherwise, it ghosts the fields and leaves them as artifacts. Once that happens, the library is pretty much hosed, and I recommend deleting it to start over. I have not yet seen a way to clean out those orphaned columns.

      • Nancy Young said

        Thanks for the fast response, Clayton. Is demoting columns different than republishing and removing the columns from the property promotion section? I tried that and it didn’t work: they’re still there. In triplicate.

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Did you try it before removing the content type and orphaning the columns? Yes, “demoting” is un-promoting and republishing.

  10. Nancy Young said

    I’ll test it on a fresh library.

  11. Nancy Young said

    Still doesn’t work.

    Here’s what does work, but it will take some painstaking user education to not get ugly column lists:
    -Create the form and note the fields used
    -Create columns for those fields in Sharepoint, or use existing ones. They don’t have to be attached to any content types or libraries yet.
    -Publish the form with promoted properties to match the columns created in SharePoint, NOT the Microsoft InfoPath Columns ones that get sent to SharePoint when a form is published.
    -Attach the content type to the library and use it. Form data that has been matched to columns will appear in the columns and those columns can be used as desired in views.

    -When a content type is deleted from a library, you can either keep the columns that have data in them or you can delete them and the library is still clean.

    What a pain, though. My user training documentation will include those specific steps for using InfoPath and screenshots of what happens when they don’t use those specific steps. One question for you: when there are multiples of a column to select in a view, which one should be selected? The top one? Is there a way to distinguish which of the columns is not the orphaned one?

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Nancy, now that you’ve explained all of that, I would want to go back to the beginning of this story and ask why this is even being done to begin with. The first question is…why are you publishing them as content types? InfoPath forms are limited as content types and aren’t really re-usable if you have data connections, so do you have some other reason you are using the content type publish method? Next, in what scenario would you publish as a content type, add the content type to a form library, and then remove the content type? Lastly, why would your END USERS be doing any of that? This is quite a bit beyond what an end user would do, and I don’t think I would ever teach end users this type of information…maybe a small set of power users or developers, but definitely not end users.

      When there are multiples with orphans, I delete and re-create the library. I don’t consider it usable anymore after that.

      • Nancy Young said

        Power users. They’re always pushing the big red button that says Don’t Push This. I like to be prepared for when they push it. (And I tend to push that button, too, just to see what will happen.)

        This came about because there is a team site that had several Word templates (that aren’t really templates) of varying layouts, fonts, etc., that were content types available on the New button in the doc library. My customer wanted them translated to InfoPath forms for consistency and it’s actually worked out quite well. If a form has to be published to more than one place, though, I change its title and modify the data connection to submit to the place it should go to. There end up being several versions of a form in the form templates library, but that’s okay. They go where they should go when they’re submitted and the customer is happy.

        If I publish the form just as a template in a library, aren’t I limited to just the one form template in the library? In one previous project, we have one doc library for each template, and that seemed silly if more than 2 templates were desired. I’ve only been working with InfoPath for about 6 months, so there is a lot I have to learn. If there is a better way to have multiple forms available on the New button in a list, please let me know. I’m all for making life easier.

        Removal of content types and the subsequent orphans came about through experimentation on our dev server after noticing that there were orphans in a couple of doc libraries on the production server, and we didn’t know why. A power user had removed a content type and wanted to know why its columns were still available when he went to create a view of the list.

        I misspoke earlier. End users wouldn’t be removing content types, so my site admin documentation would include the steps mentioned above; I would be reluctant to tempt fate and show end users what they can break.

        Any advice?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Yes, you need to use content types for adding multiple form templates to one form library, but it’s not common to do this, because most forms are completely independent business processes that don’t share all the same columns. It’s not silly to have separate form libraries for each form template if each form is for a different business purpose. I use metadata so heavily with my forms that it doesn’t often make sense to combine separate forms into the same library – the fields just get in the way of each other, because although content types can have separate columns, the views can’t separate them. You just see empty fields for the columns that don’t go with a particular content type unless you separate your content types into separate views, but if you do that, then why not have a separate form library?

        Each case has to be evaluated for what works best – there is no single answer in this case. I prefer not to combine them, though.

  12. Vishwanath Mishra said

    Dear Sir,
    You helped me many times hoping again for your valuable help..
    this could be simple issue…i created approval workflow on document library in Sharepoint Designer 2010. i set start workflow on ItemCreated + ItemChange… I am updating Approver1Status (metadata column) to “Approved” or “Rejected” in workflow but my it caught in infinite looop and starts again and again…
    plz help..
    Vishwanath Mishra
    Jaypee Group, India

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Vishwanath, SharePoint 2010 has a built-in mechanism that doesn’t restart workflows when an item is edited by a workflow in the same list/library, so there should never been an infinite loop unless you have two workflows working together. The initial upload of the document will definitely cause the workflow to run on creation and then again when the column gets edited, but it should no longer run after that. This has been fixed since SP2 of SharePoint 2007. If you are truly getting an infinite loop, then I can’t ascertain the reason based on what you’ve said.

      • Vishwanath Mishra said

        Dear Sir,
        thanks for reply, actually i do have two workflow associated with document library and trying to explain you in brief it gets short. it is working with following logic:
        a. Document is added and i putted metadata fields like (Approver1 (AD User), Approver1Status, Approver2, Approver2Status and also ‘Approval Status’ with veersioning is set) sometime document requires 2nd level approval sometimes not but level1 is mandatory.
        b. 1st workflow is for Approver1 (starts when ItemCreated+Change)
        c. 2nd Workflow is for Approver2 (Starts when ItemChanged)
        having couple of issues but Main issue is that workflow caught in infinite loop when i update Approver1Status=’Approved’ or Rejected..
        workflow starts again and again…..
        due to this i m trying to overcome by putting conditions with some more metadata columns (IsLevel2ApprovalRequired, ReSend=Yes-No) and start workflow when ‘ReSend’ is set yes or Approver1Status=’Pending’ then reinitialize the ‘ReSend’ to ‘No’

        but when on testing more and more problems create…..i m stuck in all these if-else conditions….
        plz suggest how to overcome…is if-else is only solutions then i’ll work more hard if something easy so plz advice….

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Ok, then that was critical info. I can’t fix anything without all the details. In this case, if you must have two workflows, then you have to use proper conditional logic. There’s no magic answer – you just have to get your logic right.

      • Vishwanath Mishra said

        Thanks..I’m trying..

  13. Vishwanath Mishra said

    dear sir,
    i have couple of more questions, let say i m having two workflows(WF) on document library
    first WF is set to start on item create+item change
    second WF is set to start on item change.
    now in first WF i wrote:-
    pause for 1 minute and some if-else conditions…and in second WF i wrote pause for 2 minutes,
    here when i upload a file and fill metadata fields both the WFs is started simultaneously since i set second WF to start only on item change. according to my understanding it should start on item change not on creation. why this is happening??
    if i okay this..then i also wanted to know that during pausing of 2 minutes in second WF if first WF changes item (update meta data columns)and complete itself and again changes item then again complete itself what would be the result of second WF..Is it runs only once with latest updated meta data fields or run twice-thrice depending upon number of times item changed by first WF.

  14. Felicia said

    Hi Clayton, Can completed InfoPath forms be placed into a folder within the infopath library in which they reside? I want to move my old 2010 closed forms to a folder that says 2010 closed, but I am not sure how.

  15. Correna Stachiw said

    Thank you so much, your site is great. Maybe you can help me out with something. I’ve created an InfoPath form, published to a Form Library, created a SPD workflow which sends an email to someone with a link to the Web Enabled form. The link will not capture the full name, only capturing the first section of it therefore not allowing the link to work. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Won’t capture the full name of what? Are you referring to the filename? The filename should not have any spaces in it. Please check my blog on auto-generating filenames. You should always generate filenames dynamically that are unique, require no user intervention (other than metadata in the form), and that have no spaces (preferably no special characters unless using dashes or underscores). Please try this and see how it works for you.

    • Nancy Young said

      Hi Correna,

      Does your link only include the filename? Clayton, I run into this, too, with SPD workflow emails, and I find that I have to hard-code the entire URL up to and including the last / before the filename for the email link to work: (with quotes) “http://////”.

      Is there a way to have that string automatically included in the email without having to add the URL path before the filename and the quotes before and after the entire string?

      Thanks for your help.

  16. Theo said

    Hi Clayton,
    I am new to this one, so I try to get as much more help and advise as I can.
    So here are my questions:

    For someone to open and fill-in a InfoPath form will
    need the InfoPath software or not?

    If our company will use Microsoft SharePoint users
    with access into Share point they need InfoPath software to fill in a
    form or not?

    Also what your advise for InfoPath forms vs Adobe forms
    Thank you for your time

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Theo, there are Filler forms that require the user to have the InfoPath client, and there are browser forms that just require the user to have a browser with no InfoPath requirement.

      Browser forms are a special type of InfoPath form that require either MOSS 2007 Enterprise or SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise. The Enterprise versions of 2007 and 2010 are the only way to get browser forms, and if you have that, you have to design the forms specifically to be browser forms (they have limitations relative to Filler forms).

      I don’t have much of a comment on Adobe. InfoPath is a leading standard, and so is Adobe, but InfoPath integrates with the entire Office suite and with SharePoint. It depends on your needs/requirements.

  17. mimi said

    Hi Clayton,

    This is the time I ran to you when I don’t know what to do anymore. Hope you can help me.

    I have this workflow created in Sharepoint Designer (MOSS 2007). I need to get the day name (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday). I have this conditions:

    If request entry is created at 2:30PM downwards (cut-off time), it will be automatically changed to 8:00 AM the next day. If the entry is created on Friday 2:30PM, it will be treated/automatically changed to Monday 8:00AM. Same as Saturday and Sunday(anytime).

    How can I know that – that date is Friday or so? Any idea?

    Thank you in advance. (^__^)

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Mimi, I don’t quite follow what you’re saying. You said if an entry is created at a certain time, then it needs to be automatically changed to the next day, but you didn’t say WHAT needs to be changed. Please clarify.
      SPD doesn’t have a way of detecting day of the week, though, so it will depend on what technology you’re using to input data before triggering the workflow. Is it InfoPath by chance?

      • mimi said

        Hi Clayton,

        I’m sorry. I forgot to pin point the infopath. Yes, I’m using InfoPath.

        Is there any way to detect the day of the week?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        There isn’t a built-in feature for this, but since you’re using InfoPath, you can retrieve the day of the week within the form by using something like what you see in this article: The most important part of that article is the formula in step 16. It looks scary, but it should work. The key is finding the day of the week from your Date field and then storing it in a separate field that you promote to the form library. Then, use that field’s “day” in your conditional statements in SPD. You’ll need to have a bunch of conditional statements, so be prepared.

      • mimi said

        Hi Clayton,

        I will look into this tonight. Thanks a lot again for sharing what you know. You’re such a blessing to us!


      • mimi said

        Hi Clayton,

        Please check this link:

        Can you confirm if in the: Show dates as the day of the week
        it can be use in the field/column in sharepoint not using the infopath?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        You can probably confirm before I can by trying it, but what I can confirm is this is not related to InfoPath at all and would not work in InfoPath. Those formulas are for SharePoint calculated columns (Excel formulas).

  18. Heather Zerfass said

    I am in charge of creating workflows for our multiple processes and am stuck on something. Have you ever had any luck with Pausing a Workflow until a field changes? I’m using Sharepoint 2007 with Sharepoint Designer and InfoPath. Here is the scenario:

    We have a request come in that needs to be approved by the Dean. The same request also needs to be approved by 1 to 5 instructors, simultaneously. I would like for the Dean (primary approver) to be able to complete their steps of the approval process without getting multiple notifications when the instructors are going out and making their updates for approval or denial. It worked fine for the first step of the process (Wait until 1st Approval is not empty). However, the student can submit 2 requests for approval. For some reason, it will pause for the first step of the approval but after that it will send notifications despite the pause that I have set up that says Wait for 2nd Approval to be not empty. Does this make sense?

  19. mimi said

    Hi Clayton,

    I am here again. (^_^). I have this situation in sharepoint out of the box.

    I have a list wherein there are columns for name, email address, Responded (Yes/No), Status (Open, Close)
    I also have a workflow in SPD that will send email if there are Yes responses.

    There are no. of entries in the list. Items are being queued (1, 2, 3, 4, and so on).
    I have also a timer that will send an email after 1 hour. Default status is Close and default responded is No. The first item to log as Open (in the Status column) will trigger the 1 hour timer. If number 3 will respond Yes and number 2 will also respond Yes (change to Yes from No in the Responded column). Winner will be determined after the timer stops.

    Here’s my problem. How can I look up a dynamic column?
    To determine the winner above, I have to look for

    if status is equal to Yes
    and ID is nearest to 1

    If else, status equal to Open is the winner.
    then send email notification to the winner.

    Please enlighten me. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Mimi, this is definitely not an out of the box question as you stated. This is a custom workflow with complicated logic.

      I don’t fully understand the issue or criteria for the final email, so I can’t really tell you the answer. I would have to sit down and fully understand the requirements in order to build the solution properly. The “nearest to 1” part is probably the piece that won’t work in SPD, because it has no way of comparing itself against other values in other items in the list.

  20. Dave said

    Hi Clayton,

    I’ve been using your SharePoint/InfoPath site as a reference as I am creating an InfoPath form and linking it to SharePoint – it is quite useful. I actually have two issues and was wondering if you could please help me out:

    1) When I submit the form multiple times, it is overwriting my previous submissions. In the Data Connection Wizard, if I uncheck the “Allow overwrite if file exists” field, I get an error and I can’t submit. If it’s checked off, I can submit, but it keeps overwriting. Does this have something to do with the file name?

    2) I created a workflow to transfer data from the SharePoint Library to a SharePoint List, but for some reason the data isn’t transferring. In SharePoint Designers, when I went in to create a workflow, I did the following:

    o Workflow is attached to the SharePoint Library
    o Actions: Create item in (the SharePoint list) – output to variable: create
    o The value (document library) fields are being matched to the SharePoint List
    o Value Assignment:
    Set this field: (field in the SharePoint List)
    To this value: (field in SharePoint Library : SharePoint List field)

    Is my workflow off?

    I would greatly appreciate your help and feedback.

    Thank you in advance,

  21. Babu said

    Hi Clayton,

    I am having issue with infopath forms. The forms are not working in Windows 7. Its a Filler form

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Babu, what do you want me to do with the information you gave?

      • babu said

        Hi Clayton,

        The forms are created in infopath 2003 running in windows 2003 server. User accesing from Windows xp. But when i tried to access this form in Windows 7 and Infopath 2010. It throws me the error

        “Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: The file Submitted InfoPath Forms been modified by user…—> System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x81020037): The file Submitted InfoPath Forms
        . at Microsoft.SharePoint.Library.SPRequestInternalClass.AddOrUpdateItem(String bstrUrl, String bstrListName, Boolean bAdd, Boolean bSystemUpdate, Boolean bPreserveItemVersion, Boolean bUpdateNoVersion, Int32& plID, String& pbstrGuid, Guid pbstrNewDocId, Boolean bHasNewDocId, String bstrVersion, Object& pvarAttachmentNames, Object& pvarAttachmentContents, Object& pvarProperties, Boolean bCheckOut, Boolean bCheckin, Boolean bMigration, Boolean bPublish) at Microsoft.SharePoint.Library.SPRequest.AddOrUpdateItem(String bstrUrl, String bstrListName, Boolean bAdd, Boolean bSystemUpdate, Boolean bPreserveItemVersion, Boolean bUpdateNoVersion, Int32& plID, String& pbstrGuid, Guid pbstrNewDocId, Boolean bHasNewDocId, String bstrVersion, Object& pvarAttachmentNames, Object& pvarAttachmentContents, Object& pvarProperties, Boolean bCheckOut, Boolean bCheckin, Boolean bMigration, Boolean bPublish) — End of inner exception stack trace — at Microsoft.SharePoint.Library.SPRequest.AddOrUpdateItem(String bstrUrl, String bstrListName, Boolean bAdd, Boolean bSystemUpdate, Boolean bPreserveItemVersion, Boolean bUpdateNoVersion, Int32& plID, String& pbstrGuid, Guid pbstrNewDocId, Boolean bHasNewDocId, String bstrVersion, Object& pvarAttachmentNames, Object& pvarAttachmentContents, Object& pvarProperties, Boolean bCheckOut, Boolean bCheckin, Boolean bMigration, Boolean bPublish) at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPListItem.AddOrUpdateItem(Boolean bAdd, Boolean bSystem, Boolean bPreserveItemVersion, Boolean bNoVersion, Boolean bMigration, Boolean bPublish, Boolean bCheckOut, Boolean bCheckin, Guid newGuidOnAdd, Int32& ulID, Object& objAttachmentNames, Object& objAttachmentContents, Boolean suppressAfterEvents) at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPListItem.UpdateInternal(Boolean bSystem, Boolean bPreserveItemVersion, Guid newGuidOnAdd, Boolean bMigration, Boolean bPublish, Boolean bNoVersion, Boolean bCheckOut, Boolean bCheckin, Boolean suppressAfterEvents) at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPListItem.Update()

  22. Ian Hawkins said

    Issue with connecting an Excel Web Access web part to a document URL of a document in a library on the parent site

    We are using SharePoint 2010. We have a document library whose “All Items” view we have edited in SP Designer 2010 and saved as a web part “To Site Gallery”.

    We have added this web part, displaying a view of this document library, on to a page of a sub-site of the site where the document library is stored. This is working fine. We are trying to setup an Excel Web Access web part, added to the same page as the library web part, to display a graph that is in the Excel document showing in the library view.

    We are getting “An unexpected error has occured” page displayed when trying to connect the Excel web part to the Document URL in the library web part.

    It lets us pick the document library web part displayed on the page (Connections, Get Workbook URL From) and then pick Document URL from the list of fields displayed. We get the error when we click “Finish”.

    If we put the Excel file into a document library within the same site, we can connect to it fine from the Excel Web Access web part.

    Do you know if you can connect an Excel Web Access web part to a document showing in a library web part, where the library is in a parent site?

    Hope this makes sense and you can help?
    Many thanks,

  23. Hamid said

    Hi Clayton,

    I posted a question for you under the post you answered in MSDN

    I was wondering if you could help me to solve the problem I have with binding the data from the XML to a dropdown box as it give me an error. Here is my question from the post:

    Hi Clayton,

    I followed what you refered to for creating the XML link and filtering the list. Everything works fine up to the point I need to look up the values from my newly created XML data connection.

    I’m experiencing a weird behavior with the way the data connection is reading the XML file in my drop down controls. When I attempt to set the “Entries” field to “z:row”, I am prompted with the error “You must select a repeating group or field.” I am also using SharePoint 2007 and InfoPath 2007.

    Is there a reason why this data connection is pulling the “z:row” field as a non-repeating? Am I missing a step?

    Thanks in advance

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