Microsoft Infopath Tutorial and Online Training Course

Posted by on Monday 4 Apr 2005

Microsoft InfoPath Tutorial: Section 2 Overview

In this section, you will learn about:

  • Creating a new form from a template
  • Creating a new form from a blank page
  • Laying out a form
  • Adding controls to the form
  • Setting security zones
  • Testing a form
  • Saving a form template
  • Deleting a form
  • Printing a form
  • Protecting forms

Creating Forms

Creating a New Form from a Template

InfoPath includes a number of pre-designed forms that you can modify to create your own form templates. Sample forms are a good place to start, since many of them include not only professional formatting but also a number of scripts and formulas for performing calculations in the fields.

To modify a sample form:

  1. From the File menu, select Design a Form. This opens the Design a Form task pane on the right side of the InfoPath window:

  1. Under Design a new form, click Customize a Sample.
  2. In the Customize a Sample dialog, select a sample form to open.

  1. Click OK.

The form opens in design mode, allowing you to modify it.

Create a New Form from a Blank Page

To create a form from scratch:

  1. From the File menu, select Design a Form. If the task pane is open, you can also select Design a Form from the task pane menu.

The Design a Form task pane opens.

  1. Under Design a new form, click New Blank Form.

This opens a blank form in design mode—note that (Design) appears in the title bar. The Design Tasks task pane also opens on the right side of the window. Use the task pane to guide you through the process of laying out your form, adding controls, working with the data source, creating views, and publishing your form.

Laying Out a Form

The first task in designing a form from scratch is to create the layout. It’s best to do this using layout tables, which control the size and placement of the elements you’ll add, such as text and controls.

To get started, click Layout on the Design Tasks task pane. This opens the Layout task pane:

Using the task pane, lay out your form by adding the tables you’ll need:

  1. First, consider all the information you want to collect from the form. How should it be organized? How many different sections will you need? You should plan to add a layout table for each section.

If you plan for some of the sections to be optional, or you want users to be able to insert more sections or table rows as needed, leave these out for now; these require repeating or optional sections, which we’ll cover later.

  1. On the Layout task pane, scroll through the table designs shown in the Insert layout tables list. To add a table, click on it in the list.

The table is added to the form:

  1. Add more tables as necessary to accommodate the sections you need. To add space between the tables, position the cursor outside a table and press Enter.
  2. To add a custom table, click Custom Table.
  3. In the Insert Table dialog, enter the number of columns and rows you want the table to have and click OK.

The new table is inserted into the form:

To add text to the form, click inside a table cell where you want the text to appear, and then begin typing.

Adding Controls to the Form

Controls are the objects that add functionality to your form, such as text boxes, list boxes, and buttons, among many other choices available in InfoPath. Once you’ve added your layout tables, add controls to your form using the Controls task pane:

  1. On the Layout task pane, click Controls. This option is also available on the Design Tasks task pane.

The Controls task pane opens, displaying a list of the controls you can add to your form:

  1. For each control you want to add, position your cursor in the cell in the layout table where you want the control, and then click the control in the list. The control appears on the form:

To change the label of a control, just type over the default text. For example, when you add option buttons, InfoPath inserts default labels that use the names of the fields that have been created:

Backspace over the label and type the options you want your users to see:

Once you’ve added your controls, your form might look something like this:

Testing a Form

Use the Preview Form button on the Standard toolbar to preview and test your form as you design it:

Clicking Preview Form opens a new window containing the form as it will appear and behave to end users. This means you can enter and view data, submit the data to a database or Web service, and test the general functionality of the form.

To return to the design window, click Close Form on the Standard toolbar.

Saving a Form Template

To save a form you’re designing:

  1. Open the File menu and select Save, or click the Save button on the Standard toolbar.
  2. In the dialog that appears, click Save.

  1. In the Save As dialog, navigate to the location where you want to save the form template.

  1. To give the template a title identifiable to users, click the Change Name button and enter a new title.
  2. Enter a file name for the form.
  3. Click Save.

The form is saved as a template with the .XSN file extension.

Deleting a Form

To delete a form you don’t need, navigate to the form file in Windows Explorer, select it, and press Delete on your keyboard. To delete a form from InfoPath, you can use the Open dialog:

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the Open button.
  2. In the Open dialog, navigate the location of the form you want to delete.
  3. Right-click on the form and select Delete from the shortcut menu:

  1. Click Yes to confirm.
  2. Close the Open dialog by clicking the in the upper-right corner.

Printing a Form

To print a form, click the Print button on the Standard toolbar. This sends the form immediately to the printer. To define print options using the Print dialog, open the File menu and select Print.

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