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Using Infopath 2010 "Manage multiple list items with this form" for streamlining entry of common data RRS feed

  • Question

  • I noticed that there is a "Manage multiple list items with this form" advanced option in the Data Connection Wizard in InfoPath 2010 when making a form for a SharePoint list.

    Here the scenario I'd like to create:

    user is presented with new item form

    user fills in the common field(s) - for example: Continent

    user fills in the distinct items into the repeating table - for example: Country

    user clicks OK

    user sees Continent filled down with the same value for each of the Countries entered.

    InfoPath doesn't want me to put the Country field outside of a repeating section.  Is there a way to accomplish this scenario in a relatively OOTB way?

    Thanks!


    Eric
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 1:48 AM

Answers

  • There is no repeating table option in InfoPath.  The feature you're talking about only creates a repeating SECTION, and that section is basically the entire data structure, which allows you to submit multiple list items from a single form interface, but each section is an entirely separate list item.  There is no repeating table.  Everything has to be in the section, because the section is bound to the SharePointListItem_RW repeating field, which is the root node of the entire list schema.
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    • Marked as answer by Lily Wu Friday, March 11, 2011 1:21 AM
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 9:14 AM

All replies

  • There is no repeating table option in InfoPath.  The feature you're talking about only creates a repeating SECTION, and that section is basically the entire data structure, which allows you to submit multiple list items from a single form interface, but each section is an entirely separate list item.  There is no repeating table.  Everything has to be in the section, because the section is bound to the SharePointListItem_RW repeating field, which is the root node of the entire list schema.
    SharePoint Architect || Microsoft MVP || My Blog
    Planet Technologies || SharePoint Task Force
    • Marked as answer by Lily Wu Friday, March 11, 2011 1:21 AM
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 9:14 AM
  • Hi Clayton:

    Eric asked you if there was a way to accomplish the scenario he described.  Your answer clearly told him that the approach he had taken wasn't going to work.

    Is there another way to accomplish his scenario?  I'm trying to do the same thing, and would greatly appreciate some guidance...

     

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011 2:13 PM
  • If I knew of a way, I would have given it.  The desired functionality requires using a library form, because list forms do not have this functionality.  I stated that there are no repeating tables in list forms - they just don't exist and can't be added from the main data source.
    SharePoint Architect || Microsoft MVP || My Blog
    Planet Technologies || SharePoint Task Force
    Wednesday, June 29, 2011 1:52 AM
  • I'm sure you have long since moved on from this question, but I wanted to give my solution to this problem in case others may have similar criteria as described in your requirements. By no means is this a straight forward approach, but it works for my purposes which are very similar to those above. My system is an order request system in which multiple orders would need to be made for a specific project that an employee is working on. My employee could potentially reuest between 1 and 10 orders all under the same project. Instead of creating multiple columns to handle up to 20 line items, I used the Manage multiple list items with this form because the people who fulfill that order need the ability to control each line item individually as it is processed.

    Disclaimer: You will need to use InfoPath and SharePoint Designer to accomplish the approach I explain below. I personally believe working in SharePoint requires understanding of InfoPath and SharePoint Designer (SPD) to accomplish worthy systems and enhance the UI.

    Here is my example in its literal form: My employee is working on Project X. This employee finds the need to request files related to Project X to be processed by the File Process Team. My employee opens up a new order request form, inputs the basic information as it is related to Project X, then continues to add specific information as it is related to each file that needs the expertiese of the File Process Team. My employee has 5 files that need to be processed, each with unique order information (IE due date, quantity of files to produce, current stage of the file in the development, etc). But, those 5 unique orders all have common information as shared under Project X (IE Project name, which department the employee requesting the order is in, wheather or not to recive additional notifications as the files are processed, etc). My File Process Team needs the ability to handle each order independantly based on their current work load, so individual list items is a MUST!

    First of all, I knew i was going to need a custom form for my UI and I was going to need a custom list. Knowing that, I started within InfoPath to create a new custom list on my SP site. As you walk through the create list wizard, be sure to select "Manage multiple list items with this form".

    Now, for the InfoPath development. I started with two regions; one will contain my common information and the other is where my repeating information will be held. When you insert any field into your design area, it automatically puts it in a repeating section. If that field is desired to be common information, you need to highlight the field within the repeating section and cut it out (Ctrl+X). Then, inside of your common information area, paste the field you just cut. NOTE: Common information can not be marked as required - you will read why in my next paragraph. For your unique information, you will need to keep all fields that you desire to be unique within the same repeating section. When you Preview your form and click on "Insert Section", you will notice only the information housed within the repeating section is repeated, otherwise anything outside of that section does not repeat. When you publish the form, it will give you an error but click "publish anyways".

    Now, once you publish your form to SP, you need to test it out. On the list, click add new item. Fill in the common information and then fill out a few repeating sections. Submit your form. (If you get an error about required fields not being completed, it is because you have a field within your common information region which should not be required). When you view your list with you 3 or 4 list items, you'll notice only the first list items contains any information you put into the common field, where as the additional line items contain no information at all. Now we use a custom SPD workflow (WF) to update those list items lacking in common information.

    For your SPD WF, you will need to do all, less, or more of the steps I am about to explain. 1) set the workflow to start automatically when a new item is created. 2) within your InfoPath form, use a hidden field (one that exists but is not displayed on your form) which will be used to set a unique value to, 3) your first line in your WF needs to set the field value as explained in step 2 of this paragraph. I build a string which contains the users name and then counts the number of list items contained in the list and appends that after the name. This way at any given moment in time, an employee can only be inputting a request on one access point to SP and the list item count is unque to that point in time. Example: John Smith 10. After John Smith puts in more orders, the new field would be John Smith 20 and so on. 4) Now you need to put a line item to force a pause for a duration. This will allow all list items to capture the unqiue field explained in step 2 before trying to update missing information. 5)There now needs to be some steps in your WF that check to see if any common field infomration is empty and if so, we will insert additional WF actions to update the list item if it is missing the common information. 6) If common field is empty, update list item to copy across existing information. This is achieved with an "Update" action using the unique value field explained in step 2 to reference the line item in which to grab that common information in and carry it across.

    I know this is by no means a straight forward answer, but when you absolutly need to find a way to do somthing, there is always a way to do it. Feel free to reply to this post so I can answer any more questions there may be.


    MG
    • Proposed as answer by AKrasheninnikov Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:22 AM
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:00 PM
  • Thanks a bunch, Mark!   I also noticed that once you have the repeating section, you can right click and change control to repeating table.  I published and it seems to be working fine for me.
    Friday, April 20, 2012 7:29 PM
  • Mark,

    Would you mind posting a picture of your workflow that you used to populate the common fields in the other list items? We have a similar issue to solve and cannot work through the workflow


    Dave

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:45 PM
  • Hi Dave,

    Below is a complete screen shot of InfoPath, SharePoint Designer, and List functionality. It is a little different than what I explained above - I think it is simpler. Instead of having the item with the information peform the update on the items missing information, I illistrate the items missing information performing the update on themselves by getting information from the list item with the data.


    MG

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 4:54 PM
  • Thank you Mark. Will let you know if this resolved our issue.

    Dave

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 5:02 PM
  • Mark, can you elaborate on the following:

    • Data Connection setup (Common Field Unique Field List).  I'm assuming it's a retrieve data connection and that it doesn't auto retrieve when the form is open. 
    • the count(ID) as the default value for the Hidden Field - List Item Count.  Is this the ID from the Main data connection or the Common Field Unique Field List data connection?  Within the connection, is this the ID from the queryFields or the dataFields?

    I've followed your instructions, but my empty values are not updating via the workflow.  I think the problem is where I've defined the data connection and list item count default value as outlined above.

    Thanks
    Chris


    Update:  I found another way of doing this, if anyone is interested.  It doesn't require hidden fields or a SharePoint workflow.  Instead, it uses an xml resource file as a data connection to store and later populate the common field default values.
    • Edited by c51773 Wednesday, October 17, 2012 9:14 PM
    Tuesday, October 16, 2012 8:55 PM
  • Mark, can you elaborate on the following:

    • Data Connection setup (Common Field Unique Field List).  I'm assuming it's a retrieve data connection and that it doesn't auto retrieve when the form is open. 
    • the count(ID) as the default value for the Hidden Field - List Item Count.  Is this the ID from the Main data connection or the Common Field Unique Field List data connection?  Within the connection, is this the ID from the queryFields or the dataFields?

    I've followed your instructions, but my empty values are not updating via the workflow.  I think the problem is where I've defined the data connection and list item count default value as outlined above.

    Thanks
    Chris


    Update:  I found another way of doing this, if anyone is interested.  It doesn't require hidden fields or a SharePoint workflow.  Instead, it uses an xml resource file as a data connection to store and later populate the common field default values.

    Chris,

    This sounds very useful to me.  Would you be able to explain this in detail?  I keep trying to create a "common area" but I can't seem to get InfoPath to allow me to create a space without it defining it as a "repeating section" 

    My goal is to have some common fields above that will contain the institution name and other info propagated from another sharepoint "institution" list.  That data would hopefully just propagate all the institution columns for all the list items in the repeating table.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:55 PM
  • An alternative solution that may simplify is to create "dummy" fields for the non repeating section.  Then create a submit button that has rules attached to update the common fields (they don't need to be on the form to be updated) with the data in your dummy fields in the non-repeating section of the form.  For example instead of putting the "First Name" field in the common section you could just put fieldX there and have it labeled as First Name.  Then you set a rule associated with your submit button that updates the "First Name" field with the data from "fieldX".  The rule will automatically repeat itself for all the items in your repeating table.  This way it is all completed in one step without having to create a complex workflow.
    • Proposed as answer by Ammo50cal120 Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:10 PM
    Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:10 PM