So you’ve heard about SharePoint list form customization in InfoPath 2010 and you’ve seen the cool demos. But you may be asking yourself – What’s the difference between list and library forms and when should I use one or the other? In this post, we will answer these questions and provide guidance on when to create list vs. library forms.
When designing InfoPath forms for SharePoint 2010, the first choice you need to make is between a SharePoint list form and a SharePoint form library form.
Use a list form if you just need to collect data and store it on SharePoint. Use a form library form if you want more advanced functionality such as complex or repeating data or code.
SharePoint list forms store data directly in a SharePoint list. Each control (e.g. text box) in the form is bound to a column in the list. SharePoint list forms are directly connected to the list, which means that you don’t have to worry about setting up the publish and submit locations. Form library forms store data in XML files in a SharePoint form library. This means they are more flexible and you can do more with them. For example, they can be configured to save drafts and submit to different locations. However, they are more complex to work with and require more decisions to be made during configuration.
Because the way data is stored between these template types is different, it is not possible to switch between them.
Overall, both list forms and form library forms support much of the key functionality that InfoPath provides, such as data validation, custom rules, default values, and control over visual layout. In most cases, a list form will be sufficient for your needs. Lists have the most straightforward design and form management experience. However, for more complex scenarios such as repeating data or the need to add code, a form library may be necessary.
Please leave a comment if you have any further questions!
Daniel Broekman and Kate Everitt
InfoPath Program Managers
Great post, thanks !
I know that I can't use Infopath List Forms to manage data that includes Managed Metadata. My guess is I could probably use Form Libraries, in conjunction with OOTB SP web services, to paliate. So it is probably another reason one would go with Form Libraries.
It would be great to see a blog on that particular topic !
Thanks for your comments. Managed Metadata Columns in InfoPath 2010 are supported in Document Information Panels only.
In SharePoint 2007 (WSS/MOSS v3) we were only allowed to show flat data structures once the InfoPath form was published to a Form Library. has this restriction been removed/enhanced and now allows for nested data displays (how many levels)? Or, are we still left up to ingenious ways of showing nested data from the InfoPath Form (more than one set of nested data in the form)?
In response to the previous comment from John Shaw, are you referring to promoting fields from the form as columns to the SharePoint library? If so, this functionality has not changed in InfoPath 2010. You can store nested data inside the form but nested values cannot be stored in SharePoint columns.
Thanks very good explanation.
I needed that. :)
what about getting data from web services on a form , i suppose only form library forms can do it.
any way great article
Both list and library forms support Web service data connections.
Why in the world would the "option button" be unavailable for SharePoint list forms? All of my radio button fields get automatically converted to drop down lists, which is very frustrating! Is there anyway to use radio buttons in infopath without using a a form library?
You can use option buttons in list forms by right-clicking any dropdown control and choosing Change Control -> Option button, but you’ll have to copy/paste the option button several times to get the correct number of choices, and you’ll have to manually set up the correct value for each option so the right value is saved to the list when the form is submitted.
I would like to use combo list box option in Groove but it is not supported, is there a work around. Essentially all I would like to do is allow users to add to the drop down list.
Many thanks, Toby
Hi, I'm new to InfoPath and I'm currently using a form library for a simple form I've been working on. According to your checklist I think I can use a list instead, but I'm not clear on what is considered repeating data. I am using a repeating table to allow multiple attachments to be attached to the form. Does repeating table = repeating data?
Am new to sharepoint and infopath.Please provide more explaination regarding this concept.It is very helpful to begineers like me.
Great post. Thank you ! That's clear.
Hi, Nice Post.
I was using List forms but wanted to add repeating tables that i could not because option of repeating table was not present in the controls.
Now i know where i was wrong.
My suggestion is to provide a tool tip help on the control, that you cant choose repeating table unless you make a form library form type.
Why do forms not support managed metadata? Is this being considered or worked on?