2 Ways SharePoint Designer 2010 integrates with InfoPath 2010

Learn what the relationship is between SharePoint Designer 2010 and InfoPath 2010 and how InfoPath forms integrate with SharePoint designer workflows.

If you are new to SharePoint Designer 2010 and also new to InfoPath 2010, you might think that you can use SharePoint Designer 2010 to create InfoPath forms. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is why I’ve decided to write about the relationship between SharePoint Designer 2010 and InfoPath 2010.

SharePoint Designer 2010 is primarily a tool to customize SharePoint sites and to create codeless SharePoint workflows. And it is on the workflow side of SharePoint Designer where InfoPath comes into the picture.

There are basically two ways in which you can use InfoPath forms with SharePoint Designer:

  1. InfoPath forms can serve as initiation, association, or task forms in SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows that are created on SharePoint Server 2010.
  2. You can create SharePoint Designer workflows that run on InfoPath forms stored in a SharePoint form library.

Where the first point of integration is concerned: While SharePoint Designer will automatically create the initial InfoPath form templates for the workflow forms when you first create and publish a workflow template from within SharePoint Designer, if you want to customize these auto-generated InfoPath form templates, you still need InfoPath Designer 2010 to open and modify them as you wish. However, these form templates are and remain part of the SharePoint Designer workflow template and are saved and published as such. In addition, you cannot design workflow form templates for SharePoint Designer 2010 from scratch in InfoPath Designer 2010; you need SharePoint Designer 2010 to initially create them.

Note: If you have SharePoint Foundation 2010 installed instead of SharePoint Server 2010, the workflow forms generated by SharePoint Designer 2010 will be ASPX forms instead of InfoPath forms. In the latter case, you would use SharePoint Designer 2010 (and not InfoPath 2010) to modify the workflow forms.

Where the second point of integration is concerned: InfoPath forms can be treated just like any other type of document or list item in SharePoint. Therefore, in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create either a list workflow that runs on a SharePoint form library (and consequently on each form within that library), or a reusable workflow that runs on a particular SharePoint site content type or a content type called All (which represents all of the content types, which have been associated with a library) that has an InfoPath form template as its document template. Both cases require you to first design and publish the form template from within InfoPath Designer 2010 and then create and publish the workflow template from within SharePoint Designer 2010.p>

In summary: SharePoint Designer 2010 is not meant to replace InfoPath Designer 2010 for designing InfoPath form templates. You still need InfoPath Designer 2010 if you want to design or customize any InfoPath form templates that are related to anything - most likely workflows – in SharePoint Designer 2010.


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Copyright: This article may not be used on web sites (whether personal or otherwise), copied, disseminated, altered, printed, published, broadcasted, or reproduced in any way without an expressed written consent. The techniques demonstrated in this article may be used within any Microsoft InfoPath project. This article is provided without any warranties. Copyright for this article is non-transferrable and remains with the author.