How long does it take to create an InfoPath form?

Filed under: InfoPath 2010

Learn what is a reasonable amount of time to create an InfoPath form template and what you should consider when estimating Infopath development time.


I recently came across this question and thought that it is a very common question especially for managers or anyone who is applying pressure on someone else to ask.

Actually, it does not take that long to create an InfoPath form. If you already have a form template, it should take no longer than 5 seconds to create an InfoPath form based on it.

All kidding aside, I'm assuming that the person who was looking for an answer to this question was referring to an InfoPath form template instead of an InfoPath form.

Just like any other piece of software, creating or designing an InfoPath form template depends on many factors, a few of which include:

  1. The experience of the InfoPath designer or developer
  2. The internal complexity of functionality the InfoPath form template should provide
  3. Whether the InfoPath form interacts with any external components
  4. Whether code is required

The experience of the InfoPath designer or developer

Someone who is just starting out with InfoPath will generally require more time to create an InfoPath form template than someone who has been at it for a while.

When giving estimates for work, I generally don't assume that I will be doing the work, but that someone who is of an intermediate level will. While this initially seems to overestimate the amount of time required to do the work, it has proven to be pretty accurate 80% of the time.

If a beginner will be doing the work, you should count on adding a couple of hours for research and/or studying to the time it will take to create the form template.

The internal complexity of the InfoPath form template

The more rules, conditions, and dependencies between fields an InfoPath form template has, the more time it will not only take to create the InfoPath form template, but also test and debug it.

A form template that only has a bunch of controls on it with no rules can be created in less than an hour. This of course depends on the amount of controls that are on the form. But theoretically speaking, the complexity increases as you add rules, default values, etc. to an InfoPath form template.

And please keep in mind that what may seem like a simple InfoPath form on the outside, could be very complex on the inside. A good example is this shrinking list in repeating table with a SharePoint list solution I recently came up with for a customer who could not figure out how to create the functionality. I generally tend to see solutions within 5 minutes, but in this case, it took me about an hour to construct the solution and iron out all of the bugs.

Whether the InfoPath form interacts with any external components

Does the InfoPath form interact with SharePoint? Workflows? Web services? Databases? If it does, then you should add more hours for development and testing. Again, if such external connections are absent, it should take much less time to create an InfoPath form template.

Whether code is required

Writing code is not always necessary in InfoPath. But certain things cannot be done without writing code. And writing and debugging code can significantly add to the time it will take to create an InfoPath form template.

Because writing code is such a specialized skill that not many people who work normal jobs possess, it is important to know what can and cannot be done without code in InfoPath. This not only saves time, but also money you will have to invest up front to pay someone to write the code if it cannot be done in-house, and money you will have to invest afterwards to support, maintain, or alter the code should this be necessary.

Final words

Perhaps you expected me to list an exact number here? I can't, because it's simply impossible for me to give you an exact number without having the specifications or requirements for the InfoPath form template. However, if you want a rough estimate, anything between 2 hours and 5 days would seem reasonable to me depending on the factors mentioned above.

As a side note: When my manager asked me 7 years ago to come up with an estimate for an InfoPath form template, I said: “3 weeks”. What is someone who does not know what InfoPath is supposed to say? Needless to say, the work was eventually taken off my hands to free me up for more important things such as solve pressing problems from customers.

The upside of that story is that I did get a small taste of what InfoPath was, and that was enough to “hook me”. The rest of the story you probably already know if you are a regular visitor to this web site.


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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.