Why InfoPath forms may not be opening in the browser

Find answers to common reasons why an InfoPath form that has been published to a SharePoint form library may not be opening in the browser.

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Okay, I've seen this problem come through my web site logs 1000 times, and every time I see it, I think, "They surely have not read the discussion section of recipe 21 of InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 2", which by the way pretty much resembles (with much more explaining of the why behind things) what you need to do to be able to open an InfoPath form in the browser in SharePoint 2007.

So I've decided to break down the complexity right here for you in logical and systematic bits - all for free. To figure out why an InfoPath form is not opening in the browser, answer the following questions in sequence.

1. Are you trying to display an InfoPath form in the browser via SharePoint?

If the answer is "No", stop trying to open the InfoPath form via the browser, because it won't open unless you have built something to enable this. And with "have built" I mean write code.

If the answer is "Yes", does your SharePoint server make use of InfoPath Forms Services? You need SharePoint with InfoPath Forms Services on it to be able to open InfoPath forms in the browser.

2. Did you create a browser-compatible form template?

I'm not going to explain what "browser-compatible" means, since I've already done that in InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 2. However, a quick tip I can give you is this one: Check whether the type of form template you created is Web Browser Form or one of its predecessors.

I'm talking about a form template that you published to a SharePoint form library here, not a SharePoint list form or workflow form. If you created a SharePoint list form (see Chapter 1) or workflow form (see Chapter 5), everything should already be going smoothly for you, that is, the form should be opening in the browser. Any other type of form will not open in the browser.

3. Did you publish the form template to a SharePoint form library?

If you manually created a new form library in SharePoint, and then immediately tried to add a form to it, the InfoPath form won't open in the browser and you will see the Open With Form Template dialog box appear, because the InfoPath form is not using a published InfoPath form template. The same goes for if you created a SharePoint form library and then manually uploaded a non-published form template to it. You need to really publish an InfoPath form template first, before you can open an InfoPath form in the browser.

4. Did you browser-enable the form template when you published it?

Again I'm not going to explain what "browser-enable" means, since I've already done that in InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 2. But a quick tip I can give you is this: There is a check box on the Publishing Wizard you must select to browser-enable a form template. Make sure you selected this check box.

If you are not seeing the browser-enable check box, SharePoint is probably preventing the browser-enable process to go ahead. So you need to ask your administrator if/why this is the case, or if you are the administrator, go into SharePoint Central Admin and configure InfoPath Forms Services (see the discussion section of recipe 21).

The settings for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 are the same settings to be able to publish and open an InfoPath form in the browser via SharePoint 2007. Those settings are enabled by default but they can be turned off, so again, ask your administrator if/why this is the case.

5. Did you ignore any error messages the Publishing Wizard displayed?

On the last screen of the Publishing Wizard, InfoPath may sometimes tell you that there is something wrong with the form template and that you may therefore only be able to open it in InfoPath Filler. Guess what... if you see that message, InfoPath is NOT lying!

You won't be able to open the InfoPath form in the browser if you got that message, but ignored it. So republish the form template and check the last screen of the Publishing Wizard to see whether you missed important information.

Also note that there does not always have to be something wrong with the form template itself when you see that message; something could also be wrong on the SharePoint server. Needless to say, the cause of that message is often very difficult to trace.

6. Did you enable content types on the SharePoint form library?

You do not need to enable content types to make an InfoPath form open in the browser, but if you have enabled content types on a SharePoint form library (see recipe 27), you must make sure that you made the content type to which you published the form template (see recipe 26), the default content type on the SharePoint form library (see recipe 28), or instruct users to use the New Document menu to create forms. Otherwise again, users may be trying to use a content type that does not have a published InfoPath form template assigned to it, which in turn will make the InfoPath form not open in the browser.

7. Are you trying to open an InfoPath form via a link?

If you are, is that link referring to the FormServer.aspx page or directly to an XML file? To be able to open an InfoPath form in the browser via SharePoint through a link, the link must point to the FormServer.aspx page and have appropriate query string parameters added to it.

If all else fails...

While the questions I've listed above cover the most common reasons why an InfoPath form may not open in the browser, there are other less common reasons, which you may want to check if the aforementioned has not worked for you.

The less common reasons are:

  • InfoPath Forms Services is not configured to display InfoPath forms in the browser. Ask your administrator or check the configuration in SharePoint Central Admin. The default configuration is for InfoPath forms to be displayed in the browser.
  • The SharePoint form library is configured to force InfoPath forms to open in the client. Check the settings of the form library in SharePoint. The default setting is to open InfoPath forms in the browser.
  • The browser you are using has a bug or is not working properly; or SharePoint has a bug. This might be the case if you are using a new version of SharePoint (without service packs), or a new version of a browser that was released after SharePoint was released. Not highly likely, but possible.

Hopefully the above has given you enough ammo to tackle the problem of InfoPath forms not opening in the browser. And if it hasn't, please don't shoot InfoPath (or me).

 


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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.

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