Video Demos of My InfoPath Approval Process and Workflow

You may have seen my webinars or presentations about approval processes in SharePoint, or my rants about the difference between assigning tasks and sending emails.  On our weekly SharePoint Shop Talk conference call, I did a couple of demos recently, showing the way I create an approval workflow using InfoPath and a SharePoint Designer workflow.  Each of these isn’t exactly a fully polished presentation with a PowerPoint or anything, they are just quick 10 to 15 minute rough demos.

You can find them here on the SharePoint Shop Talk site:

Panelist Spotlight – InfoPath & SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow

http://sharepointshoptalk.blogspot.com/2011/05/panelist-spotlight-infopath-sharepoint.html

Note: If you’re interested in reading the full documentation of this process, I did write a 70 page chapter in the new InfoPath book, detailing the whole process step-by-step.

Using Microsoft InfoPath 2010 with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Step by Step

InfoPath Book

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29 comments

  • Hi Laura, I need to create a infopath/aspx forms for custom workflows in MOSS 2007. I am using Sharepoint Designer 2007 to create the workflows. My scenario is to create a form or page for providing comments in the approval process workflow without writing any single code. I have only option is Sharepoint Designer 2007. Could you please guide me, how we can achieve this. Note: It’s a constraint to complete in shorter duration, so help me immediately. Thank you in advance. Best Regards, Bhupesh M —

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  • Bhupesh, Just use the “collect data from a user” action in SPD 2007. Add “comment” as a task field.

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  • Can we do the same process (My InfoPath Approval Process & Workflow) with infopath 2007 and sharepoint 2007

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  • Sameh,
    Yes. The only difference is that in 2007 the workflow can’t be reusable.

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  • Hi Laura

    Can you share the form as is ?

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  • Execellent – thanks Laura ..;)

    just need to solve the error:

    InfoPath
    Your user name cannot be verified because the form’s security settings do not permit it.

    Error occurred during a call to property or method ‘get-UserName’.

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  • Got it working.. ;0)

    Great to see it “hands-on”…;0) – It’s a really good inspiration to see a infopath expert..;)

    Can you also share the WF?

    btw. I just bought your book: “Beginning SharePoint 2010: Building Business Solutions with SharePoint”

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  • At the supervisor approve section there is a People picker (and not in the 2 others) – is this the “next” approver (the one person that approves the supervisor) that are picked here?

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  • This does not seem to work with office 365 SharePoint Online. Two Issues:

    1. There is always an error opening the form:

    An error occurred while trying to connect to a Web service.

    “An entry has been added to the Windows event log of the server.
    Log ID:5566
    Correlation ID:b1ce2ece-8d7b-4624-abf0-fc4650085206”

    2. The username always displays “i:0#.f|membership|” in front of the user name.

    Laura, have yyou worked with Office 365 SharePoint Online at all? We use the Enterprise E4 plan.

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  • Wiper,
    I added the people picker at that level just to demonstrate that sometimes you want people to be able to select the next approver, and sometimes you want it to just happen behind the scenes. Just to show different approaches.

    Larry,
    In that scenario, I assume you’re referring to the user profile service? When you set up the data connection, uncheck the box to “automatically retrieve data when form is opened” on the last page of the data connection wizard.
    In the form load rules, you’ll need to set the value of the (userprofileservice) query field called AccountName to the username of the currently logged in user. So, if your domain is contoso, you’d set the query field to concat(“contoso\”,userName())
    then after the set field’s value action, you’d then add an action to “Query” that user profile service data connection. Read my latest post, which may shed some light on how the query part works: http://sharepoint911.com/blogs/laura/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=172

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  • Hi Laura, I’ve just bought your InfoPath/SharePoint 2010 book and followed the steps for building an approval process (chapter 11). I’ve got the form working like your example but the workflow in SPD 2010 doesn’t work – the error I get is:

    Error System Account The e-mail message cannot be sent. Make sure the e-mail has a valid recipient – I created the workflow logged on as the System Account and I’ve now associated an email address to that account but I’m still getting the error. Can you help me please?

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  • Nicola,
    This is going to be a setting in SharePoint, in central administration, for outgoing email. This is something that you can ask your SharePoint admin about, but it’s not related to this form, it’s going to be global for all of your workflows that send emails.
    Oh, and try running the workflow as someone besides administrator, sometimes that’s the only problem.

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  • Hi Laura. I attended your workshop session in Boston and have followed your instructions in your Step-by-Step book for creating an approval process within InfoPath. Class was excellent as well as your step-by-step instructions in your book. Leadership was pleased with the outcome, but have now changed the scope to require the approval of a Subject Matter Expert (SME), and then up to 5 Reviewers, 5 Approvers, and 1 Verifier. Reviewers are determined by the SME. All Reviewers need to approve before the form is sent to the Approvers. Approvers would need to approve before the final approval by the verifier. Your solution keeping all of the information (name, comments, date) visible on the form is exactly what they were looking for. Do you have any suggestions on best approach considering the need for multiple approvers at the different levels. Appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you !

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  • Hi Laura, I purchased your InfoPath/SharePoint book and when I try to open the practice files from Ch. 11, I get the error:
    This form cannot be opened because it requires the domain permission level and it currently has restricted permission. To fix this problem, open the form from the location it was published to. Published location: file:///c:\Users\laura\Documents\MSPress\ContosoCheckRequestOriginal.xsn.

    Is there a way to open this form?

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  • Sorry, I figured out the form. Thanks

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  • Kim,
    The multiple approvers at a single stage can be a bit tricky, and I typically try to avoid it. In InfoPath, if more than one person opens a form at the same time, one person’s change is going to end up overriding the other person’s change. There’s no way around that. So, it may be a scenario where you will have to create tasks in a task list instead, since those would all be separate items. 😦

    Amanda,
    You have to open the form in Design mode. Double clicking an XSN to open it will give that error.

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  • Hello Laura,

    I bought your book with the hopes of getting an Infopath approval form and workflow to work.

    The form is based on your Check Request sample and I can get the form to work. My problem is that I cannot figure out how to make the form work with the 3 groups (Supervisor, Controller and Director).

    On the site where the form library is located, I have created the 3 groups, however I am not able to manage that the initial form submitter does not have access to the approver section of the form.

    I am using Office 365 (E3 PLan) Sharepoint.

    We are not using user hirachys based on the Title in the user profile.

    How can I get this form working that when any user submits the form only the users inside the approver groups are able to access the approval section of the form and approve and or reject the form.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Chris

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  • Chris,
    Sorry, but InfoPath won’t recognize SharePoint Groups.

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  • I have an InfoPath form that when you click submit, it performs a validation check, then it sets a field value that then impacts the views of the form. When the user submits the form, if it fails the validation check, the other rules still run and the views of the form are altered to the approver views. How do I get the system to not proceed to the next rule if the validation fails.

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  • I have built multiple approval forms based on Ch 11 from your Step by Step – Using MS InfoPath 2010 with MS SharePoint 2010. I actually had to be creative as we are using MOSS 2007 and InfoPath 2010 (2007 browser forms). The forms are absolutely beautiful & very well received. I recently had a request to have the workflow send reminders when a form has not been completed by a certain date. I have created reminder workflows when I would utilize actual SP task lists, but with the format of the forms, this is no longer in play. I can’t figure out how to have the Due Date evaluated if each time the form is opened, reviewed & submitted, the workflow is in essence completed. Any ideas or pointers would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

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  • Carrie,
    That’s a tricky one. Sometimes to get around that, I’ll put the submit rule first, at the top of the list of rules, so that it runs the validation first. That way, it won’t do any of the other rules if it fails. Then, you’d add another submit rule at the bottom of your list of rules. The problem with that, though is if you have a SharePoint workflow running, it will run twice.
    Gina,
    A great 3rd party product for doing reminder emails is called Pentalogic Reminders. I like using it because any kind of reminder email using workflows is pretty clunky.

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  • Hi Laura. I have your book and have followed all of the instructions in Chapter 11 for building an approval process. I’m running into an issue though where once the Manager approves, the record is automatically being checked out to that Manager, so that subsequent approvals cannot happen. I’ve gone over your instructions now 3 times, and still the same result. The form library does not require the User to check out the record, and also there is no versioning on this library. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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  • Kim,
    That is very odd behavior. I’ve never seen InfoPath do that. Does the same issue happen on every form library. This is not normal.

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  • Hi Laura,

    This looks great and I was hoping to implement something similar in SP 2013. I have a question though, in SP 2013 in My Sites, there is a “Tasks” list for the current users tasks throughout the web application. I’m not sure but I’m guessing because your approvals in the InfoPath aren’t actually “tasks”, they won’t show up in My Sites?

    I would like to keep it all together so when an approver clicks on an emailed link, they see the original form plus their task approval underneath – like you have done. But, how do I do that with an InfoPath form and “Collect Data from a User” task from a workflow? Can I do it in an InfoPath View or do I need to do it another way?

    Hopefully this makes sense

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  • I have used your infopath solution for workflows many times, and it works great.
    I have just implemented it for a CAR submittal form.
    I came across a problem, there is a file limitation for attachments.
    Is there a way around this? I am on 365, so the solution that is posted for on premise(increasing the limit in admin) is not available.
    At this point there is no way to get around the large file size as the CAR’s typically have large cad drawings etc.
    Please help!

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  • Hi Laura – thanks for all your great posts. I have Outlook 2013 on my pc and 2010 on the remote server. The same task notification will open from “Open this task” in 2013 and not in 2010… Why would that be?

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  • Kelly,
    I like to avoid task actions in workflows whenever I can. You can create a view in a list/library of forms that shows a user what is waiting on them based on the Next Approver column in my solution, but no these are not tasks. Just in my experience, tasks have been more trouble than they’re worth.

    Laurie,
    I think that Microsoft has actually just recently increased or removed file size limitations in O365.

    Sidney,
    I don’t know why it’s acting like that, but I like to put in a hyperlink to open the task in that notification email, so the end user doesn’t have to rely on the “open this task” button functioning correctly.

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  • Hi Laura, I followed the steps mentioned in your book “Using Microsoft InfoPath 2010 with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Step by Step” chapter 11, it looks good, the issue I am having is that the workflow is sending multiple emails instead of just one, any ideas why would it send 10 emails instead of 1 on the email step.

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