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Populating InfoPath 2010 Forms with External Data for SharePoint 2010

Seamlessly populating InfoPath 2010 forms with data copied from external sources, like databases, is a popular requirement. The popularity of this approach to planning forms makes a lot of sense when one considers the amount of data that is likely already stored in databases as the result of day to day business activity of departments within an organization. As well, forms actually populated with line of business data can provide organizational management with important information about operating costs and, likely, the specific employees responsible for them.

SharePoint-Videos dot com offers a video tutorial on this topic, Fetch data from Databases and SharePoint Lists into InfoPath form. This video is intended for an audience of administrators, database administrators, developers, and architects. Access to an external SQL Server database is required in order to repeat the steps taken in the video, as well, viewers should be comfortable accessing database tables from the SQL Server Management Studio tool. A prior familiarity with InfoPath (either 2007 or 2003) will be helpful as the form used in the example will have to be configured for character patterns. Incidentally, earlier videos in this series included form examples already configured in this manner; therefore, viewers of the entire series of video tutorials on InfoPath 2010 should be comfortable with this presentation.

It should be noted that the procedures demonstrated by our video course author, Asif Rehmani are taken with SQL Server 2008 R2, which is, in fact, the only type of database that will work with an InfoPath 2010 form as a method of auto populating data. Viewers of this video who are considering implementing these procedures should keep this limitation in mind.

Though not presented in this video, it is worth noting that the database table data is copied into the form as column data, meaning information that can be used from a meta data, taxonomy and the term store perspective to enhance the usefulness of SharePoint search, not to mention applications for Business Intelligence (BI) gathering.

By including an example of populating this InfoPath 2010 form with data from a SharePoint list, we demonstrate how business policies can be exercised to limit imported data for forms to only approved information. In our example, the SharePoint list is depicted as a Human Resources list of approved items for purchasing and/or employee reimbursement. By using only items included on this approved items list in the sample expense form, management gains assurance that employees are not reimbursed for unauthorized purchases.

If you would like to further explore how InfoPath 2010 forms can be utilized for your business objectives, then we welcome an opportunity to speak with you. Please contact us by telephone at +1 (630) 786-7026. Alternatively, you can contact us by email with any questions you may have about this video, the InfoPath 2010 set, and possible applications for individual as well as organizational-level viewing and use.

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