InfoPath 2007 features that are unavailable in InfoPath Forms Services

If you have access to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services, you can design a single form template that can be used by two kinds of users — those who have Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 installed on their computers and those who do not have Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 installed on their computers. In the latter case, users fill out forms in a supported Web browser, not in InfoPath. If users have InfoPath installed on their computers, they can open the form in InfoPath and use the full range of form features. Users who fill out the form in a browser have access to a more limited set of features, but these users benefit from being able to use the form even though they do not have InfoPath installed on their computers.

This article lists the InfoPath controls that are supported in browser-compatible form templates (browser-compatible form template: A form template that is designed in InfoPath by using a specific compatibility mode. A browser-compatible form template can be browser-enabled when it is published to a server running InfoPath Forms Services.). It also lists the InfoPath controls and features that cannot be used in browser-compatible form templates.

In this article


Controls that work in both InfoPath and InfoPath Forms Services

The following controls are supported in InfoPath Forms Services and can be used in a browser-compatible form template.

  • Text box
  • Rich text box 1
  • List box
  • Drop-down list box
  • Date picker 2
  • Check box
  • Option button
  • Button
  • Section
  • Optional section
  • Repeating section
  • Repeating table
  • File attachment
  • Hyperlink
  • Expression box

1You cannot enable embedded pictures or specify partial rich-text formatting options for rich text box controls in a browser-compatible form template. Also, the full range of rich text formatting options are available only in supported versions of Internet Explorer. It is possible for users to edit text in a rich text box in any supported browser, but formatting options are unavailable, including changing the text color and applying character formatting.

2Although you can use date pickers in a browser-compatible form template, the calendar icon and pop-up calendar appear only in supported versions of Internet Explorer. In other browsers, the date picker appears as a text box, but the date formatting options are still supported.

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Controls that work only in InfoPath

You can change the compatibility setting for an existing form template at any time during the design process. For example, if you inherited a regular, InfoPath-only form template from a coworker, and you want to convert it to a browser-compatible form template, you can open the form template and change the existing setting. However, an InfoPath-only form template may contain features that are not supported in browser-compatible form templates, such as user roles, custom task panes, or master-detail controls. If this is the case, you may see errors or messages in the Design Checker task pane when you switch the setting.

ShowWhat is the difference between errors and messages?

The following table describes the difference between errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane.

Icon Type Description
Icon image Error The form template will not function correctly. You should fix the errors before you publish the form template.
Icon image Message The form template may not function as expected. Messages are less serious than errors. You can choose whether to address the messages before you publish the form template.

The following table lists the Office InfoPath 2007 controls that are not supported on InfoPath Forms Services.

InfoPath 2007 control Type of problem Details
ActiveX control Icon image

If your form template contains an ActiveX control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Bulleted list control Icon image

If your form template contains a bulleted list control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Choice group Icon image

If your form template contains a choice group, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Choice section Icon image

If your form template contains a choice section, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Combo box Icon image

If your form template contains a combo box, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Horizontal region Icon image

If your form template contains a horizontal region, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Horizontal repeating table Icon image

A horizontal repeating table consists of a repeating section inside a layout table. The repeating section has a Repeat horizontally setting enabled, which simulates a column in a table. If your form template contains a horizontal repeating table, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must either remove the horizontal repeating table from the form template or disable the Repeat horizontally setting for the repeating section before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services.

Ink picture control Icon image

If your form template contains an ink picture control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Master/Detail control Icon image

If your form template contains a master/detail control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

 Tip   To avoid this error, you can design your form template with two views. The first view is considered the "master" view, which lists certain items, and the second view is a "detail" view that contains expanded information that is specific to each item in the master view.

Multiple-selection list box Icon image

If your form template contains a multiple-selection list box, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Numbered list control Icon image

If your form template contains a numbered list control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Picture control Icon image

If your form template contains a picture control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

 Tip   To allow users to insert pictures in a browser-enabled form template, you can host InfoPath as a Microsoft ASP.NET form control on a Web page and write server-side code to insert the picture in the form template's XML as base64 encoded data. Alternatively, you can use a rich text box in your browser-compatible form template that allows users to insert linked images. This option saves the picture data as a hyperlink in the form's underlying XML.

Plain list control Icon image

If your form template contains a plain list control, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Repeating choice group Icon image

If your form template contains a repeating choice group, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Repeating recursive section Icon image

If your form template contains a repeating recursive section, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane.You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Scrolling region Icon image

If your form template contains a scrolling region, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

Vertical label Icon image

Vertical labels are expression boxes with the Display text vertically check box selected in the Expression Box Properties dialog box. This setting is not supported in browser-compatible form templates. If the text in the expression box is set to display vertically, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to the server.

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Features that work in both InfoPath and InfoPath Forms Services

Most InfoPath features are also supported in InfoPath Forms Services, which means that they work whether users are filling out the form in InfoPath or in a supported browser. These features include rules, calculations, data validation, and other business logic features.

However, some features are not implemented or do not have a meaningful representation on the server. Those features are covered in the following section.

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Features that work only in InfoPath

The following table lists the InfoPath features that are not supported in InfoPath Forms Services, and that produce errors or messages in the Design Checker task pane.

ShowWhat is the difference between errors and messages?

The following table describes the difference between errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane.

Icon Type Description
Icon image Error The form template will not function correctly. You should fix the errors before you publish the form template.
Icon image Message The form template may not function as expected. Messages are less serious than errors. You can choose whether to address the messages before you publish the form template.
InfoPath 2007 feature Type of problem Details
Certain rich text box settings Icon image When customizing a rich text box in a browser-compatible form template, you cannot specify partial rich-text formatting options or enable the use of embedded picture inside rich text boxes. You must change these settings before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services. The best way to ensure that you are using compatible settings is to select the Enable browser-compatible settings only check box in the Rich Text Box Properties dialog box.
Controls that repeat horizontally Icon image

A horizontal repeating table consists of a repeating section inside a layout table. The repeating section has a Repeat horizontally setting enabled, which simulates a column in a table. If your form template contains a horizontal repeating table, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane. You must either remove the horizontal repeating table from the form template or disable the Repeat horizontally setting for the repeating section before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services.

Text that displays vertically in an expression box Icon image

Vertical labels are expression boxes with the Display text vertically check box selected in the Expression Box Properties dialog box. This setting is not supported in browser-compatible form templates. If the text in the expression box is set to display vertically, you will see an error in the Design Checker task pane.

Filters Icon image

Filters can be used only in form templates that are designed to be filled out in InfoPath.

 Tip   If you are using a list box and a repeating table in a browser-compatible form template, consider using conditional formatting instead of filters.

Submitting data to a database Icon image In browser-compatible form templates, you cannot design data connections that allow your users to submit data directly to a database. To fix this problem, open the Data Connections dialog box, and then modify the data connection so that the form submits data to a location other than a database. For example, you could choose to submit data to a Web service. Data connections to databases are limited to read-only access to Microsoft SQL Server databases.
Submitting change information to a Web service Icon image You cannot configure the submit data connection in a browser-compatible form template to allow users to submit change information along with their form data to a Web service that accepts a Microsoft ADO.NET DataSet. Change information consists of the modifications that a user makes to the data stored in a database. The database uses a Web service to connect users to the database. ADO.NET can use change information to determine how to update the data in the database.
Restricted security level Icon image A form that is running at the Restricted security level can access only content that is stored in the form itself. To publish the browser-compatible form template, select a less restrictive security setting in the Form Options dialog box.
Alerts (dialog boxes) that display immediately after users enter invalid data in a control Icon image Some data validation features work differently in a Web browser than they do in InfoPath. For example, when you add data validation to a control, you create explanatory text that is displayed when a user enters invalid data into that control. You can choose to display this explanatory text in a ScreenTip, and optionally allow users to display an alert that contains additional information, or you can choose to display the alert automatically when a user enters invalid data. Alerts cannot be displayed automatically for forms that are viewed in a Web browser, but users can still view the ScreenTip and optionally display the alert that contains additional information.
Rules to open a new form Icon image

If a rule includes the Open a new form to fill out action, you must modify or delete that rule in the Rules dialog box before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services.

 Tip   If you want users to be able to easily open another form, you can use a hyperlink to link to the other form instead of using a rule to automatically open the form for users.

Digitally signing an entire form Icon image

Enabling users to digitally sign an entire form is not supported in browser-compatible form templates. Before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services, you must disable this setting option in the Form Options dialog box.

 Tip   If you want users to be able to sign specific sections of a form, add a section to your browser-compatible form template, and then enable digital signatures for it by using options on the Digital Signatures tab in the Section Properties dialog box.

Maintaining style sheet customizations by using a preserve code block (xd:preserve) Icon image Developers or other advanced form designers sometimes use preserve code blocks to take advantage of XSL features that aren't available in InfoPath. Preserve code blocks are not supported in browser-enabled form templates. Before you can publish the form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services, you must delete the preserve code block from the form template.
Specifying relative links to data connection libraries in more than one site collection Icon image In browser-compatible form templates, you cannot include relative paths to data connection libraries (data connection library: A document library, located on a site running Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, that contains a collection of universal data connection (.udcx) and Office data connection (.odc) files.) on different site collections (site collection: A set of Web sites on a virtual server that have the same owner and share administration settings. Each site collection contains a top-level Web site and can contain one or more subsites.). To fix this problem, open the Data Connections dialog box, and then change the data connection so that the relative link points to a single site collection.
Custom code used to save forms Icon image In a browser-compatible form template, you cannot add code that runs when a user saves the form data. If your form template contains this type of code, you must remove the code before you publish the form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services . To remove the code, open the Form Options dialog box, clear the Save using custom code check box, click Edit, and then remove all of the related code.
Custom code used to merge form data Icon image The Merge using custom code feature is not supported in browser-enabled form templates. To publish the browser-compatible form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services, you must remove any code associated with merging forms, and then clear the Merge using custom code check box.
Certain scripting languages or Object Model (OM) versions Icon image If your browser-compatible form template contains code that is written in VBScript, JScript, or the InfoPath 2003-compatible object model provided by members of the Microsoft.Office.Interop.InfoPath.SemiTrust namespace, that code must be upgraded or removed before the form can be published to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services. To upgrade the form code to the latest OM version, edit the form code, and then click OK when you are prompted to upgrade in InfoPath. To remove the form code, open the Form Options dialog box, click Programming, and then click Remove Code.
User roles Icon image User roles can be used only in form templates that are designed to be filled out in InfoPath. If your form template contains user roles, you must remove all of the roles before you publish the form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services. You must also remove any conditions with XPath expressions that reference user roles.
XPath xdXDocument:get-Role function Icon image The XPath function for retrieving the user's current role is not supported in InfoPath Forms Services. The function occurs in the context of a particular XPath expression. To publish the form, modify the expression by removing the reference to the unsupported function.
XPath position and last functions Icon image The position and last functions are not supported in InfoPath Forms Services. These functions generally occur in the context of a particular XPath expression. To publish the form, modify the expression by removing the reference to the unsupported function.
Placeholder text in controls Icon image Placeholder text is text that appears inside a control on a form template. An example of placeholder text is "Click here and type." Although you can leave placeholder text settings enabled for browser-compatible form templates, the placeholder text will not appear in the browser.
Custom task panes Icon image Custom task panes are not supported on InfoPath Forms Services. Although you can leave custom task pane settings enabled in browser-compatible form templates, the custom task pane will not appear when users fill out the form in a browser.
Prompting users to save changes before closing their form Icon image You can create a rule that automatically close a form after a certain condition is met. However, you cannot display a dialog box that prompts the user to save changes before closing the form because this feature is not supported in browser-compatible form templates. You can leave this setting selected, but the dialog box message appears only when users fill out the form in InfoPath.
Rules to display a dialog box Icon image

You can create a rule that uses a Show a dialog message or Show a dialog box expression action to automatically display a dialog box after a certain condition is met. However, these actions are not supported in browser-compatible form templates. The dialog box message only appears when users fill out the form in InfoPath.

 Tip   To achieve a similar effect in browser-enabled forms, consider using conditional formatting to show and hide a section that contains the text that you want the user to see.

Protected views Icon image Advanced form designers occasionally use protected views to take advantage of XSL features that are not directly supported in design mode. Although you can leave protected views enabled in your browser-compatible form template, the view will not appear in the browser.
Word-based print views Icon image Microsoft Office Word print views are not supported by InfoPath Forms Services. Although you can leave settings for a Word print view enabled in your browser-compatible form template, the view will be ignored when users print the form.

The following features are not supported in browser-enabled form templates. However, they don't result in errors or messages in the Design Checker task pane.

InfoPath 2007 feature Details
Tablet PC and ink features

Inking is not supported in browser-enabled form templates. As a result, users cannot use a tablet pen or other device to write or draw in fields on the form.

 Note   If you have an InfoPath-only form template that contains an ink picture control, and you turn that form template into a browser-compatible form template, an error appears in the Design Checker task pane. You must remove the control before you publish your form template to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services.

Caching data from a secondary data source To allow users to fill out forms regardless of whether their computers are connected to a network, or when the form cannot connect to an external data source, you can configure your form template to cache (store) form data on the users' computers. Although you can leave caching settings enabled in a browser-compatible form template, only forms that are filled out in InfoPath can actually cache the data.
Displaying the date and time in the same control

Browser-compatible form templates do not support the display of the date and time in the same control.

 Tip   To achieve a similar effect in browser-enabled forms, consider displaying the date in one control and the time in a different control. Both controls must be bound to the same field in the data source.

Certain date picker settings Although date pickers are available when you design a browser-compatible form template, the calendar icon and pop-up calendar functionality appear only in supported versions of Internet Explorer. In other Web browsers, the date picker appears as a text box where date formatting options are supported.
Undo and Redo Users cannot undo or redo an action while they are filling out a browser-enabled form.
Check spelling Users cannot check spelling in a control in a browser-enabled form, even if the Enable spelling checker check box is selected for the control.
AutoComplete By default, the AutoComplete feature is enabled for text boxes on a form template. When users type the first few characters in a text box on a form, they see a list of possible matches from among entries that they have typed before. Users can then select the entry that they want, or if none of the suggestions matches what they are typing, they can continue typing in the text box. In browsers other than Internet Explorer, the AutoComplete feature is unavailable, even if the Enable AutoComplete check box is selected for the control.
Information Rights Management (IRM) In InfoPath, you can use IRM to restrict permission to a form template and to forms that are based on that form template. In a browser-compatible form template, you cannot use IRM. If you have an InfoPath-only form template that uses restricted permission, and you want to convert it into a browser-compatible form template, you must clear the Restrict Permission to this form template check box in the Permission dialog box before you can successfully change the compatibility setting.
Send to Mail Recipient command In browser-enabled forms, features that are related to integration with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 are unavailable, such as the Send to Mail Recipient command.
File recovery features The AutoRecover and AutoSave features allow users to recover files when InfoPath closes abnormally. In browser-enabled forms, these settings are ignored.
Merge Forms command In an InfoPath form, the Merge Forms command enables users to combine data from multiple forms. The Merge Forms command doesn't appear in a browser-enabled form, even if you selected the option to merge form data in the Form Options dialog box.
Export to Microsoft Office Excel command In an InfoPath form, the Export To Microsoft Office Excel command allows users to export data to a Microsoft Office Excel 2007 workbook. The Export To Microsoft Office Excel command doesn't appear in a browser-enabled form, even if you selected the option to export form data in the Form Options dialog box.
COM Add-Ins InfoPath provides support for creating and registering Component Object Model (COM) add-ins, which are supplemental programs that add custom commands or specialized features to InfoPath. COM add-ins are not available in browser-enabled forms.

 Note   Certain types of server-related problems do not appear in the Design Checker task pane by default. Instead, they are detected only after the browser-compatible form template is published to a server that is running InfoPath Forms Services. For example, during the process of verifying an administrator-approved form template (administrator-approved form template: A browser-compatible form template that has been uploaded by an administrator to a server running InfoPath Forms Services. An administrator-approved form template can include code.), a server farm administrator may receive notifications about design decisions that negatively affect form performance. The administrator sees these notifications in the Central Administration pages for the server, not in InfoPath. However, it is possible to view server-generated errors and messages in design mode by selecting the Verify on server check box in the Design Checker task pane. In this scenario, if the server detects problems with the browser-compatible form template, errors or messages may appear under a Browser Optimization or Browser Compatibility (Verified on server) heading in the Design Checker task pane. For more information about viewing server errors and messages, refer to the See Also box at the top of this article.

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Applies to:
InfoPath 2007