Scenarios for using template parts

This article provides scenarios for using template parts in your own form templates. Although you may have different business needs than the human resource and sales-based needs described in this article, you can apply the underlying scenario principles to your own situation.

 Note   This article does not describe how to design and distribute template parts. Find links to more information about the design and distribution of template parts in the See Also section.

In this article


Benefits of using template parts

Template parts are reusable portions of a form template. They typically include controls, a data source (data source: The collection of fields and groups that define and store the data for an InfoPath form. Controls in the form are bound to the fields and groups in the data source.), and features such as data connections (data connection: The connection between an InfoPath form and an external data source, such as a database, Web service, SharePoint library, or XML file. Data connections are used to query and submit data.) or data validation (data validation: The process of testing the accuracy of data; a set of rules you can apply to a control to specify the type and range of data that users can enter.). Template parts can be useful in many situations. However, they are particularly beneficial when you have large numbers of form templates that contain common controls and design components. Instead of redesigning a standard section in individual form templates, you can design just one template part and reuse it in multiple form templates.

The following image shows a single Employee Information template part, which is reused in different business forms throughout an organization.

Template part appearing in multiple forms

There is much to be gained by standardizing form sections, so that all form designers are using identical template parts. By using template parts, you can make it easier to:

  • Design form templates    If you offer form designers a library of template parts, they can reuse common design elements in a variety of form templates. By using a library of template parts, form designers can save time because they do not have to design the same sections for each individual form. For example, many business forms contain a series of text boxes for an employee name, job title, e-mail address, and other relevant contact information. You can design this section once, using a template part, add data validation or other business logic features to the specific controls, and then distribute the template part to form designers. After the form designers add the template part to the Controls task pane, they can reuse the Contact Information section wherever they need to, and they don't need to redesign the Contact Information section each time that they need to use it.
  • Fill out forms    Consistency is good for the people who fill out forms, too. It helps them complete forms more quickly, because no matter which form the user is working with, common fields use the same labeling, are organized consistently, and respond to data input in an expected way.
  • Reuse form data    Standardization is critical if form data is submitted to corporate-wide systems, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, which require consistent field names and data types. By using template parts, you can help ensure that the data in identical sections of a form adheres to a common model for data exchange.

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Scenario 1: Human resources

The human resources (HR) department for a large insurance agency is responsible for designing and maintaining a series of form templates that are related to recruiting and staffing, providing benefits, paying employees, and ensuring compliance to regulations. Because many of these form templates share common sections, such as employee information and employee signature sections, it makes sense for HR department personnel to work with developers in the information technology (IT) department to develop a library of commonly used template parts. Form designers within the company can access this library of template parts from the Controls task pane.

Template parts appearing in Controls task pane

As an example, for healthcare reimbursement forms, employees in a human resources department may determine that the following template parts are necessary.

Template part Possible fields Used in
Logo header None Most forms
Employee information section Employee first, middle, and last name; Date of birth; Mailing address; Home telephone number; Office telephone number; Job title; Department name Most forms
Employee information section Employee first, middle, and last name; Mailing address; Plan ID number; Group number Medical claim forms
Patient information section Patient first, middle, and last name; Date of birth; Mailing address; Gender; Relationship to employee Medical claim forms
Provider information section Provider first, middle, and last name; Mailing address; Telephone number Medical claim forms
Claim information section Date of service; Total payment submitted Medical claim forms
Employee signature section Employee signature; Date Medical claim forms
Employee ID section Employee ID; Employee first, middle, and last name; E-mail address, Telephone number; Hire date; Job ID; Salary; commission; manager; department Medical claim forms

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Scenario 2: Sales

The sales department for a pharmaceutical company plans to design a series of InfoPath form templates that will be used to collect information about product orders and customers. The company currently uses an XML Schema (XML Schema: A formal specification, written in XML, that defines the structure of an XML document, including element names and rich data types, which elements can appear in combination, and which attributes are available for each element.) to help standardize the collection of business data. This schema is used primarily by the marketing, sales, and customer service departments, and it defines the data that is related to customers, products, and orders.

In InfoPath, form designers can create template parts that are based on existing schemas by selecting the XML or Schema option in the Design a Form Template dialog box.

Designing a template part that is based on an existing XML Schema

Once the form designer has created the template part, they can insert controls on the template part that are bound to appropriate fields from the schema. Designers can specify data validation settings, rules (rule: A condition or action, or a set of conditions or actions, that automatically performs tasks based on events and values in the form.), calculated default values, and data connections for controls on the template part. When they've finished designing the template part, they can save it and announce its availability to other form designers in the organization, who can then use the template part in their own form templates.

As an example, employees in the sales department may determine that the following template parts are necessary.

Template part Possible fields Used in
Customer section Customer ID; Customer name; Customer type; Mailing address; City; State/province; ZIP/Postal Code; Country/region; E-mail address; Telephone number Customer interaction forms; information request forms; order forms; call tracking forms; demo request; service request
Order header Department; Distribution center; Sales organization Customer interaction forms; information request forms; order forms; call tracking forms; demo request; service request
Order status section Order date; Ship date; E-mail address Order forms; invoice forms
Delivery status section Patient name; Relationship to employee; Birth date Order forms; invoice forms
Payment information section Payment type; Payment date; Payment notes Order forms; invoice forms
Order details section Product ID; Quantity; Unit cost; Date received; Discount; Total price; Status Order forms; invoice forms
Shipping address section Shipping name; Shipping address; City; State/province; ZIP/Postal Code; Country/region Order forms; invoice forms
Billing address section Billing name; Billing address; City; State/province; ZIP/Postal Code; Country/region Order forms; invoice forms
Sales agent section Agent name; Start date; End date; Job department Order forms; invoice forms
Commission section Sales organization; Sales person; Commission quantity; Commission amount; Order amount; Order quantity; Percent quantity Order forms; invoice forms

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Applies to:
InfoPath 2007