Service pack features in InfoPath 2003

Applies to
Microsoft Office InfoPath™ 2003 Service Pack 1 or later

The Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 Service Pack contains updates and performance improvements for the Microsoft Office System. In addition, the service pack offers a number of features that are specific to InfoPath and that make it easier to design, publish, and fill out forms. This article summarizes those feature enhancements.

 Note   Service pack features are enabled by default when you install the service pack, although you can choose to turn them off. For more information about the service pack, see the links in the See Also box at the top of this article.

Improved form controls

The service pack includes more controls (control: A graphical user interface object, such as a text box, check box, scroll bar, or command button, that lets users control the program. You use controls to display data or choices, perform an action, or make the user interface easier to read.) for working with data, as well as improvements to existing controls. The following list describes some of these improvements and additions:

  • Master/Detail control    When a user selects an item in a master control, related information about that item appears in a detail control. This enables users to efficiently work with large amounts of data. For example, if your form is connected to a database of sales information, you might use a master control to display customer records and a detail control to display the orders associated with each customer.
  • File attachment control    Using this control, users can attach files to a form they are filling out.
  • Custom control    Form designers can now insert controls that are based on Microsoft ActiveX (ActiveX: A set of technologies that enables software components to interact with one another in a networked environment, regardless of the language in which the components were created.) technologies, such as a Microsoft Windows® slider control or a custom control designed specifically for InfoPath.
  • Choice group    By using this control, users can replace one option with another option when they are filling out a form. For example, users can replace a default shipping address with an alternate address.
  • Scrolling region    This control enables users to scroll through text inside a fixed-width area on their form. Scrolling regions are a good space-saving option for forms that display a lot of data.
  • Repeating recursive section    This control can be inserted within itself, is bound to nested reference fields (reference field: A field that is associated with another field so that their properties always match. If the properties in one field are changed, the properties in the other field are updated automatically.), and repeats. This is useful when you want to create hierarchical content, such as an organization chart or outline.
  • Vertical label    By using this control, you can add text to your form that appears at a 90-degree angle, such as a vertical column heading.
  • Control enhancements    In addition to providing more controls, the service pack improves the way you work with existing controls. Among other things, you can now align the text in a control with the surrounding text, limit characters or enable paragraph breaks in text boxes, edit multiple controls simultaneously, and use values from the form to populate list boxes.

More ways to work with data

The service pack adds or enhances support for the following InfoPath features:

Improved support for data connections

By connecting your form to an external 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.), such as a database of employee information, you can include sophisticated functionality in your forms, including dynamic list boxes and offline data stores. The service pack offers the following new types of data connections and improvements to existing data connections:

Enhanced options for layout and printing

If you install the service pack, you can take advantage of improved layout, formatting, and printing options. The following list outlines some of these improvements:

  • Font and paragraph formatting    You can now type values into the Font Size box, and define spacing and indentation options for paragraphs.
  • Headers and footers    The service pack improves the way you add and format headers and footers. For example, you can now specify a particular font to use for header or footer text.
  • Printing    When designing a form, you can define additional printing options for your users, including the number of copies, collation, print range, printer name, page margins, paper size, paper source, and page breaks. You can also display a page width guide that enables you to see whether the contents of a form will fit on a printed page. If you're familiar with Extensible Markup Language (XML) (Extensible Markup Language (XML): A condensed form of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) that enables developers to create customized tags that offer flexibility in organizing and presenting information.), you can further control the way your forms print by designing and designating print views for use in Microsoft Office Word 2003.
  • Additional formatting tools    InfoPath now includes the Format Painter tool, so that you can quickly copy the formatting from text and other controls. You can also use the Symbol dialog box to insert symbols or the table drawing tool to draw a complex table—for example, one that contains cells of different heights or a varying number of columns per row.

Better integration with existing business processes

The act of filling out a form is often one step in a larger business process that involves other tools, processes, or people. The service pack enhances support for forms that are part of a business process by including or improving the following features:

More feature enhancements

The service pack also includes support for the following features:

  • Managed code support    Developers can now install the new Microsoft Office InfoPath™ 2003 Toolkit for Visual Studio® .NET. The toolkit provides integration features and documentation so that you can use Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 to create, debug, and build InfoPath forms that use Microsoft Visual C#® or Microsoft Visual Basic® .NET managed code. To download the toolkit, refer to the See Also box at the top of this article.
  • Tablet PC support    If you use a Tablet PC, you can write directly in fields on a form and InfoPath will automatically transform the ink into typed text. Depending on the design of your form, you can also add handwritten notes or drawings to certain fields, and then save the ink along with your form. If you design forms for Tablet PC users, you can now specify background pictures for ink picture controls.
  • Publishing options    After designing your form, you can send it to others as an attachment in a Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 e-mail message. In addition, you can now design and publish forms in design mode at the Full Trust security level.
  • Form management    The new Fill Out a Form dialog box appears whenever you open InfoPath. You can use the options in this dialog box to easily organize, locate, open, and update your forms. This dialog box is optional; if you don't like it, you can turn it off.
  • Feature access    You can prevent users from gaining access to certain toolbar buttons and menu commands on a form, including the Save, Save As, Export to, and Print options. This can be useful if you want users to only be able to submit a form.
  • Enhanced language support    You can now create and edit forms that contain text in Indic, South Asian, and right-to-left (right-to-left: Refers to keyboard settings, document views, user interface objects, and the direction in which text is displayed. Arabic and Hebrew are right-to-left languages.) languages.
Applies to:
InfoPath 2003