Design a form in InfoPath 2007 that works with InfoPath 2003

Author: mety Nagm Labels::



Scenarios for designing form templates that are compatible with InfoPath 2003


Office InfoPath 2007 form templates that also work in InfoPath 2003 are said to be backward compatible. You must consider backward compatibility and what it means to your form template in the following scenarios:
When you open an existing InfoPath 2003 form template When you open an InfoPath 2003 form template in Office InfoPath 2007 design mode, InfoPath detects that the form template was originally designed in InfoPath 2003 and automatically changes the file format in the Save As dialog box to reflect that fact.
InfoPath 2003 Form Template selected in Save as type list
Later, if you add a feature to your form template that works only in Office InfoPath 2007, InfoPath notifies you that the feature is not supported in InfoPath 2003. You must remove the unsupported feature before you save or publish your form template.
When you design a new form template that must also work in InfoPath 2003 When you design a new form template in Office InfoPath 2007, the form template is not automatically compatible with InfoPath 2003. To make it compatible, you must save the form template in InfoPath 2003 format. If InfoPath detects unsupported features when you change the format, such as the presence of Information Rights Management (IRM), you must remove those features before you can successfully save or publish the form template. In some cases, you can leave unsupported features in your form template, but the unsupported features may not work as expected in InfoPath 2003.

Save an Office InfoPath 2007 form template in InfoPath 2003 format

If InfoPath 2003 users try to open a form that is based on an Office InfoPath 2007 form template, they see an error message, and the form fails to open. To make a form template backward compatible, meaning that users can open forms that are based on that form template in InfoPath 2003, you must change the Save as type option in the Save As dialog box, as described in the following procedure:
  1. Open the form template that you want to save in InfoPath 2003 format.
  2. On the File menu, click Save As.
  3. In the Save as type list, click InfoPath 2003 Form Template.
  4. Click Save. InfoPath checks your form template for controls and features that aren't supported in InfoPath 2003 and notifies you if any unsupported controls or features are found.
    To fix compatibility problems, you must open the Design Checker task pane, review the problems there, and fix any blocking issues.
    1. To open the Design Checker task pane, click Design Checker on the Tools menu.
    2. In the Design Checker task pane, click Refresh, and take note of any errors and messages that appear.
      The following table describes the difference between errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane.
      IconTypeDescription
      Icon imageErrorThe form template will not function correctly. You should fix the errors before you publish the form template.
      Icon imageMessageThe 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.
    3. Under Backward Compatibility, click the error or message text to view an explanation of the problem and suggestions about how to fix it.
    4. Make any necessary changes to your form template.
    5. In the Design Checker task pane, click Refresh. Make sure that your form template is free of problems, and then save or publish it.


Show backward-compatibility errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane

Most Office InfoPath 2007 form templates don't need to be compatible with InfoPath 2003. Therefore, Office InfoPath 2007 automatically hides backward-compatibility errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane.
You see errors and messages by default only in the following situations:
  • You open an InfoPath 2003 form template in Office InfoPath 2007 design mode.
  • You select InfoPath 2003 Form Template in the Save as type list in the Save or Save As dialog box.

In all other circumstances, you must manually choose to show backward-compatibility errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane, as described in the following procedure.

Show backward-compatibility errors and messages

  1. To open the Design Checker task pane, click Design Checker on the Tools menu.
  2. In the Design Checker task pane, click Change compatibility settings.
  3. Select the Show report on compatibility with InfoPath 2003 check box, and then click OK.
  4. In the Design Checker task pane, click Refresh, and then review any errors or messages that appear under Backward Compatibility.

Set InfoPath 2003 as the default format when you save files

You can configure Office InfoPath 2007 to automatically save all of the new form templates that you design in InfoPath 2003 format.
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Design tab.
  3. Under Save, in the Save InfoPath forms as list, click InfoPath 2003 Form Template.
    Any form templates that you create from this point forward will be saved in InfoPath 2003 format. Existing form templates will retain their original format.

Office InfoPath 2007 features that are unavailable in InfoPath 2003

Most Office InfoPath 2007 features also work in InfoPath 2003. This makes it easy for you to create Office InfoPath 2007 form templates that can be opened by users who are running InfoPath 2003. However, there are a small number of Office InfoPath 2007 features that don't work as expected — or that don't work at all — in InfoPath 2003. These features generate errors or messages in an Office InfoPath 2007 form template that is designed to work with InfoPath 2003.
The following table describes the difference between errors and messages in the Design Checker task pane.
IconTypeDescription
Icon imageErrorThe form template will not function correctly. You should fix the errors before you publish the form template.
Icon imageMessageThe 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 features that are not supported in InfoPath 2003.
Office InfoPath 2007 featureType of problemDetails
Information Rights Management (IRM)Icon imageInformation Rights Management (IRM) features are not supported in InfoPath 2003. Before saving your Office InfoPath 2007 form template in InfoPath 2003 format, you must disable rights management for the form template in the Permission dialog box. To open the Permission dialog box, click Manage Credentials on the File menu.
Data connection librariesIcon imageIf a data connection (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.) in your form template links to a data connection library (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 a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 site, you must remove that data connection from your form template, or at least remove references to the data connection library from the data connection. To access data connections in your form template, click Data Connections on the Tools menu.
The addDays, addSeconds, and userName functionsIcon imageThe addDays, addSeconds, and userName functions are not supported in InfoPath 2003. These functions sometimes appear in XPath (XML Path Language (XPath): A language used to address parts of an XML document. XPath also provides basic facilities for manipulation of strings, numbers, and Booleans.) expressions and may occur as part of a formula. Before saving an Office InfoPath 2007 form template in InfoPath 2003 format, you must remove any references to these functions.
The ability to submit data to a hosting environmentIcon imageIn InfoPath 2003, you cannot submit data to a hosting environment (hosting environment: A Web or desktop application, such as a Windows Forms application, into which an InfoPath form is embedded.), such as a Microsoft ASP.NET page. You must delete the data connection that does so before you publish or save your form template in InfoPath 2003 format.
The Office InfoPath 2007 object modelIcon imageThe Office InfoPath 2007 object model provides improved support for managed code. This new object model is not supported in InfoPath 2003. If you used the Office InfoPath 2007 object model to write code for your Office InfoPath 2007 form template, but you have since decided to make that form template compatible with InfoPath 2003, you must remove the code or rewrite it by using the InfoPath 2003 object model.
Certain form code languagesIcon imageIf you added Microsoft Visual Basic or Microsoft Visual C# managed code to your form template by means of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications (VSTA) (Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Applications (VSTA): A managed-code programming environment that is used to create, edit, and debug Visual Basic or Visual C# code included in an InfoPath form template.) or Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office system (InfoPath 2007 Beta support), you must either remove that code or rewrite it to work with InfoPath 2003. If you want to remove the code, click Remove Code in the Form Options dialog box (Programming section). You may also need to change the form code language to one that is supported in InfoPath 2003.
Data connections that receive filtered data from a SharePoint library or listIcon imageCertain data connection options are not supported in InfoPath 2003, including the ability to receive filtered data from columns in a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services library or list. Before you save or publish your form template in InfoPath 2003 format, open the Data Connection Wizard, select the data connection you want to modify, and then, on the page where you select a Windows SharePoint Services list or library, clear the Include data for the active form only check box.
The xdEnvironment::IsMobile and xdEnvironment::IsBrowser functionsIcon imageThe xdEnvironment::IsMobile and xdEnvironment::IsBrowser functions are not supported in InfoPath 2003. These functions often appear in XPath expressions and may occur as part of a rule (rule: A condition or action, or a set of conditions or actions, that automatically performs tasks based on events and values in the form.) or as part of a control's 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.) or conditional formatting (conditional formatting: The process of changing the appearance of a control, including its visibility and read-write state, based on values entered into the form.). Before saving a form template in InfoPath 2003 format, you must remove the call to the unsupported function from the XPath expression.
Combo box controlIcon imageIn forms based on InfoPath 2003 form templates, a combo box (combo box control: A control that combines a text box and a list box, allowing users to either type an entry or choose one from the list.) appears as a drop-down list box. Moreover, if you open the form template in InfoPath 2003 design mode, you won't be able to change anything in the view (view: A form-specific display setting that can be saved with a form template and applied to form data when the form is being filled out. Users can switch between views to choose the amount of data shown in the form.) that contains the combo box.
Multiple-selection list box controlIcon imageIn forms based on InfoPath 2003 form templates, a multiple-selection list box (multiple-selection list box: A control that allows users to choose one or more items from a list of possibilities. Users can specify items by selecting check boxes or by adding their own items to the list.) appears as a bulleted list. Moreover, if you open the form template in InfoPath 2003 design mode, you won't be able to change anything in the view that contains the multiple-selection list box.
Printing form data in headers and footersIcon imageData from a form based on an Office InfoPath 2007 form template will not appear in the printed header or footer when the form is printed. Instead, an XPath expression is printed. Because this may confuse your users, you may want to remove the header or footer before saving the Office InfoPath 2007 form template in InfoPath 2003 format.
Offline data sourceIcon imageWhen you enable offline data sources (offline data source: A secondary data source that is accessible to users who fill out forms offline. When a user is online, data from the data source is stored on the user's computer so that it can appear in controls when the form is offline.) for your Office InfoPath 2007 form template, users who are filling out your form offline can continue to access a cached (cache: A special memory subsystem in which frequently used data values, such as files that are made available for use offline, are duplicated for quick access. Changes made to the cached copy of a file are not reflected in the source copy of the file.) version of the data in these data sources. You can save and publish your Office InfoPath 2007 form template in InfoPath 2003 format with offline data source settings enabled. However, InfoPath 2003 ignores these settings when users open and fill out the form. As a result, users who are working offline may not be able to open the form template.

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