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Converting Formotus mobile forms to PDF using the PDF Converter for SharePoint

Posted at: 3:42 PM on 15 February 2016 by Muhimbi

Formotus-logo-sq-tag-640One of the more popular uses of the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint Online is the ability to convert InfoPath and Forms Services forms to PDF, something that is particularly topical since Microsoft announced that InfoPath 2013 has reached its end-of-life and will not be developed further.

Shortly after making the original announcement, in a particularly packed session at the 2014 SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft advised customers to switch to third party products as a replacement for InfoPath. One of the third parties Microsoft recommended is the topic of today’s post, Formotus.

 

The main take away as far as Formotus is concerned is that it is developed by some of the original members of Microsoft’s InfoPath team and that it is compatible with InfoPath making it relatively easy to migrate. As a result Muhimbi’s range of PDF Conversion products can convert forms generated with Formotus without problem. As far as our software is concerned all it sees is InfoPath forms. No need to make any changes, you can start using it immediately, something that quite a few of our customers have already started doing.

To learn more about Formotus including mobile and offline use, integration with mobile device cameras, GPS and other sensors, see the Features page on the Formotus website.

Although Formotus is compatible with InfoPath, it provides a number of facilities that are not part of the original InfoPath platform. The majority of these facilities are supported by the Muhimbi PDF Converter with a few small exceptions. A full list can be found below:

 

Supported

  • Client independent: Forms can be converted regardless of the source platform (iOS, Android, Windows, Web)
  • Dynamic view selection: Views intended for data entry are rarely suitable for printing and PDF Conversion. Muhimbi’s standard view selection facilities are fully supported:
  • Attachments: Any attachments present on the views that are being converted can automatically be converted and attached to the generated PDF. Although at the time of writing Formotus does not yet support file attachments.
  • Conversion of photos: A key reason to implement Formotus is to use it as a mobile data capture solution. It is not unusual for these scenarios to include the capturing of photos, which are converted in high resolution by our software.
  • Ink Control: Capture signatures and diagrams on a background image chosen by the form designer.
  • Annotation Control: Camera meets ink - Capture handwriting on a snapped photo or on an image inserted by the mobile user.
  • Location Control: Capture the location of the mobile device using GPS or other available methods.
  • Photo Location Control: Camera Control augmented with location and compass direction info.
  • Annotation Location Control: Annotation Control augmented with location and compass direction info.
  • Map Control: Embed a map of the current location into the form for submission.
  • Device Info Control: Capture identifying information about the mobile device such as phone number and OS.
  • Barcode Control: Read barcodes and QF codes into a form from the device's camera.
  • Form Version Control: Display the version number of the underlying InfoPath form template.
  • Device Info Control: Capture identifying information about the mobile device such as phone number and OS.
  • Copy meta-data: Similar to InfoPath, Formotus’ fields can be promoted to the SharePoint library. The Muhimbi PDF Converter can automatically copy these fields to the generated PDF file.

 

Not supported (on some platforms)

Formotus runs on all SharePoint versions including SharePoint Online, which has very clear security boundaries. As a result any functionality that relies on data that is not stored inside the InfoPath XML file cannot be accessed during conversion, including:

  • External Data connections
  • Custom Code
  • Rules
  • SharePoint List Connector Control: Update a SharePoint list from a repeating table in a form.
  • SharePoint Picture Control: Display a picture linked from a SharePoint picture library.
  • Excel Chart Control: Display a chart generated by Excel Services on SharePoint.

 
For on-premise deployments this behavior can be changed as those systems typically share the same security boundaries. For details see this Knowledge base article.

 

To summarize, as far as Muhimbi’s range of PDF Conversion products is concerned, Formotus is a drop-in replacement for InfoPath with some cool additional features. Getting started is easy, install the Muhimbi PDF Converter App from the SharePoint App Store (and optional workflow actions), create a free Formotus account and install a client on your Mobile Device (iOS, Android, Windows).

Once you are able to post forms to SharePoint Online you can add a basic workflow to automatically convert a form to PDF, watermark and secure it. For details see this brief video tutorial.

 

Any questions or feedback? Leave a comment below or contact our friendly support desk, we love to help.

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