Controlling which views to export to PDF format in InfoPath

Posted at: 15:08 on 20 August 2010 by Muhimbi


Next up in our series about new features in the PDF Converter for SharePoint 4.0 and PDF Converter API and Server Platform, we’ll showcase some of the new Export to PDF View Selection capabilities of our InfoPath converter.

Being able to select which views to export is very useful as quite often different views are used for exporting a form to PDF. Sometimes using the Print View is good enough, but other times you need to export a different view or multiple views to PDF format. There are even occasions where different views are exported depending on the state of the data entered in the form.

As always, the best way to illustrate this is by example.


Use a special view for exporting to PDF

In this scenario we have an Employee Review form with the following 3 views:

  1. Data entry view: A view used for populating data using the InfoPath client or Forms Services. This is the default view.
  2. Print View: A special view that is optimised for printing to a network laser printer. This is specified as View 1’s Print View.
  3. PDF Export view: A separate view that is used to export the InfoPath form to PDF format as it contains some information that should only show up in exported PDF files.

As View 1 is the default view and View 2 is the Print View for View 1, under normal circumstance the 2nd view is used for exporting to PDF. However, we want to use View 3 for this purpose. We can achieve this by starting the name of View 3 with “_MuhimbiView”. The Muhimbi PDF Converter will automatically detect all views that start with this name, export them all and merge them together into a single PDF file. Naturally these views can be hidden from the end user by marking them as such.

This is a great solution if you know beforehand that you will always be exporting the same view(s) to PDF format.


Determine at runtime which views to export

The previous solution, using view names that start with “_MuhimbiView”, works great. However, sometimes you need to export a different view depending on the state of the data.

For example, our Expense Claim form consists of the following Views:

  1. Data Entry View 1: Used by the employee to report expenses.
  2. Data Entry View 2: Used by the manager to add comments and additional information.
  3. PDF Export View 1: The view that is used to export the form to PDF format before the manager has reviewed the form.
  4. PDF Export View 2: The view that is used to export the form to PDF format after the manager has reviewed the form.


OK, so how are we going to deal with this? Well, here comes the Muhimbi PDF Converter to the rescue! By adding a (hidden) text box named “_MuhimbiViews” (case sensitive and using the default ‘my’ namespace) to any of the views and populating it with the name of one or more comma separated view names, the Muhimbi PDF Converter will automatically pick up these names and export them to PDF format. If multiple views are specified then they are automatically concatenated together.

In addition to adding the “_MuhimbiViews” text field to the form, all the developer of the form needs to do is to add a little bit of logic to the Submit event of the 2 data entry views that specify the correct view name to export in the “_MuhimbiViews” field.

For details about how to dynamically specify which views to convert from your workflow see this post.


View prioritisation rules

To determine which view or views to export, the Muhimbi PDF Converter uses the following prioritisation rules:

  1. Regardless of how a view or views are selected for export, if the selected view has a Print View specified than that view is given priority.
  2. Version 4.1 and up: When using the web services interface, any ConversionViews specified in the ConverterSpecificSettings property will be converted. If this property is not set then the following rules will be used to determine which views to convert to PDF. A Web Services example can be found here.
  3. If a field named “_MuhimbiViews” is found anywhere in the InfoPath form then the content of this field is used to determine which views to export.
  4. If the previous field does not exist, is empty or the specified view name does not exist then the converter looks at all view names that start with “_MuhimbiView”.
  5. If none of the previous options apply then the view marked as the Default View is exported.


Do not use Muhimbi’s View selection features in combination with InfoPath's 'Print multiple views' facility. The latter is given priority when converting to PDF.

When the final PDF file is assembled then all selected views are included first, followed by any converted attachments.


Rules when converting to formats other than PDF

As of version 6.0, Muhimbi’s PDF Converter can also convert InfoPath forms to MS-Word, Excel and HTML. There are some exceptions to the way View Selection works for these output formats. For details see this post.


In summary, the new version of the PDF Converter adds flexible View selection features to make the life of InfoPath developers easier. As always, upgrades are completely free. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have any questions or contact us to discuss anything related to our products.


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  • Hi, now i'm using trial Muhimbi convert pdf. And this feature is very good for me to select view infopath when convert. I need to test before buy your product. I want to know when this feature will be release.. send info for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 23 August, 2010 13:25  

  • Hi, i'm also using trial Muhimbi convert pdf. This feature would be very handy for me to select view infopath when convert. I need to test before buy your product. I want to know when this feature will be release.. send info for me

    By Anonymous Thomas, At 06 October, 2010 16:58  

  • It will be out in the next few weeks, we are finalising documentation at the moment. Your company already has access tot he beta version.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 06 October, 2010 17:28  

  • I have a Infopath form with ink picture control.
    I am not able to convert to pdf. Rest of the forms work fine.
    Any Idea of this issue.

    By Blogger Atul Verma, At 01 July, 2011 09:52  

  • Hello Atul,

    Please send a copy of your XSN and XML file to for further investigation.


    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 03 July, 2011 15:58  

  • I'm having exactly the same problem with a form with Ink Controls.

    Is there any resolution?

    By Anonymous Stuart Pittwood, At 27 July, 2011 13:07  

  • Hi Stuart,

    Please contact us on as we have a patch available.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 27 July, 2011 13:38  

  • The problem with Ink Controls has been resolved by the customer. It is related to the Ink controls not being deployed by default on Windows Server 2008 R2. Installing the "Ink & Handwriting" Windows Feature, part of the "Desktop Experience" on the server that runs the Muhimbi Conversion Service solves the problem.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 28 July, 2011 11:32  

  • When getting problems with people picker controls then Internet Explorer may be configured to block (or prompt for) all ActiveX controls for the Internet Zone.

    As a solution log in as the account the conversion service runs under (or use a group policy) and make sure the following settings are configured:

    • Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins: Enable
    • Automatic prompting for ActiveX control: Disable

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 07 March, 2012 12:09  

  • when i try to use the hidden text box _MuhimbiViews the service can't find the text box and converts the default view and not the given view from text box. Do you have any idea?

    This is the XPath of my hidden textbox /my:contoso/my:_MuhimbiViews.

    By Blogger Unknown, At 18 October, 2012 14:29  

  • Hi Arash,

    Please send this request to and we'll take it from there.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 18 October, 2012 14:31  

  • Can you provide instructions for the _muhumbi view for InfoPath 2013?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10 November, 2016 20:43  

  • Hi,

    It works the same in all InfoPath versions. If you have any questions then please feel free to drop a line.

    By Blogger Muhimbi, At 11 November, 2016 09:40  

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