Top SharePoint Competition – SharePoint & InfoPath: No-Code for dependent forms in SharePoint lists

Did you ever offer a solution for a customer and first
thought of developing everything from scratch? It doesn’t matter if
you’re a developer, a consultant or whatever. You should be lazy,
you should use what has already been developed and tested, you
should be smart! If you’re smart you just try to use standards
& standard features as far as it will go and you try to offer a
solution which fits the needs of your customer. But many people
don’t know how far they can go with SharePoint. SharePoint has huge
capabilities to offer solutions based on its out-of-the-box
features which are almost in every company available. In such a
scenario we surprised a customer who thought he knows that his
process is not manageable with the standard features of SharePoint
and he was ready to pay for development of his tool based on
SharePoint. As you know a custom solution which needs to be
deployed on a big SharePoint farm needs

– to be

– a user

– a functional

– a testing

– needs a
higher budget

and of course you have to check the performance. What happens if
you want to upgrade to SharePoint 2013? Would it still work? Do you
need to redevelop it? To cut a long story short let me only
describe one enabler for surprising the customer. One of the most
important requests to this solution was the usage of dependent
forms in a SharePoint list, so called cascading dropdown lists. In
the upcoming lines you’ll get a step by step explanation how we did
it by using the standard features of SharePoint. I’d like to
highlight a post written by Marcel Meth which helped us (
Link to article
). Let’s starting with a small imaginary story.
You like to have a SharePoint list in which you can request a room
for a meeting. You use therefore a nice form which has entry forms
for title, date, location, room no. and the amount of attendees.
The choice of the room no. should be dependent on what location you

Step 1: Create a list for room numbers and

– Create a new list and
call it “rooms”

– Create a new column for the
city and call the title column “Room”

– Create some entries for this

SharePoint & InfoPath


Step 2: Create your RoomRequestor list

Well, the first list is ready. Now, let’s using some other
features of SharePoint Enterprise Edition.

1. Create a custom list and call it “RoomRequestor”. Go to the
ribbon tab “list” and choose “Customize Form”

SharePoint & InfoPath

Now the InfoPath 2010 Client opens the form for this list.

2. Add a receive Connection to the list “Rooms”

1.Click on Manage Data Connections…

2.Click on Add

3.Click on Receive data and on Next

4.Click SharePoint Library or list and then
on Next

5.Provide the url of the “Rooms” list and
click on Next

6.Choose the “Rooms” list and click on

7.Check off “Rooms” and “City” and click on

8.Always click on Next till you finished

Screenshot-Wall for these steps:

SharePoint & InfoPath4





As you can see, we didn’t use source code.

1.Create the fields on the form

1.A date-field for the date

2.A dropdown-list for

3.A dropdown-list for

4.A Textfield for the sum of

Now the really interesting part begins. We are going to develop
the cascading dropdown-lists. At first we have to fill the
dropdown-list for the city.

Step 3: Creating the dropdown-lists with

  Click on the form field for “city” and
go to properties. Choose at List Box Choices the “Get choices from
external data source” and use your data connection “Rooms” we
created earlier this morning. You set as values and display name
the column City.


After Clicking on OK, you can see already the first results.


Well, let’s go on filling the second dropdown-list. Therefore
you should reopen the entry form in the InfoPath Designer by using
the button “Customize Form”. Now we are going to set the field
“rooms” – open the properties. Just do the following:

1.Choose “Get Choices from an external data

2.Pick the “Rooms” list as data source

3.Click on the button next to the entries


4.Click then on Filter Data

We are now filtering the data for the values chosen from form
field city.



1. Add filter



2. After this select
“Field or Group…” and select the primary data source…


In the primary data source you choose the data field “City”. Why?
You only want to show the rooms of the selected city, there you set
the filter.


4.Now you have to click OK or Next to
close all the opened windows.

Now the second dropdown-list is filled only with rooms which are
located in the selected city from the first dropdown-list. We have
to do one more step. This step makes the form better, so please
read on.

Step 4: Create a rule for the City-field

You create this rule because you want to have a really nice
form. If you don’t set the rule, the dropdown field for “Room” will
not update in that moment in which you change the city. But we
would like to present a solution which meets the business needs and
the user expectation.

1.Mark the field “City”

2.Click on “Manage Rules” and then add
a new rule

The rule takes action if the field is changed

3. Click on Add Action and choose
to change the value of a field

4. Now you choose the field “Room”
and leave value empty.



What do you think what now happens? Exactly, if you change the
city, the room field gets empty.

Step 5: Look at your solution and thank God it’s cool
to work with SharePoint



We did not use any code and the solution works with the standard
features of SharePoint 2010. You just click, use some features and
you’re ready. I like these simple and smart solutions which are
possible with SharePoint and InfoPath 2010.


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