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Filling out the same information on several forms? SharePoint can help

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We’ve all been there before, the first day on the job we spend a few minutes filling out forms during the on-boarding process that usually requires us to provide the same information on several different forms– name, address, Social Security number, etc.  Multiply this by several new employees, and right away the efficiency rate starts to go down.  You can also imagine a loan officer at a bank who has to hand write all this information on loan papers for a borrower.  Needless to say, having the ability to input this information one time and then automatically filling out one or many forms would be a huge time saver.  By using some cleverly structured lists, document libraries and workflows, this can become reality.

The first step in the process is to have all the forms we are utilizing in the same format so the workflow can easily complete them.  For this we are using PDFs.  You’ll need a copy of Acrobat Professional so you can “feature” the PDF, essentially putting text boxes on the PDF and saving it as a template.  Once we have our PDF documents done we can upload them in to a document library where the workflow will use them as a template and automatically populate them with information.

The next step is to create a new list where the metadata is made up of the common form fields on the PDF you want to automate (i.e., First Name, Last Name, Address, etc.).  This is the list that will be presented to the user to complete.  Once an item is saved, a workflow attached to the “create item” event will execute and take the information entered and map it to the correct forms.

The mapping is essentially another list that serves as the instructions for the workflow.  It contains the form template to use, the source column in the list that the user fills out and the destination field on the PDF.  With these three pieces of information, the workflow now knows how to take the information the user provided and put it on the respective form templates.  Once the workflow has completed filling out a PDF, it will then save the result to a final document library that has a view setup to filter the information by the name of the person creating the document.  That way, the user only sees the documents they have created.

By structuring your templates and mapping list in the right way you can now add or remove forms whenever the situation presents itself without touching any of the workflow logic.  Additionally, this can apply to virtually any process that has multiple forms containing the same information.

By:  Steve Pucelik, RSM – Microsoft SharePoint Professionals for Minnesota, Iowa, New Jersey, and New York

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One question

  1. haiyan says:

    There are many Intranets solutions on the market, however if you are looking for a solid SharePoint based Intranet solution, check out SharePoint Implementeds’ product. I think it’s the best solution out for the price. They seem to have put a lot of thought into usability and filling in gaps that you would not know exsist in sharepoint until you start your implementation.

    They offer a turnkey solution which provides a custom Home Site, Department Sites and Project Sites, installation, configuration and training all under $10,000 with source code.

    One thing that I would love to see that they dont have now is a hosted solution

    You can get more details atThere are many Intranets solutions on the market, however if you are looking for a solid SharePoint based Intranet solution, check out SharePoint Implementeds’ product. I think it’s the best solution out for the price. They seem to have put a lot of thought into usability and filling in gaps that you would not know exsist in sharepoint until you start your implementation.

    They offer a turnkey solution which provides a custom Home Site, Department Sites and Project Sites, installation, configuration and training all under $10,000 with source code.

    One thing that I would love to see that they dont have now is a hosted solution

    You can get more details at
    There are many Intranets solutions on the market, however if you are looking for a solid SharePoint based Intranet solution, check out SharePoint Implementeds’ product. I think it’s the best solution out for the price. They seem to have put a lot of thought into usability and filling in gaps that you would not know exsist in sharepoint until you start your implementation.

    They offer a turnkey solution which provides a custom Home Site, Department Sites and Project Sites, installation, configuration and training all under $10,000 with source code.

    One thing that I would love to see that they dont have now is a hosted solution

    You can get more details at
    http://sharepointimplemented.com/AwesomeIntranetGorilla.html#/

    [Reply]

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