Thursday, November 6, 2008

Editing an InfoPath form with significant rule complexity? Get to know the Logic Inspector!

Any serious InfoPath form is all about the Rules, but since the Rules you create are well-hidden in the UI, even in design view, it is very tough to keep track of where you left off between form design sessions, and to see all of the rules that might be affecting a particular control on your form.

Someone at Microsoft was looking out for you and me, though, because there is an extremely handy utility in InfoPath called the "Logic Inspector" that will show you a list of all of your rules, data validations, etc., so you can see what you've got under the hood without poking through every field or having to go looking at the dehydrated source files.

Just go to Tools>Logic Inspector from the main menu to see the complete list of rules in play on your form.

You'll find that Logic Inspector presents four groupings of information:
  • Data Validation
  • Calculated Default Values
  • Rules
  • Programming

Even better, let's say you have a control that is heavily dependent on other form controls for its default value, or whether or not you need to set it's value dynamically.

You can simply right-click on that control or field/group in Design View, and then click "Logic Inspector" to see the following VERY helpful pieces of information about the selected control:

  • Logic that depends on the value in this field or group
  • Logic that is triggered by a change in this field or group
  • Logic that may change this field or group

If you're working on any form with a fair amount of rule complexity, do yourself a big favor and get to know the Logic Inspector!

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