November 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm #9980
Have you ever had to update a drop down across multiple forms? I have, and updating manually, publishing, and mapping for the same data across multiple forms is not fun, and takes too much time. Let’s say you have a drop down to select a department across 15 forms, business has been booming, and there are 6 new departments! That is great, but you have 10 TPS reports that will have to come before having the time to update all your forms. This is an exaggeration of course; however what if I told you there was a way to do this without even opening a single form design? I am happy to tell you that PerfectForms has the pieces needed for you to assemble a means of maintaining your drop downs with ease.
By combining a simple form, and a form connection you can populate any dropdown you like by using the form instances as selection items. This form only needs to have 2 simple inputs, something to be used as a caption, and something to be used as a value. I personally like to add some additional fields to allow this form to serve other purposes in the future. If you can think of any information about the department that will help in the future feel free to add them in. Every submission will become a “Profile” for each department that you can pull any data from. Be sure each department has only 1 profile to make this setup work. Pretty simple right?
The next portion of the setup needed is any form that has a drop down for a department. Instead of populating the selection items let the connection do this. When your form is first opened in the first stage run the connection that is linked to your departments form and populate the caption, and the value of your drop down. Be sure this connection is only run once with whatever behavior makes the most sense for your build. If the connection is run more than once it will over write any selection a user has made.
Since a connection pulls only data that is actively provided you will always have an up to date selection. Now this is where things get easy. If a department needs to be removed, just delete its profile; if a department needs to be added, simply create another profile. Anything you do to modify, add, or remove in your “Department Profiles” will take effect instantly on any form using this configuration. What would have taken an hour and a half is now cut down to 2 minutes, and a coffee break.
For click by click directions, please perform the following:
• Create a new Form
• Title your form the same as your dropdown
• Add a field for Caption
• Add a field for Value
• Add a submit button
• Close your form design
• Click new instance
• Add a new caption, value, and submit
• Repeat this process until you have all the selections you will need
• Click Connections from the dashboard
• Add a new form connection
• Select the form you have just built and created instances in
• Click new action
• Add 2 return parameters
• Select the caption field for one, and value for the other
• Save your changes
• Visit the form with the dropdown you wish to populate
• Click on the drop down you wish to populate
• Add a simple branch to when the dropdown is shown
• For the simple branch, add the rule (If dropdown caption is empty)
• On the true side of the branch point to a connection command
• Select your connection built to your dropdown form
• On the return parameter for caption click the first, and the third checkbox where the return source is
• On the return parameter for value click the second, and the third checkbox where the return source is
• Click where you add a source select your drop down on both
This will pull the data from your form, apply it to the list, and leave your selection blank. I hope you have enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading, and happy form building!
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