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July 23, 2010

[SharePoint Designer 2010] Alternative options for list forms

Filed under: SharePoint — Tags: , , — frederique @ 23:33

SharePoint lists are powerful. For instance, team members can enter their tasks in a task list on their site and update them as they go, so that the entire team can monitor how they are doing. In another example, we created a projects list, where projects managers entered the main information about their project and updated the status of their projects regularly. That allowed higher level management to keep track of the program as a whole.

In these lists, we can include many fields, to capture all relevant information. Great.

However, if you are not careful, you end up confronting the poor user with a huge edit form, even if he only needs to update a status field at that time. In the old SharePoint, we could only change the order of the fields and add descriptions to give the form some structure and highlight the fields that are most important most of the time.

In 2010 (not just the year, I mean the SharePoint), we can create alternatives for adding and editing these list items, in addition to the default forms. We can even promote our new edit form to the default option. Also, we can put a version of the form to create a new item directly on the homepage of our site.

How to create alternate edit options
For instance, we need a short version of the form for editing tasks, that the team members can use to do a quick update, without being hampered by fields that are irrelevant at that point. How to do that?

Open the site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and click to the tasks list. On the right hand side of the summary page, you see the forms that are available in the list, such as the default edit form EditForm.aspx.

Summary of the Tasks list in SharePoint Designer 2010, with  the Forms section

Summary of the Tasks list in SharePoint Designer 2010, with the Forms section

Click the New button in the forms section and enter the settings of the new edit form we want:


  • An edit form,

  • Set as the default, so that the edit icon in the list opens this new Update Task form.

  • Select ‘create link in the list item menu and ribbon’ so that this option also appears in the list item menu, in addition to the standard Edit Item. And type in the label that should be displayed in that menu.

Settings of the new list form in SharePoint Designer 2010

Settings of the new list form in SharePoint Designer 2010

When you click OK, UpdateTask.aspx is added under the heading Forms. To determine what the user should see in that Update Task form, click that form name.

To remove unwanted fields, click Add/Remove columns in the ribbon. Or simply remove that row in the table. In addition, you can format the form to highlight the most important field, such as the status label in the screenshot below.

Customizing the new list form in SharePoint Designer

Customizing the new list form in SharePoint Designer

Once we have saved this customized form, it is available in the site.

The new edit option in the list item menu in the site

The new edit option in the list item menu in the site

And clicking on the edit icon opens the short form we just created.

The customized short form Update Task in the site

The customized short form Update Task in the site

How to put the New item form directly on the page
For the edit options discussed above, the user has to click an edit icon or open the list item menu to start editing. For creating new items, we sometimes want the user to start typing directly on the page, without clicking any New Item buttons.
SharePoint Designer 2010 allows us to do that: insert the actual form on the homepage of your site or on a specially created dashboard page. How to do that?

Open the page where you want to add that new item form in SharePoint Designer (Edit file).
Put your cursor where the form should appear, click Insert > New Item Form in the ribbon, and Select your list.

InSert the new item list form directly on a page in SharePoint Designer 2010

InSert the new item list form directly on a page in SharePoint Designer 2010

Then you can customize the form that has landed on the page. The default version of the ne w task form is very sober, so we add the field Assigned To. We remove the fields Modified and Modified by in the same pop-up window.

Adding and removing columns to customize the form on the page

Adding and removing columns to customize the form on the page

Once you save the page, you see this quick form for creating new tasks on the page.

Quick form for new tasks directly on the page in the site

Quick form for new tasks directly on the page in the site

So with SharePoint 2010, we can give users options to add and edit their tasks and other items more quickly and easily.

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