InfoPath – web and client based forms and licensing

I think Question/Answer blog posts are valuable as someone might stumble across this page and find the following layman’s info interesting or useful. This was a question I got from a customer today and my response to him. We’ll refer to him as Barney” 😉


Barney’s Email


From: Barney
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 7:55 AM
To: Sean Wallbridge
Subject: Sean, do you know of Infopath – and the architecture (and licensing) required to use it

Hi there, I need your help on Infopath 101…

  • I know we “have it” as part of Office 2010 Pro
  • We have SharePoint (not Enterprise)
  • Can we leverage infopath using our “to be” SharePoint 2010 environment
  • Is there any “special” additional licensing we need to acquire?
  • How can the data (and business process flow) be tracked if we start using infopath


Thanks Sean!


My Response


Hi Barney (if that indeed is your real name!),

  1. You require SharePoint Enterprise if you are going to do InfoPath as ‘web based forms’.  I.e. the benefit is the consumer of the forms doesn’t need software as the form is provided solely within the browser.  Web based forms have some limitations (can do about 80% of what the full client can do) and forms are still ‘designed’ in InfoPath client software.  You can’t do this, with your licensing.
  2. If you do have the Office Infopath client installed on your desktops you *you can* create and use InfoPath for forms.  They (the results) are stored in SharePoint libraries.  The only drawback here (a big one sometimes but maybe not for you) is that the consumer must have InfoPath installed on their machine (so forget mobile devices or the public, but all staff would be ready with corporate software equipped desktops)
  3. If you decided you wanted to start using InfoPath web based services internally (plus other groovy SharePoint Enterprise features such as BI, Visio Services, etc.) all you have left to purchase is the SharePoint Enterprise CAL for each user (i.e. you have bought the server software, hardware, backups, antivirus, storage, etc.) so really the Enterprise CAL is the cheap part 😉  Retail pricing is about $80 a user, I imagine you don’t even pay ½ of that 😉
  4. InfoPath forms, web based or client software based, store their XML files (data) in SharePoint libraries.  It is from there, that the magic of workflows and accountability begins


Ps. Have you ever looked at Nintex?  If ever there was a killer SharePoint add-on to have, Workflow 2010 is it.