Microsoft on the Future of InfoPath


Ms. Neagu is a noted expert on data applications and XML technologies. Adriana was co-inventor of Microsoft Office InfoPath, and co-holds 4 InfoPath patents.

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Everyone using InfoPath is concerned about the Infopath end of life, and about finding an InfoPath replacement before support for the platform ends. To help with planning, we update this post with the all latest information we can find about the changing retirement status of InfoPath 2013.

InfoPath status in a nutshell

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Learn more about Formotus for InfoPath users

Latest Update

October 25, 2016 update:

A Microsoft support article dated 9/17/2016, InfoPath Forms Containing Code Fail to Activate when using the Managed Solutions Gallery, states in part:

“The September 2016 PU for SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2013, and SharePoint Server 2016 introduces the Managed Solutions Gallery to enhance the governance of sandbox solutions.

In a web application with a Managed Solutions Gallery, when you publish an InfoPath form that contains custom code, the form no longer renders in a browser and users can no longer fill in the form using a browser. When you publish an InfoPath form that contains custom code, it creates a category of sandbox solution that cannot be approved using the Managed Solutions Gallery, so publishing fails and the form can no longer be rendered by InfoPath Forms Services.”

See also: How to use the Managed Solutions Gallery

Earlier Updates

September 29, 2016 update:

Microsoft provides guidance on PowerApps vs. InfoPath

According to twitter reports from Ignite in Atlanta today, the PowerApps and Flow session included slides that said the following:

  • InfoPath 2013 continues to be supported through 2026.
  • Continue to use InfoPath for XML documents, ECM, offline scenarios.
  • PowerApps is the successor for forms scenarios but doesn’t seek feature parity with InfoPath.

In this interview from Ignite, Microsoft Senior Product Manager Chris McNulty says:

“We’ve talked about ‘we want you to get off InfoPath’ but we never gave you a good answer before. We’ve really learned from that. And now we have the answer, and the answer is PowerApps and Flow. They are the successor to the InfoPath / SharePoint Designer model.”

Update: McNulty says:

“When we talked about deprecating InfoPath two and half years ago, we didn’t give a clear roadmap of what you were supposed to do next. … We’re here today to really make sure people understand that where we are pointed moving forward is to PowerApps and Flow.”

So clearly the Microsoft guidance is that we should expect no InfoPath replacement from Microsoft other than PowerApps and Flow. Even so, there’s still this caveat:

“There are some scenarios InfoPath excels at — the offline access, those rich XML document scenarios — you should continue to use.”

McNulty also reiterated that support for InfoPath 2013 would continue to 2026 — as if it had been released with SharePoint 2016.

August 4, 2016 updates:

InfoPath form with code no longer supported on SharePoint Online / Office 365

Hat tip to our friends at Qdabra for calling to our attention that Microsoft’s removal of the sandbox code service in SharePoint Online means that InfoPath forms with code will no longer work in the browser.

Reported problems using InfoPath 2013 with Outlook 2016 email

We noticed the following post in a technical forum this week:

On trying to publish an Infopath form, I get a warning message that the default email app needs to be Outlook 2013, but we have now been upgraded to Outlook 2016….any ideas on how to resolve? Additionally, when receiving an Infopath form in Outlook 2016, it appears as static content with the XML and XSN files attached.

April 20, 2016 update:

Microsoft Forms preview determined not to be InfoPath replacement

When Microsoft announced last week the early availability of something called Microsoft Forms (previously branded Office Forms), social media predictably started asking: could this be a replacement for InfoPath. Clearly, it’s not.

Alex Pearce was the first blogger to get his hands on the preview (only available in Office 365 for Education) and provide us with an informative walkthrough. His conclusion:

When selecting New it very quickly takes you to a new form which I see this mainly as just a quizzing tool.  So for all you budding InfoPath specialist or SharePoint people expecting this to be the replacement, it not (well at least not at the moment).  It’s not asked me to create anything in SharePoint, asked for a relation with a Office 365 Group nor have I found anything that has changed in my Office 365 tenant so I believe this is a stand alone product.

InfoPath users are hungry for a clear replacement strategy from Microsoft. But Office Forms, like PowerApps, is not positioned to fill that role.

January 20, 2016 update:

InfoPath Forms support extended to 2026

The following was posted on the Microsoft Office blog today, extending the support date for InfoPath to 2016:

“For the past decade, InfoPath and SharePoint Designer have been at the forefront of Microsoft solutions for professional developers and information workers building lightweight business applications for the enterprise. SharePoint Server 2016 extends our commitment to lightweight business applications.

“As we continue to evolve, we recognize the need for a long runway as we augment existing business app offerings with new tools and capabilities. As a result, we’re updating the support timelines in conjunction with SharePoint Server 2016, specifically:

  • SharePoint Server 2016 will include an ongoing capability to host InfoPath Forms Services. InfoPath Forms Services on SharePoint 2016 will be supported for the duration of SharePoint 2016’s support lifecycle.
  • InfoPath Forms Services on Office 365 will continue to be supported.
  • InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will be the last versions of those products. SharePoint Designer is not being re-released with SharePoint Server 2016, although we will continue to support custom workflows built with SharePoint Designer and hosted on SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. Support for InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will match the support lifecycle for SharePoint Server 2016, running until 2026.

Not stated here is how long InfoPath Forms Services will be supported on Office 365.

August 26, 2015 update:

InfoPath 2013 to become available for Office 365 2016 Version

Thanks to a forum post today we discovered the following language in a Technet topic last modified August 24:

Removal of InfoPath from Office 365 ProPlus

“InfoPath 2013 remains the current version and therefore won’t be included in the Office 2016 version of Office 365 ProPlus. When you update an existing installation of Office 365 ProPlus to the Office 2016 version, InfoPath is removed from the computer. If your users still need to use InfoPath, the previous version will be available for installation on the Software page in the Office 365 portal.” (our emphasis)

FoSL and Project Siena Story

If you’re interested in inside stories about the demise of the FoSL project and hints at new directions, we can recommend the last five minutes of this podcast from July 16.

June 18, 2015 update:

Migration Tool and Installation Tool coming?

Got some new information today from Maarten Visser in a presentation at the online SPBiz conference. According to him, based on what he heard from Mark Kashman at Ignite:

  • There will be a Microsoft tool to help migrate InfoPath forms to vNext list forms.
  • There will be an InfoPath installer to run it alongside future Office.

Further, Visser suggested based on his own intuition (not a Microsoft data source) that the vNext forms technology may be related to next-gen portals in SharePoint,  and may debut in July around WPC. Not everyone in the chatroom was as optimistic as he about that timeline.

May 6, 2015 update:

InfoPath News from Ignite 2015

There have been no breakout sessions on InfoPath and SharePoint forms at this event, and no official announcements or guidance from Microsoft. However, a few new tidbits have come to light that will be of interest to organizations invested in InfoPath forms:

  • The SharePoint Online migration API does not support InfoPath forms.
  • The Office 2016 preview that became available to the public this week uninstalls InfoPath 2013.
  • The glitch we confirmed in April, which prevents reinstalling InfoPath alongside Office 2016, still exists. Microsoft is aware of it and has plans for a fix. But in the meantime, the takeaway is: Don’t install Office 2016 Preview if you need Infopath.

February 11, 2015 update:

Breaking InfoPath News [Feb. 2015]

Two new communications from Microsoft appeared last Friday:

1 IPFS to release with SharePoint 2016. Contrary to previously announced plans to discontinue InfoPath Forms Services — the server-side piece that lets forms run in a browser on SharePoint — the Microsoft blog was updated with this announcement:

“Specifically, InfoPath Forms Services will be included in the next on-premises release of SharePoint Server 2016, as well as being fully supported in Office 365 until further notice.

2 FoSL no longer under development. Contrary to plans announced at the SharePoint Conference last March, Forms on SharePoint Lists — the new SharePoint feature that was to replace certain uses of InfoPath — the Office 365 Roadmap was  updated to show FoSL as cancelled:

“The ability to create custom SharePoint List forms is an important scenario. We are refining our plans in this space as part of a more comprehensive set of forms investments.  We will update the roadmap when we have more information to share.

Our Question: How to obtain InfoPath in the future? Based on these announcements it appears that InfoPath is to be the forms solution of choice for longer than expected. Microsoft has said that InfoPath 2013 will be the last version of the desktop client, and that it will work with SharePoint 2016. But that product has never been made available standalone, so if the next version of Office won’t include InfoPath then how will people get their hands on it?

In our opinion, Microsoft should make InfoPath free.

Related reading

Original post from January 31, 2014

Microsoft Announces the Future of InfoPath

Today Microsoft posted on its official Office blog an update on InfoPath and SharePoint forms. Here’s an excerpt:

“InfoPath 2013 is the last release of the desktop client, and InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint Server 2013 is the last release of InfoPath Forms Services.

What does this mean for Formotus customers?

Today’s announcement has no immediate impact on Formotus, our customers or anyone who uses InfoPath. Microsoft plans to support InfoPath until at least 2023. Between now and then Microsoft will provide ongoing support and bug fixes, but users shouldn’t expect any new features or functionality.

Which is where we come into the picture.

At Formotus we remain committed to the underlying technology that InfoPath was built on for rich, dynamic forms with flexible data connections. Formotus has offered an “InfoPath mobile client” on iOS and Android for several years now, and we’ll soon be announcing support for Windows 8 as well.

The cross-platform mobile client was the hard part to create. We’ve added value to standard InfoPath forms by creating custom device controls (camera, GPS, etc.) and a cloud console for configuring, deploying and managing forms and users.

The Formotus team is excited about the road ahead. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements from us soon about Infopath and Infopath alternatives.