Promoted Properties from InfoPath – LESS is BEST

When developing a SharePoint form + workflow solution, the best choice (IMHO) is to use InfoPath + Nintex Workflow.   There are many (MANY) considerations – but I’m just touching one that I think it worth a call-out.

When you publish an InfoPath form – you can choose which columns to ‘promote’. 

These become SharePoint columns within the list – and that’s great for doing FILTER and GROUP functions – or for use in DVWP’s.


But – they can be a headache – especially when deploying forms from DEV, to UAT, to PROD.

If you’re not careful, you can end up with duplicated column names – with internal names like “Department0”, “Department1”, “Department2”, etc.

The trick is to “take your time” when pushing the form to another server environment.   Make sure to follow these steps

  • Double-click the column name
  • Change the dropdown from “Create New” – to “This Form Library”
  • Choose the column – ie. match the InfoPath column with the (existing) SharePoint column



BUT – as the topic of this blog post tells – you don’t need to (shouldn’t need to) promote LOTS of fields – especially if you don’t need to.

*IF* you are simply promoting fields for use within a Nintex Workflow – then STOP.   There is a better way.

  1. Don’t promote the field (eg. Date Commencing)
  2. Within the Nintex Workflow – use the “Query XML” action to get the value
  3. The field will still be WITHIN the SharePoint item (InfoPath form)
  4. It’s only ONE step to get the value – then use the variable within the workflow ‘logic’

It’s THAT easy !   Don’t believe me….?  

Well, lemme show you…


Get the XPath for the field you need

  • Within InfoPath – find the field you need/want – within the Data Source (Main)
  • Right-click and choose “Copy XPath”
  • Nothing will happen – but the full XML schema node structure is copied to your clipboard


eg. /my:myFields/my:MarketingActivity/my:DateCommencing

Retrieve the value within Nintex Workflow

  • Within your Nintex Workflow, add a “Query XML” action – within the “Integration” section/group


  • Click “Configure”
  • Leave the dropdown for “Current Item” – ie. the InfoPath form (XML)
  • Change the second dropdown for “Process Using” – to be “XPath”
  • Paste in your value copied from InfoPath (as above)
  • Define a variable – and select it (eg. DateCommencing)



That’s it !    You can now use the variable/value – within the workflow.

This is only ONE extra step to get the value – very easy via “Query XML” – and, no need for a promoted field.

And that is a VERY good thing – when it comes to deployment (to PROD).

Hope that helps – it’s certainly one of my favourite features – no more promoted fields !

(Having said that – it’s valid to have promoted fields for List ‘views’ – grouping, filtering, and search/indexing).


2 thoughts on “Promoted Properties from InfoPath – LESS is BEST

  1. Kevin Annfield (@23_kev) September 27, 2011 / 6:45 pm

    Totally agree GrumpyWookie. It can make the start of a workflow fairly busy with a whole lot of Query XML’s but it definitely makes for a much cleaner library or content type.

    You haven’t shown it but it also possible to update that same field in the InfoPath form from Nintex Workflow too, using the Update XML action. Thats even cooler….


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