For all of the new features being offered in Microsoft’s rollout of Office 2016 there is one essential tool missing: InfoPath, everyone’s favorite forms-creation and data-gathering tool. Microsoft InfoPath is a software application for designing, distributing, filling and submitting electronic forms containing structured data. Microsoft initially released InfoPath as part of Microsoft Office 2003 family. The product features a WYSIWYG form designer in which the various controls (e.g. textbox, radio Button, checkbox) are bound to data that can be captured in SharePoint as metadata or saved as a document.
On January 31, 2014, Microsoft announced that InfoPath was discontinued and will be replaced by a more cross-platform solution currently under development. So far (almost 2 years later), no replacement has been released. In fact, development of “FoSL,” was discontinued. After it was doomed to be discontinued and replaced, InfoPath has won the battle and is currently the only out-of-the-box Microsoft product to create and modify custom forms in SharePoint.
As an ECM SharePoint designer and developer, InfoPath is an essential tool I have used to develop customized forms and capture data in almost every engagement I have worked on. Since InfoPath 2013 is the last version of InfoPath, it will not be included in the Office 2016 suite as it was previously. So, Microsoft just posted the standalone version of the product on the Microsoft Download Center. One important thing to note is: “The download and use of InfoPath 2013 software requires an active Office 365 ProPlus subscription.”
So, if you want to use InfoPath 2013 with Office 2016, you will need to have an active ProPlus subscription on Office 365, and not just the Office 2016 license. One positive note in all of this is that InfoPath 2013 will work with SharePoint Server 2016. On January 20th it was posted on the Microsoft Office blog, “Support for InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will match the support lifecycle for SharePoint Server 2016, running until 2026.” Not stated in the blog was how long InfoPath Forms Services would be supported in Office 365. The standalone version of InfoPath can be downloaded HERE if you have an Office 365 subscription.