Newest Enhancements to Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 Now Available for Preview

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 23, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a special preview of updates that will be added to Microsoft®
Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, the information-gathering and management program, as part of the Office 2003 service pack scheduled for release in June. In addition to the improvements Microsoft is delivering to make InfoPath 2003 more secure and reliable, the service pack also will contain feature enhancements that organizations can choose to deploy to aid developers and end users in capitalizing on the InfoPath platform. By downloading the InfoPath 2003 Service Pack 1 Preview, form designers can begin incorporating the forthcoming enhancements into their InfoPath 2003 solutions, enabling them to make updated solutions available when the Microsoft Office System service pack is released.

Making Information-Gathering More Reliable and Secure

“With a wide variety of companies already using InfoPath for their organizations, we are delighted by the reception InfoPath has received,” said Rajesh Jha, general manager for InfoPath at Microsoft. “The enhancements that will be delivered as part of the forthcoming Microsoft Office System service pack will provide organizations with enhanced stability and security, and will equip developers with a robust environment to create solutions that can adapt to the ever-changing needs of today’s businesses.”

The preview is 100 percent compatible with InfoPath 2003, so existing solutions will function as they have in the past. Among the additional capabilities that customers and partners will experience when they download the preview are these:

Security enhancements

  • Increased support for digital signatures. The preview gives form designers the ability to provide verifiable, nonrepudiable signing, partial signing, cosigning and countersigning through enhanced digital signature support. Thus, InfoPath users can not only sign different portions of a form and see a view of the form as it existed when a user digitally signed it, but they also can store additional information when a form is digitally signed to verify the intention of the signer and to provide additional information about the form.

Reliability enhancements

  • Enhanced document recovery, data submission and filtering controls. To aid customers in the capture and sharing of data, the preview includes expanded controls that enable the form designer to specify the interval after which documents will be automatically saved and whether a document can be saved in offline mode. It also allows designers to provide built-in filtering tools to end users so they can easily parse through aggregated information at will to find the specific details they need.

  • Technical updates. Drawing on technical data gathered through Microsoft’s Customer Connection Tools — such as Microsoft Error Reporting, Microsoft Update, Office Online and the Customer Experience Improvement Program — Microsoft continues to make enhancements that make the newly launched Microsoft Office System the most stable, reliable and secure version of Office Microsoft has ever produced.

Enhancements to the end user’s experience

  • Additional handwriting support for Tablet PC users. New with the preview, users can handwrite straight onto an InfoPath field and have their Tablet PC ink be automatically recognized and transformed into typed text.

  • Improved ability to handle InfoPath attachments in e-mail. End users can now open and interact with InfoPath forms that are sent to them as attachments.

Enhancements to the programming environment for developers

  • Richer page layout controls for working with printed forms . Microsoft continues to improve upon the InfoPath “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) design environment, which includes layout control features that enable designers to create forms quickly and easily. When designing a form that will be printed, for example, form designers will be able to insert page breaks for print versions of forms without affecting the layout for users filling out the InfoPath form online.

  • Easier integration into existing business process and workflows. With enhancements to InfoPath’s condition builder feature and built-in support for the human workflow service (HWS) in Microsoft BizTalk®
    Server 2004, form designers can now change the options available to the user based on the user’s role, making it even easier to integrate InfoPath forms into existing business processes and workflows.

  • Additional tools for developers using managed code. In addition to enabling developers to customize their InfoPath solutions through script they create, developers using Microsoft Visual Basic® .NET 2003 and Visual C#® will now be able to move seamlessly between InfoPath and Visual Studio®
    , enabling them to create, debug and build InfoPath solutions using managed code.

  • Extensibility and enhanced
    support for handling XML schemas. The preview delivers expanded tools for working with ActiveX® controls and complex Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas, enabling form designers to swap out one XML schema definition language (XSD) data source for another or add additional data sources, including ADO.NET data sets and Windows®
    SharePoint (TM) Services lists. Schemas used in an InfoPath form can grow as the organization’s needs change or be adapted to be used in other solutions, such as for customized applications a solution provider might create for its customers.

Providing Developers and End Users With an Array of New Tools

Solution providers and customers have already started developing solutions that take advantage of the enhancements to InfoPath 2003 and have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for the improvements that are being made.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources (GA DHR) touches the lives of all Georgians by providing about 80 programs that ensure their health and welfare. These include programs that control the spread of disease, enable older people to live at home longer, prevent children from developing lifelong disabilities, train single parents to find and hold jobs, and help people with mental or physical disabilities live and work in their communities.

“Like most government agencies, in order to better serve our clients, we need to keep records and be able to report on the services we provide,” said John Stewart, CIO of Department of Human Resources GA DHR Office of Information Technology. “Internal recordkeeping, request management and quality control are some of the areas where the new enhancements to InfoPath will help us. The ability to incorporate digital signatures and alert us to any unauthorized changes once the document is digitally signed is an important feature to us, since many of our documents have legal requirements prohibiting tampering. The ability to do calculations with the InfoPath forms is also critical to being able to report on our daily activities, while the new master/detail and repeating table feature enables us to organize the information we put into InfoPath in a more efficient, logical way. Using InfoPath in concert with SharePoint will enable us to improve internal business processes and share data across the organization easily; we’re excited about the XML support and the potential for online or offline enterprise workers to collaborate and share information via the data synchronization feature. Finally, we’re impressed with the ease of maintenance for our InfoPath forms and the new Tablet ink features, which allows our mobile workers to ink into a field directly, making filling out forms much easier.”

Pricing and Availability

Customers will be able to download a U.S. English version of the InfoPath 2003 Service Pack 1 Preview free from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D5ADC839-73F4-4299-ABA0-E88C90B25144 & displaylang=en . They also will be able to download the Visual Studio toolkit for InfoPath at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7E9EBC57-E115-4CAC-9986-A712E22879BB & displaylang=en starting today. Microsoft Office System Service Pack 1 will be distributed to U.S. and international customers in late June.

Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 is available as part of Microsoft’s most popular Office edition for businesses, Microsoft Office Professional 2003 Enterprise Edition, with stand-alone versions available through Microsoft’s volume licensing channels as well as at retail outlets for an estimated retail price of $199 (U.S.; retail prices may vary). Additional information about InfoPath and the 2003 Office editions is available at http://www.microsoft.com/office/ .

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio®
2003 and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server (TM) 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, InfoPath, BizTalk, Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual Studio, ActiveX, Windows, SharePoint, FrontPage, OneNote, Visio and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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