It's 2023 and mobile Internet connection is ubiquitous. But still there are cases when you need to be able to enter data into your SharePoint lists when you are offline. Until now, there were no good option that allowed you to do it easily, without installing complicated apps and learning to work in new ways.
With the addition of editable PDFs to the Print component of Ultimate Forms, the offline form capability is now within your reach. By combining Print, Actions and Import components, we can configure the following in just a few minutes:
- Automatically generate an editable PDF document based on a list item and send it to the user.
- The user opens the PDF from the email on their mobile device and makes the necessary changes to data, while remaining offline.
- Once done, the updated document is emailed back (the email application will send it automatically once the user comes back online of course).
- Import component will monitor the email account and automatically import the email. The updated information will be used to automatically update the list item.
That's it, no new software is needed and any mobile device will work just fine!
Let's see how it can be configured:
- Create a list with the columns you want. I'm creating a simple address verification list.
- Create a modern form for the list. It's straightforward and not required, so I won't be expanding here.
- Create a print template.
- Make sure the enable Create editable PDF under PDF section. This will ensure all column values are editable.
- Now let's create an action that will print the entered item and send it to the email address entered. Basically, once the user enters their details, a confirmation/verification email including the editable PDF is sent to them. Note that I'm enabling Item is added event to send automatically when an item is created.
- And I'm also enable the Manual execution option, just in case.
- Under the Action settings, I'm specifying the print template I just created.
- And I'm configuring how the email is going to look like and where it's going to be sent.
- As you can see, I'm sending it to the Email column value. The subject line is set to contain the unique ID of the item, it will extracted when importing and used to identify which item to update with the new info.
- The sending part is done, now let's configure the import profile.
- Enable Import from editable PDF attachment option and upload the PDF file. You can create a sample PDF by entering an item into the list with your details, the PDF will be emailed to you!
- Now let's map the list columns to the columns in the PDF.
- The important part here is the condition under Item which compares the item's unique ID with the ID we extract from the subject line of the email. The Extract function basically takes whatever comes after ID: in the subject line. I also added a condition to only import email with a certain subject line, that is optional, but as I'm using my own email address for testing purposes, I don't want it to try and import all the emails I receive!
- And we are done!
Now let's test it!
- I enter a new item into the list with my details.
- After a minute or so I get an email with a PDF attachment.
- I open the attachment and make some changes to the data.
- Then I save the document, reply to the email and attach it
- Once the import runs (and it runs every 15 min), it picks up the email and updates the list item.
- Note the updated ZIP code!
And that's how easy it is to implement offline functionality with Ultimate Forms!
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