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Displaying Repeating Section Data in List Views, The Easy Way!

aymanelhattab
Nintex Newbie
35 73 46.3K

Introduction

Repeating sections are very powerful if you want to create 1 to many relationships within your Nintex Forms. However, they come with some caveats when you need to parse, use and display the data stored within them. This blog post introduces you to the Repeating Section Control, explains the parsing issue in depth and explains some existing solutions that was created earlier by the Nintex community. At the end of the post, I will introduce you to a Custom Field Type that I created to help non-technical users quickly display the Repeating Sections Data in List Views without creating Workflows or getting their hands dirty with XML, XSLT or Java script.

So, what is the repeating section control?

Control.png

The repeating section control is basically a container, which means that any controls added in the repeating section in the design time will be replicated in the runtime when the end-user clicks to add a new row. The end-user can also click the “x” icon to remove rows. Using Repeating Sections in Nintex Forms, you can create dynamic forms allowing the end users filling out the form to enter multiple values for a single field on a form. This is useful when you are collecting data and you do not exactly know in the design time how many records need to be collected each time the form is filled out.

DesignTineRS.png

RunTineRS.png

With the Repeating Section control, you can achieve a 1 to many relationship within your forms. Here are some examples:

  • Multiple products within the same order.
  • Multiple destinations, flights and hotels within the same travel request.
  • Multiple days off (with different types) within the same leave request.

The Problem

Despite how useful and cool the control is, there is no way OOB to parse the repeating section data if you need to do something with it. Why would you do that? Here are some scenarios / use cases:

  1. Interacting with the repeating section data from a Workflow.
  2. Saving the Repeating section data in another list and hence creating a Master-Detail or a Parent-Child relationship between two lists.
  3. Displaying the repeating section data in SharePoint List Views.

Basically, when an end-user fills out a form and submits it to the underlying list, an XML representation of the entire form is saved in a hidden field called "FormData". If we have a repeating section within the form, its data is also XML serialized and stored within this hidden field.  If you need this data for one or more of the three scenarios above, you need to retrieve the value of this hidden field then query the XML to parse the repeating section data. Osama Mourad has written a very useful post around that, you can check it from here.

The Solution

Luckily, Vadim Tabakman wrote a very good post documenting a workaround he came up with to simplify the steps above. Basically, he created a UDA (User Defined Action) to extract the XML of the repeating section from the FormData field then he used the “Loop” workflow action to loop through each record in the repeating section using an incremental index. Using Vadim’s workaround, you can read the records the end-user filled in the Repeating Section and interact with them within the workflow.

What if you want to save this data to another list and hence create a Master-Detail relationship between two lists? Eric Harris has used Vadim’s workaround, added his magic and showed us in an excellent blog post how to do that.

What Vadim and Eric have done is all based on Nintex Workflows. What if you don’t have the Nintex Workflow Product? What if you just need to display the repeating section data in List Views and you don’t want to create a Workflow just for that? Enter The “Nintex Repeating Section Data” Field Type.

“Nintex Repeating Section Data” Field Type

The “Nintex Repeating Section Data” is a custom field type that I created in my free time to easily display the records of a repeating section in SharePoint List Views without the need of creating complex workflows. After you create your Nintex Form using the standard best practices for repeating sections, you only need to create a Column of type “Nintex Repeating Section Data”, enter the name of the Repeating Section you want to display in the field creation page, add it to any view and BOOM … The repeating section data is displayed in a neat table! All the heavy lifting is taken care of for you. Below are a few screenshots to help you understand the idea:

Here is the “Orders” list :

1.png

And here is the Ninext Form, it contains a Repeating Section called “Products”, note that I'm not connecting the repeating section to a column.

2.png

Now, I’ll create a Column of the new type “Nintex Repeating Section Data”. In the additional column settings, I will put in the name of the Repeating Section in the form.

3.png

Once the column is added to the view, here is what you are going to get :

5.png

Pretty cool, eh?

You can download the WSP for SharePoint 2013 from the attachments below. The SharePoint 2010 one will be released soon.

Update (Aug 13th, 2015): SharePoint 2010 Version is now available, you can download it from here.

Notes:

  • The “Nintex Repeating Section Data” Field Type for SharePoint 2013 was created in my free time and is NOT a Nintex product. If you have any feedback, please feel free to post it here or ping me on Twitter @AymanElHattab .
  • You can create as many columns based on the new custom field type as needed. For instance, If you have 3 repeating sections (Flights, Hotels and Events) in your travel request form, you can create 3 columns to display the repeating sections' records in your View. Just make sure not to connect your Repeating Sections to list columns (as shown in the screenshots above)
  • IE7+, Chrome (Latest) and Firefox (Latest) are supported.
  • Nested Repeating Sections are not supported (yet).
73 Comments
bijoy_sasidhara
Nintex Newbie

Same situation for me as well.

arobins
Nintex Newbie

Hi Ayman El-Hattab​ I have noticed that your solution has stopped working. One of the lists I use it on no longer shows the tables. I just removed the wsp file then redployed it, did an iis reset, created a new list and still nothing shows up. I updated my licence a few weeks ago - would that affect it?

Thanks

Andrew

Not applicable

Hi Ayman El-Hattab, Your solution sounds awesome, however, as someone that does not have the rights to do either solution provided here, is there another work around way to display this information for us plain users? I am not an expert but I desperately need to figure this out. Thank you!

makesense
Nintex Newbie

Nice, user friendly!

jose_fidalgo
Nintex Newbie

I deploy the wsp file but  column does not appear

jose_fidalgo
Nintex Newbie
Sorry, I already had to restart IIS
heath_a
Nintex Newbie

Unfortunately I'm having the same issue - did anyone work out how to resolve? (Willy Noviandy Jeffrey Oliver  ) Thanks!

engineer
Nintex Newbie

Excuse me, I followed the instruction and it's show like this how can I fix it?

repeating section data in list view has problem.

Thanks.

swap
Nintex Newbie

This is a nice solution , but I'm getting below heading without space (fig 1) despite I've configured both text-box values to 'First Name' and 'Last Name' respectively (fig 2,3 & 4).  Can you please suggest workaround?  

fig 1 (View)

fig 2

fig 3

fig 4

Automation Master
Automation Master

you have to name controls within repeating section

swap
Nintex Newbie

Yes, I did same. Even I noticed another issue. I have configured custom column for another list and it is not working.

marisar
Nintex Newbie

Also having same issue.

croos
Nintex Newbie

Is it possible to create the “Nintex Repeating Section Data” Field Type for SharePoint Online ?

blevinsl
Nintex Newbie

Just used this feature! Thanks a ton!

sunilshresthas
Nintex Newbie

Is it working on SharePoint 2016? I successfully deployed the solution in SharePoint 2016 and created a new column with  this field type, but when I tried to create new item, It threw an error saying "Unhanded exception occurred" like that. Am I doing something wrong or this is not compatible with SharePoint 2016. Actually I used 2013 version of this solution.

obaidaaqel86
Nintex Newbie

I've just had this installed on our test enviroment, I followed your steps, created a repeating section with 3 drop down list fields and a multi-line, named it SupplierDetails and published the form. In the list I created a new column with the type Nintex Repeating Section Data, linked it to my repeating section and created a new item (

Repeating Section Name:  SupplierDetails

. However the repeating section data field all the time is empty? Any ideas?

obaidaaqel86
Nintex Newbie

its working fine now , I deleted the list and created again so its working fine,

My question is : can we search for any item in ( repeating section data)

mallickj
Nintex Newbie

Thank You for this nice post ...I have added your solution to my farm it is working great however my requirement needs 5 repeatings sections on the same form I am unable to display the 2nd -5th repeating sections how can I accomplish this?

bimi82
Nintex Newbie

Hello Ayman El-Hattab

Would there be an option to make the table viewable / readable on Spreadsheet when extracted?
The XML format is rather displayed onto Excel which is not quite readable ...

If you have a solution / suggestion to that, do let me know

Thanks

nj
Nintex Newbie

Has this been updated recently? I'm following the directions but the column doesn't display any information after setting the repeating section name in the column settings.

neillatham
Nintex Newbie

Can you confirm if this works on SharePoint Server 2016 (on prem)?

bimi82
Nintex Newbie

A much simplier approach
 

Requires PowerQuery App which is free + Excel.

Syed
Nintex Newbie

Dear Ayman,

 

I deployed the repeating section .wsp in sharepoint and created the custom column in the list as described in the above article. i dont see any data getting populated in the column. 

I'm using sharepoint 2013 and Nintex 2013 responsive form.