Installing and Using Nintex Forms for Office 365 - A Review
Sharing Expertise

Our office is filled with experts, and they love sharing that technology expertise to help others learn and do more. Explore our insights, tips and tricks through our blogs. Learn more about our thought leaders >

Back to Blogs >>

Published by Jeannie Herrington, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I recently worked on a project that required me to use Nintex Forms for Office 365. While I have spent many, many hours working with Nintex Forms, up until now I have not had the opportunity to work with their new cloud-based forms technology. In this post, I will do my best to provide my unbiased opinion of Nintex Forms for Office 365.

Installing Nintex Forms for Office 365
Nintex for Office 365 is extremely simple to install. Gone are the days of logging onto the server and running the installation wizard, then acquiring and entering the license number - all of which takes at least an hour or two.  The trial version of Nintex can be installed for free in the Office 365 environment in under 5 minutes by just searching for it in the Office Store. In my book, time is valuable so this is a huge pro.     
Step 1:  Search for Nintex Forms and click Add.  Verify the site you want to add Nintex to.
Step 2: Hit Add Again
Step 3: Confirm that you really want to do this




Trust It.

5 clicks and fewer than 5 minutes! That's all it takes to add Nintex Forms for Office 365 to your SharePoint Online environment.


Okay, so you've added Nintex. Now what? There must be some other hoops to jump through in order to use it, right? Not really. Simply navigate to a list (or library) and access the forms designer from the ribbon.
Enter your information and everything is set up for you! 
Using Nintex
Of course, anytime a new version of your favorite product comes out, you wonder how drastic the changes will be.  Aesthetically, the differences are very minor. The biggest difference that I noted was that the properties panel now sits on the right side of the screen. This can be a bit irritating as the properties panel consumes a bit of precious real estate (an issue easily overcome by simply closing the properties panel), but overall I appreciated being able to quickly and easily access control properties without having to open the control settings window or go to the ribbon.   

While we are talking about the properties ribbon, it is also important to note that you no longer go into form properties from the Nintex ribbon to change the size of your canvas, grid cell width and height, or other form properties such as background color, and CSS. Form properties can now be accessed through that panel on the right side of the screen. One thing that has been removed from the advanced form properties is the ability to enter a redirect address that operates on form close. Though this functionality is gone, redirecting a form on close (or save) can be achieved fairly easily through the use of a query string with a "source" parameter.
Furthermore, importing templates has changed as well. Previously, form exports were saved as xml files. Now, the extension has changed and Nintex exports are saved under the .nfp extension. This may seem relatively minor in the scheme of things, but do not expect to go get that tried-and-true template that you built in the on-prem product and import it into the cloud version of forms. It does not work, and you will be disappointed.  

Great. It says I can upload a Nintex xml file!
While we are talking about designing new forms, it is also important to note that Nintex Forms for Office 365 only allows you to create forms on a list or library. While I have not seen any official word regarding this change in functionality, I suspect it is not yet provided due to the fact that users are technically leaving their own Office 365 environment and being redirected to and from a Nintex-hosted environment when they use or develop a Nintex Form. In my opinion, this was the most disappointing discovery that I made about the new cloud version of Nintex forms.

My next, less than desirable experience came when I was trying to preview a newly designed form that contained a bit of JavaScript.  Any bug in the JavaScript will cause the preview mode to error out. You then are prompted twice with an error message and a prompt to leave the page.  If you make the mistake of clicking leave you will be kicked out of the form, and any unsaved changes will be lost. Click through all of the prompts though (making sure to indicate that you want to stay on the page), and you can eventually close the preview window without losing your changes.

The final difference that I would like to highlight is the reduced number of SharePoint controls that are available to form developers who use the online version of Nintex forms. When I initially started using Nintex Forms for Office 365, the managed metadata control was not available. This control was made available through a recent update. The update which occurred overnight without my intervention, occurred overnight and appeared to be seamless.

Print to PDF
Print to PDF was recently added to all enterprise editions of Nintex Forms. This button, displayed in the Nintex ribbon, allows users to save a Nintex form as a PDF and print it or save and email it. For lightweight forms, that need little customization this is a fantastic solution.  Forms can be printed to PDF from either edit mode, or display mode. In my opinion, this feature should be customizable to allow the form designer to exclude the functionality (from edit mode especially) if needed. Currently in O365, you can either enable or disable the functionality completely, but it cannot be disabled on a conditional basis.
The form prints exactly as it displays on the screen. If there are any scroll bars, they will be visible in the form.  Despite the fact that Nintex has added the page break control which allows the form designer to set page breaks in the PDF, I had issues with repeating sections breaking in strange places. If you have a repeating section in a form, page headers and footers become hard to deal with as well since there is no way to predict how many pages a repeating section may span.
In this post I highlighted the installation process for Nintex Forms for Office 365, some of what I consider to be the most significant differences between Nintex's on-prem and online offerings, and offered my opinion of the new Print to PDF button. While I may have offered a harsh critique of Nintex's new cloud based service, I have to say that overall I was quite pleased with Nintex Forms for Office 365.  Once again, Nitnex has produced a product that is, in my opinion, quite superior to anything else out there.  Despite some of the limitations of the online environment, users can design highly functional forms with very little effort. 

Categories: Adding Nintex Forms App,Cloud-based Forms,Importing Nintex Templates,Nintex Forms for Office 365,Print to PDF,PSC,SharePoint Online

Original Post:

Latest Posts