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If you did not pay attention to the last step before publishing an InfoPath 2010 form to a SharePoint server and you are facing a lot of problems because the publish created duplicate columns. Look no further, this post will make your life easier.

A lot of us use InfoPath and have to deal with its annoying bugs day in and day out. But we just have to be more careful and aware to avoid any situations where there's no second option.

Today, I was working with an InfoPath form, and was converting a regular form to an administratively approved one. I ended up publishing the form a couple of times to my production server which in turn was afflicted by the “duplicate promoted fields / properties” issue, or in easier terms 'duplicate columns' which seems to want to randomly occur when you add / modify new promoted fields. 

Just before you publish the form, InfoPath gives you an option of only publishing/recreating the columns that have been modified/added. And it is very important that we update the type of operation on each column. The columns can be site columns, list columns or just stranded doing nothing but making your life miserable depending on how you publish. In mycase, instead of reusing the promoted properties it already created for use on the SharePoint site, InfoPath decided to create you a whole new set of Site columns to use.

Normally this is fine, if only a little annoying – but we were using those forms in conjunction with some workflows, which were relying on those promoted fields to have a consistent name…so this now needed to be fixed. The main point of the workflow not picking up the right columns is that they are bound by column id's. So the workflow would be bound to a column which will never be updated with a value because it's source (in my case the InfoPath itself) updates another column with the same name but different GUID.

InfoPath forms are a lot like other MS file formats and are based around a cabinet file / .cab; so the steps I took the following steps to remove the duplicate fields:

1) Rename my form to .cab
2) Extract everything, and open manifest.xsf in notepad
3) Find the offending duplicate columns, and remove them. You’ll find them within a block similar to <xsf2:listPropertiesExtension> (though the namespace might be different):

If you aren’t sure which ones to remove, you can always compare the columnName property in the <fieldExtension> with the columnName property in the <xsf:field/> near the bottom of the manifest.xsf file.

4) Repack the cabinet – you could use IZarc you can actually open the mainfest.xsf using InfoPath designer (right click and select Design) and then “save as” .xsn, bypassing the fiddly cab creation step.

Once you redeploy / update the form, everything should now be fixed! If you were using the form on a document library, it’s likely you won’t be able to remove the site columns – I ended up recreating the document library to refresh everything but you may not have this luxury if you’ve already got live data in there. So if you're library can't be deleted because there's data in it or it is bound to a List WorkFlow (Never use List WF's, always use reusable WF's), then there is one and only one resort! SHAREPOINT MANAGER 2010.
Install it on the SP server and delete each duplicated and any other InfoPath related column you have associated with the library. Once there are no traces of InfoPath columns, delete the content type. And republish the form to the server/library. And add the content type for the library again.

Maybe Office 15 will fix all this, but until then make sure you keep your eyes open while working on InfoPath.

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 4:28 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Deleting duplicated fields from the Form Library's content type, created due to multiple publish attempts on InfoPath 2010

# re: Deleting duplicated fields from the Form Library's content type, created due to multiple publish attempts on InfoPath 2010
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Great Post.. very helpful!
Left by Nicky on Nov 25, 2012 8:32 PM

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