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Microsoft FrontPage 2003

Forms: Capturing the Data

Using forms to capture form results can assist in the timely collection of data. However, getting a large amount of data into a useful format can be time-consuming and overwhelming. You can use optional hidden form fields to capture the data to a data file as the user completes the form.

Prior to capturing the data, you must create the data file using the following steps:

Once the data file is created, you must modify the form within FrontPage by using the following steps:

return to topEstablish a Share for Collecting the Data

The file that will hold your data must be located on a special forms data directory (share). If you do not already have access to a data share, you must establish one.

  1. Send an email message to

  2. Include the following information:
    • Your name
    • Web publishing account name
    • Names and email addresses of others needing access
    • Whether access is needed for Macintosh or Windows computer(s)

When the forms data directory has been created, you will receive a confirmation email. This message will contain the name of the share you need to map to and the directory name to use, so you can create the initial file and retrieve its data.

return to topEstablish the File for the Data

The file used to capture the data does not need to contain any data, but the "shell" of the file must be created. When users complete the form, the data is appended to the end of the file.

  1. Map to the location of your forms data share
    NOTE: For information on mapping a drive, refer to Connecting to Network Drives.

  2. Once the network drive is mapped and open, from the Folders list, select your forms data share

  3. In the Contents list, right click » select New » Text Document

  4. In the Name field, type a name for the document
    NOTE: The filename should not include spaces.

  5. Press [Enter]
    The new file for data capture is created.

return to topCapturing Results to a Data File

The following table illustrates the field names and values used to store form results to a data file. This data file can then be read into a Microsoft Word table, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or even a Microsoft Access database. We strongly recommend that anyone wishing to use these options be familiar with importing files with delimiting characters.

Field Name Value
append_db To append the form fields to a text file, the value should specify the path and filename.
Format: directoryname/filename.txt (note that the -f of your share name is not included in the directory name)
EXAMPLE: doc/data.txt
The initial blank data file must be created on the server prior to using the script. The script does not automatically create it; it only appends to the file. For more information, refer to Establishing a Share for Collecting the Data.
If you plan on using Microsoft Word to view the data file, use a .dat for your file extension instead of .txt.
db_fields Specify exactly which fields are appended to the text file
Format: fieldname,fieldname,fieldname
EXAMPLE: realname,email,phone
Any field not specified in db_fields will not be appended to the file. Date and time fields are automatically inserted in each record. Field names are case sensitive.
db_delimiter This is the separator character used between fields in the text file. Avoid using common characters (e.g., : @ / ). We recommend using characters that are less likely to be entered by users (e.g., % ^ ; | ). You could also use the tab character as the delimiter. To use the tab character, place the insertion point between the quotation marks in the value field and press the [Tab] key.
NOTE: If you use the tab delimiter, your file extension should be .tab, instead of .txt or .dat.

return to topInserting the Optional Hidden Form Fields

  1. Open the file containing your form or create your form

  2. Right click the form » select Form Properties...
    The Form Properties dialog box appears.

  3. Click ADVANCED...
    The Advanced Form Properties dialog box appears.

  4. Click ADD...
    The Name/Value Pair dialog box appears.

  5. In the Name and Value text boxes, type the name and value of the appropriate optional hidden form field
    HINT: For a list of field names and values, refer to Capturing Results to a Data File.

  6. Click OK
    You are returned to the Advanced Form Properties dialog box.

  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you have entered all the necessary hidden form fields.
    When finished, the Advanced Form Properties dialog box displays all optional hidden form fields you have entered.

  8. Click OK

  9. Click OK

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