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I had built and published an infopath form to a sharepoint library and populated the library with about 50 documents(based on the template)

I modified (deletd rich text boxes and replaced it with text box) a few fields and re published (quick publish) it to the library overlooking the fact that I will lose all data from the previously created documents already stored in the library.

Is there any way for me to recover this data.

If not worst case scenario, is there a way for me to export all columns/mapped fields to excel and copy paste data from an excel file(that I luckily have all data in) and import it to update the fields??

Thanks

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"overlooking the fact that I will lose all data from the previously created documents already stored in the library"

You have Infopath (filled with data fields) forms as .XML files. You probably cannot open them with new Infopath template though it should not have happened, the old XML forms should have referenced and opened by the reference to the previous/old template (with which they were created). Here is the opposite question: how to open old Infopath XML data forms with a new XSN template

First, to ease treating such issues in future I propose to enable versioning in Vesrsioning settings of Form Liobrary settings or better save your templates locally under different names on each publish with some bookkeeping records. Note this is different from Infopath form versioning set by default to "Automatically update the template (recommended)"

Please check 3 methods of relinking Infopath data forms XML files to XSN templates

About Excel

First, you should regain treating, i.e. opening your XML files through Infopath without trying to tweak it manually. And if you try, don't forget to backup all

You can try to tweak/edit and open Infopath (.XML files) data forms in Excel or better to export to Excel from Infopath Designer 2010:

on ribbon File > Save & Send > Export to Excel (Export form data to an Excel Workbook )

  • Export data from single or multiple forms
  • Use Excel to analyze data

that launch Export to Excel Wizard.

Vice versa, In Infopath Designer 2010, File > New > Convert Existing Form

  • Creates a new form template based on either a Word or Excel file. InfoPath creates the underlying data structure based on the layout of the original form, updating the data structure based on any changes you then make to the form layout.

permits to import Excel workbook into Infopath form

I am on Sharepoint Online aka Office365 (can't check much in other Sharepoint environments) ) in which I can leverage Excel Services

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I read through the articles provided in your links. It looks if I modify the original tempalte and publish it to the same library, the old fields(from previously saved forms) get replaced with the new fields and their data if any. So I guess I have lost my data! and there is no way for me to get it back except manually update it? Thanks –  user7400 Aug 23 '12 at 15:11
    
Infopath templates (the files with .XSN extension) do not and cannot have data entered into fields or overwrite them, they are only used to create/update the IP data forms, i.e. the files with extension .XML Though, recreating the fields and republishing are not enough, you should unpromote the removed fields, promote newly created, republish the template (I would have changed its name and location) and relink the old .XML data forms to a new template –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 23 '12 at 18:08
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