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I've created a request form in Infopath and that will be filled out by a number of internal parties. This form is published to SharePoint and a copy of it is saved in the document library and also e-mailed out to an internal group.

In some cases, if the form dictates action is required, we will need to provide the submitted/completed form to these external vendors. These vendors may not use Microsoft products or Windows at all. What is the best way for these outside vendors to be able to view the form?

I have looked into converting it to a PDF but it looks like this would require expensive third party software. Is there another way? I'd be fine saving the submitted form as a PDF or an image or anything that is a more generic file format than an XML file that only renders in a readable manner in Infopath.

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There are 2 schools of thought, you give vendors AD accounts in your network and give them access to log into your environment and access the information necessary. A lot of people are shying away from this approach because they don't want to deal with identity management and credentials for non-employees.

The emerging trend is to use Office 365 and SharePoint online. You can share information with vendors and Microsoft handles external access and credentials. Out of your hands.

If neither of those are appealing, you could look at third party tools, Muhimbi has a PDF converter for SharePoint that supports converting InfoPath to PDF, Word and Excel. There are other players in this space too. Something like this could render it as a pdf, and then email it off to a vendor.

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