Matthew Chestnut is a Senior Consultant at ThreeWill. He has over 25 years of software development experience around enterprise and departmental business productivity applications. He has a proven track record of quality software development, on-budget project management and management of successful software development teams.
In June 2016 ThreeWill Senior Software Engineer Will Holland wrote an article “Nintex Forms Pro-Tips” (see: https://threewill.com/nintex-forms-pro-tips/).
Here we are, over 5 years later, Will’s tips came in handy as I recently completed a project that used Nintex Forms 2016 (version 184.108.40.206).
I have a couple more tips to add to the list…
Plan Ahead with Mockups
Will said, “Easily, the most cumbersome part of the Nintex forms UI is the tedium of lining up your controls. You’ll spend an hour or so shifting labels and text fields around to your liking, just to realize that you left out a must-have input that belongs in the fifth row of your 100-field input form. You’ll have to make room for it by shifting the other 95 rows down enough to fit in the missing one.”
So true! Adding a field in the “middle” of your perfectly laid out input form is a bit tedious.
Tip: The trick I used was to use the form settings to increase the canvas height (in pixels) to give me room to move existing fields down on the page. I usually incremented the height by 200 pixels to provide enough space.
Group Your Controls Using Panels
Will said “With panels, if you ever find yourself needing to shift things around, you can select the panel and drag it around, moving all of the associated controls within it at once. It can really speed things up should you need it.”
It is so much easier to layout your form when using panels to group controls!
- I always leave a few pixels between the bottom of the panel and the bottom of the last control in the panel. This makes it a bit easier to select the control itself. Otherwise, you may accidentally select just the last control in the panel, and not the entire panel, when preparing to move the fields on the form.
- If you need to add a new control to an existing panel, make sure your new control is contained entirely within the panel. The trick I used (thanks Caroline Sosebee) is to select the control with the mouse and “wiggle it”, i.e., move it slightly within the panel and verify the background of the panel turns the “blue color”, indicating that your control is inside the panel.
Create a Rule Once and Apply as Needed
Will said, “With Nintex Forms, you can create two types of rules: formatting and validation. We use formatting rules to hide or show certain sections based on who the user is or their answer to another field on the form; we use validation rules to make fields required; sometimes conditionally. One mistake I’ve seen made with rules is that people will re-create the same rule for each individual control on the form.”
Tip: I had a problem in my form where certain rules were not working as expected. This community post Solved: Re: Nintex Forms rules not working – Nintex Community was the solution. And, guess what, they followed Will’s tip of sharing existing rules!
New Pro Tip: Why do my repeating section controls jump around?
I found that using Nintex formatting rules to Hide controls in a repeating section caused the controls to render incorrectly in the section when the controls transitioned from hidden to visible. The issue was easily repeatable, the controls X and Y coordinates would move in random, unpredictable, and unusable ways, sometimes overlapping existing controls. This seems to be a source of frustration in the Nintex Forms community, as denoted by the number of posts regarding this topic.
Tip: The workaround I ended up using was to use the Nintex formatting rule to Disable the field and not use Hide. It was a good compromise to get the form functional.
Like Will said, “Hopefully, these tips will help you out. If you find yourself needing guidance, I’d first recommend signing up at https://community.nintex.com. They have an active community, and I’ve certainly made liberal use of their forums. I’d also recommend checking out the Nintex Learning Center (https://learning.nintex.com) and their YouTube channel for training videos and How-To’s.”
Finally, you can always leave a comment below. Even if I can’t answer your specific question, I’ll do my best to respond.