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SharePoint 2010 Workflow Basics - Actions (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 @ 10:09 AM

Workflow Basics – Actions

Steps, Conditions, and Actions are the building blocks for any workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010. 

Actions

Actions represent some processing you want to happen, such as Sending an Email, Checking in an Item, or Collecting Data from a User.

Actions can be run in parallel (performed at the same time) using a Parallel Block.

Actions are broken up into the following categories:

  • Core Actions
    • Mostly manipulation of a particular piece of information such as a variable or list field.
  • List Actions
    • Work on an entire list item at one time.
  • Task Actions
    • Manipulate the associated Tasks list and pauses the workflow until complete.
  • Document Set Actions
    • Work on complete document sets all at once.
  • Utility Actions
    • Let you perform functions such as working with string values.
  • Relational Actions
    • Includes one action – finding a user’s manager.

Core Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Add a Comment

Does not actually do anything – this allows you to place comments to describe what it is you’re doing in that area

Yes

Add Time to Date

Allows for addition or subtraction of Minutes, Hours, Days, Months, or Years to a Date field.

No

Do Calculation

Allows for simple arithmetic functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and determining a remainder on two values in the workflow.

No

Log to History List

Enables you to write items to the hidden History List – is very useful for showing where you are in a workflow process.  Use often.

No

Pause for Duration

Causes the workflow to wait a specified amount of time* before proceeding to the next action.

No

Pause Until Date

Causes the workflow to wait until a specified date and time* before proceeding to the next action.

No

Send an Email

Sends an HTML email to a user or set of users.

No

Send Document to Repository

Sends the document to another repository – for example another document library in a different site collection that functions as an archive.

Yes

Set Time Portion of Date/Time Field

Overrides the time portion of a Date/Time lookup value.  It leaves the Date the same but changes the time, and stores the result in a new variable.

No

Set Workflow Variable

Directly sets the value of a variable or Initiation Form Field.

No

Set Workflow Status

Sets the status of the workflow to Canceled, Approved, Rejected, or a custom status you define.

Yes

Stop Workflow

Stops the execution of the workflow immediately.

No


* The timer job that runs this usually runs every 5 minutes by default.  You will not get a precise amount of time, but rather that constitutes a minimum amount of time.

List Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Add List Item Permissions*

Specify Users and/or Groups and give them a specific level of permissions on any item in the site.

Yes

Check In Item

Checks in and sets Check In Comment.

No

Check Out Item

Locks an item to the person who performs action (Checks Out the document).

No

Copy List Item

Copies items between two compatible types of lists (i.e. doc lib to doc lib).

No

Create List Item

Creates a new item in any list in the site and returns the ID of the new list item into a variable.

No

Declare Record

Declares the current item as a record, which (depending on settings) will protect the record from being edited or deleted.

Yes

Delete Drafts

Deletes all minor versions (drafts) from the current item.

Yes

Delete Item

Removes the specified item from the list or library.

No

Delete Previous Versions

Deletes all versions that are not the current version of the item.

Yes

Discard Check Out Item

Undoes the check-out and reverts back to the state it was in before being checked out.

No

Inherit List Item Parent Permissions*

Inherit the permissions of the item’s immediate parent.

Yes

Remove List Item Permissions*

Specify Users and/or Groups and remove a specific level of permissions to any item on the site.

Yes

Replace List Item Permissions*

Replace the permission level of the specified item on the site.

Yes

Set Content Approval Status

Changes the status of the content approval of the current item and sets the comment.

No

Set Field in Current Item

Sets the value of the specified field to either a hard-coded value or a lookup value.

No

Undeclare Record

Undeclare the current item as a record – makes the item behave as any other items in the list or library.

Yes

Update List Item

Enables you to change the fields of an existing item in the site.

No

Wait for Change in Document Check Out Status

Waits for the document to be in a certain checkout state, such as Checked Out, Checked in, Unlocked by document editor, or Discarded.

Yes

Wait for Field change in Current Item

Pauses the workflow until a field in the current item matches a particular condition.

No


* Only available within an Impersonation Step.

Task Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Assign a Form to a Group

Lets you create a survey that everyone in a group must complete before the workflow continues to the next action.

No

Assign a To-do Item

Creates a standard task that must be completed before the workflow continues to the next action.

No

Collect Data from a User

Lets you query a single user with custom fields which the user must complete before the workflow continues to the next action.  The ID of the task created is assigned to a workflow variable.

No

Start Approval Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Approval workflow template.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes

Start Custom Task Process

Similar to the Start Approval Process action, this however lets you define the process from scratch.

Yes

Start Feedback Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Collect Feedback workflow template.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes


Utility Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Extract Substring from End of String

Copies the specified number of characters from the end of a string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring from Index of String

Copies a part of the string from a certain place within the string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring from Start of String

Copies the specified number of characters from the start of a string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring of String from Index with Length

Copies a part of the string from a certain place with a certain length within the string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Find Interval Between Dates

Determines an interval in Hours, Minutes, or Days, between two dates and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes


Relational Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Look up a Manager of a User

Retrieves the manager of the specified user from the User Profile database.

Yes

 

Document Set Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Capture a Version of the Document Set

Creates a new version for the Document Set.

Yes

Send Document Set to Repository

Sends the document set to another repository – for example a document library in another site collection.

Yes

Set Content Approval Status for the Document Set

Changes the content approval status and sets a comment.

Yes

Start Document Set Approval Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Approval workflow template, which works on an entire Document Set.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes

~Sue

Topics: SharePoint Designer, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Workflow