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Creating Custom SharePoint Workflows with SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Workflows are huge. The ability to automate a business process, such as submitting a document for approval, ultimately saves time and money. All you need to do is setup the initial Workflow and SharePoint will take over from there.

In Section 8 of the SharePoint 2013 Complete Training course I demonstrate using one of the out of the box SharePoint Workflows, the Approval Workflow. This Workflow is great for a simple template based Workflow, but what if you had different scenarios for document approvals. For example; a document that was submitted for Project A should be approved by Project A’s manager and a document that was submitted for Project B should be routed to Project B’s manager and so on.

The out of the box template based SharePoint workflows are great but limited in logic.

In Steps SharePoint Designer

Through SharePoint Designer you can build custom, logic based Workflows. If this sounds interesting to you I have just created a new section in the SharePoint 2013 Complete Training course that covers creating a simple SharePoint Designer Workflow. You can find it in the Bonus Section, entitled: SharePoint Designer 2013 Custom Workflows, towards the end of the course.

After you get down watching the demo of building a simple, yet dynamic, SharePoint Designer Workflow, come back here and learn how to build a more complex workflow with logic based conditions.

Class Improvement Request Workflow

Your SharePoint site contains a list that users will fill out in order to submit Class Improvement Requests. Currently the only way a request is fulfilled is the appropriate people need to visit the SharePoint list to find the request, get the details and move forward with it. This manual process is both time consuming and inefficient. You decide a custom Workflow built in SharePoint Designer could automate the process, sending emails to appropriate people in the proper order. For example; if a request comes through for improvements to the classroom Heating/Air, then an email should be sent to the Training Center Contact and then on to the Classroom Maintenance team. Both parties will receive an email from SharePoint assigning them a task to approve or reject the request.

SharePoint Designer Workflow

The Workflow is broken into two sections.

Section 1

Section 1 is the first part of the Workflow and performs the following actions

  1. Assigns a Task and sends an email to the person selected as the Training Center Contact in the list item.

  2. The task asks the person to review the item and ACCEPT or REJECT the item.

  3. Once the task is completed it then moves to the next action

  4. Logs information to the Workflow History list

  5. Logs the tasks outcome to the history list (ACCPETED or REJECTED)

  6. After the tasks is completed and the history list is updated then there is some logic built that checks whether it should move to the next state, Stage 2, or End the Workflow.

  7. This is based on whether or not the Previous task was APPROVED or REJECTED

Section 2

  1. If the original task is APPROVED Section 2 will start out by running a conditional check to see which type of request was made

  2. If the current items field, Improvement Type, is equal to “Heating/Air” then the Workflow will build another task for the manager responsible for “Heating/Air”

  3. The task and email is then sent to the appropriate person.

  4. Once the task is approved the Workflow will then log to the history list, updated the Workflow’s status and End the Workflow

  5. Multiple conditions can be built into this section for each Improvement Type, using the Else block of the IF condition.

Building a Workflow like the above example will ultimately save you time and money. Get SharePoint to do all the work for you using custom SharePoint Designer Workflows.