Sometimes you’ll into situations where a SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2010 workflow is the only way to go in order to make something work. In May 2017, I gave a presentation at SharePoint Saturday Baltimore and shared the following slide of functions only possible by using a SharePoint Designer 2010 format workflow.
Unfortunately, you may have loads of conditions and stages already built in a SPD 2013 workflow by the time you realize you need some of this 2010-exclusive functionality. No need to fret, however, because we can start that necessary 2010 workflow from wherever we need to within our 2013 workflow, as if it were just another ordinary step.
Lookup columns aren’t friendly to a lot of things. Power BI reports, calculated columns, creating new items via workflow when both lists have lookup columns, if/then statements, etc. Especially when your lookup column is looking up to a list from another site, not the same subsite in which you’re working.
A previous scenario required that I create a new item in a different site’s list when conditions were met in the origin site’s list item. Both lists used the same lookup column, and I received the “lookup is in another web” error when trying to do a direct copy via workflow, from lookup column to lookup column. The solution ended up being creating a new item in a temporary, lookup-free list that received the lookup values just as text. Then SharePoint Designer copied those over to the final list, which received the text and happily converted it back to the appropriate lookup values. See the full solution here.
This post will focus on the same error message, but this time is triggered by a SharePoint Designer workflow in a different scenario where we just want to convert our lookup values to text so we can use them for various purposes.
To save you time, I also tried (and failed) at these potential solutions before finding success:
Setting workflow variables to the lookup values and trying to set the variables to text values, or use the variables in my if/then statements to create new text values (this defeats the purpose of using lookup columns, of course)
Using a number of combinations of Microsoft Flow and SharePoint Designer to get the data from the lookup column extracted then “pasted” back in as text
So let’s get to the solution. Feel free to comment with your scenario specifics – I’ve had a lot of experience with this error, and would be happy to help.
One of my favorite features of Power BI is the ability to have published reports automatically refresh data on a schedule. This is great for “setting and forgetting” your reports, knowing wherever you publish them they will be showing the most recent data for your clients. I feel like it used to be depending on your license, you could be limited to how frequently you can refresh (max of once per day), but you can refresh nonetheless. And this may have changed, as I couldn’t find (in my brief search) any confirming statement.
Item-level permissions come in handy for a number of situations. Here are some examples and food for thought:
Travel plans are submitted to a list, but only those in people columns (supervisor, director, traveler) are allowed to see or find the plan by search.
Allow “content owners” to edit documents, and everyone else to view only.
Allow non-admin individuals to set editing permissions for documents or list items by populating a people column
Using a SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow and an impersonation step, we can:
Add list item permissions
Inherit list item parent permissions
Remove list item permissions
Replace list item permissions
This tutorial will use the “replace list item permissions” action. Whenever you’re replacing permissions, you must remember to INCLUDE YOURSELF or admin individuals in the replacement permissions or you won’t be able to access the content or help with troubleshooting. Let’s begin!
The people column’s settings are multiple selection, people AND groups as can be seen here. This is absolutely fine (multiple selection, mixing of permission groups with individuals). You may just note the warning in red in the screenshot below:
“Earlier versions of client programs might not support a Person or Group field that allows multiple selections. Adding this field might block those programs from saving documents to this library.”
In your workflow, just make sure you’re returning your people column “As String” and not any of the semi-colon delimited options. That’s all there is to it. Publish the revision and run the workflow again (and you may need/wish to go in and end any workflows that errored out but are still “running”). Best of luck!
This tutorial works for any Microsoft-Flow connected social media platform, but we’ll specifically go through the steps for setting up a Twitter tweet and Facebook post submission system. We’ll be utilizing Microsoft Flow’s new “Approval” feature. Here’s our (and maybe your) scenario.
We want to allow broader participation in social media content, while still maintaining a close grip on the quality and management of our platforms. This is more inclusive, increasing engagement and also giving you more eyes and ears throughout the organization while maintaining control
Individuals will submit their ideas (can be via direct email to a list, a form, PowerApp, etc. – we’ll use a list)
Social media manager or team will approve or reject submissions which will then be automatically posted to the applicable social media network if approved. See bottom of post for additional challenges to enhance this system.
This is a fairly simple solution that takes a date column, compares it to another date and gives you an answer in years (or days, or whatever you want). You’ll need to already have date columns to work with, and if comparing the date to today (years of age, membership, service, etc.) you’ll need a today column (hidden from the view above). This previous post will help you rig a “today” column that is always accurate without needing to update list items manually. Of course all of the following solutions work for any two dates (i.e. day span of vacation request), I’m just sharing specific examples that would involve “Today”.
I’m excited to be a part of the speaker lineup next weekend at SPS Baltimore. If you’re nearby, be sure to register (it’s free!) and check it out on Saturday, May 20. At the time of this post, there’s just one ticket left! Here’s what you can expect from me:
Let Microsoft Flow and SharePoint Designer Workflows Do the Work
Your team members would appreciate getting some time back. Give it to them in ten minute increments here, thirty minutes there by using Microsoft Flow and SharePoint Designer to build them thoughtful workflows that range from simple one-steppers to more complex and conditional multi-stagers, even across site collections. We’ll cover specific HR and Accounting scenarios in this session based on real-case experience at KU Libraries, including automation of some onboarding and off-boarding processes, simple automated management of otherwise complex item-level permissions, travel plan submission and approval, receipt submission and reimbursement tracking and more all through utilizing workflows to save you and your colleagues time.
Perhaps you, like me, built an exciting Microsoft Flow workflow and let it go into the wild without much additional thought. But at some point, you drop a lookup column into the mix and your Flow stops working. It tells you the field is not supported in query, even if that specific field isn’t being utilized in the Flow. I believe this has something to do with REST, but we won’t dwell on the cause – let’s get to the workaround.
The scenario I’ll be using is my cross-site publishing alternative using Microsoft Flow where I’m basically copying data from list items in one site collection to create new list items in a different site collection. This is helpful when someone does some sort of data entry once, and other people are then entering much of the exact same data. This copies all of the overlapping data to a new list item for the second site collection to reduce duplication of work.
It sounds simple but with a lookup column in the destination list we get the error. For this I’ll be using SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Flow (of course) in combination, though you could certainly try it all in Microsoft Flow. I just find parts of the process simpler in SPD. And while your origin data may be different (MailChimp, Twitter, etc.), and your exact scenario may differ, this workaround should still have value in concept.
You may, at some point, find yourself working with calculations among dates, including “today’s date” which conceptually seems simple but requires a bit of work to function correctly. You may have even created a “today” column that defaults to “current date” or attempted a calculated column only to find that the date will not automatically update each day or that calculated columns cannot show dynamic data like that. Fret no more.