Troubleshoot workflow errors

Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is one of the tools among SharePoint Products and Technologies that you can use to create workflows. One of the unique features of creating workflows in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is that you can check the workflow for errors as you design it.

This article describes how to check workflows for errors in Office SharePoint Designer 2007. You can also find troubleshooting information for workflow error messages that appear in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, and for error messages that appear in the browser for workflows created in Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

General information


Error messages that appear in SharePoint Designer


Error messages that appear in the browser


Other troubleshooting scenarios


The truth about troubleshooting workflow errors

Workflow is one of the most complex and powerful features in SharePoint Products and Technologies. You can use a workflow to quickly add conditional logic to your site or application without writing any code. As powerful as they are, workflows are also sensitive to any problem in the user environment, particularly the state of list items that a workflow operates upon and the server settings that govern workflows. Needless to add, when a problem is detected, workflows fail. The most common reasons for workflow failure are a defect in the workflow design, network issues, or restricted user permissions, in the broadest sense. Because of the high dependency on all of these factors and the complexity with which workflows are built, troubleshooting workflows can sometimes get challenging.

Refer to the troubleshooting information in this article as a form of guidance. This article states only the common causes of workflow errors. This is because many causes of workflow errors may be unique to your user environment. To resolve a workflow error, we recommend that you also check for other problems in your environment if you think that the nature of the problem is uncommon. The later section Where to get more help? also points you to useful resources for getting more help on troubleshooting workflow errors.

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View workflow errors in SharePoint Designer

When you design a workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, it is important to check the workflow for missing or invalid data. Otherwise it will not compile successfully. In the Workflow Designer, click Check Workflow. If the workflow is missing data or if it contains invalid data, there are many ways in which Office SharePoint Designer 2007 lets you know, as shown here.

Error indicators in the Workflow Designer

Callout 1 Click the Check Workflow button to validate the workflow. If a workflow has errors, the following message appears.

Warning message when compiling a workflow that contains errors

You can click OK to save and close the workflow if you want to work on it later. This only saves the workflow in a draft state. As mentioned earlier, to compile a workflow, you must first resolve the errors. It is a good practice to click Check Workflow before you click Finish to compile the workflow.

Callout 2 A red hyperlink indicates that a condition or action is missing a required value. Click the hyperlink to enter the appropriate parameter.
Callout 3 The error icon signifies that something must be configured before you start the workflow.
Callout 4 When you rest the mouse pointer over the error icon, a ScreenTip tells you how to correct the error.
Callout 5 Under Workflow Steps, an error icon next to a workflow step indicates that the step contains an error. Click that step to view the errors.

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View workflow errors in the browser

Sometimes workflows that compile successfully in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 later fail to run on the server. A number of reasons can cause a workflow to fail — for example, there may be a workflow that creates a new item in a library and this library might have been deleted, or your permissions may have recently changed, thus preventing your access to the list or site. When a workflow fails to complete successfully, its final status appears in the column with that workflow's name, in the list to which the workflow is attached, as shown here.

Error indicator in the workflow column for an item

In addition to Completed, a final status you might see in this column are Error Occurred, Stopped, or Failed on start (retrying).

Clicking this status link takes you to the Workflow Status page, where a brief description of the error appears in the Workflow History section, as shown here.

Error description in the Workflow History of the item

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Restart a workflow after troubleshooting

To restart a workflow after troubleshooting, the recommended approach is to set the workflow to start manually, and then start the workflow manually in the browser. If your objective is to solely test a workflow, this way you don't have to create a lot of extra list items just to trigger a workflow that is configured to start when an item is created.

If the previous instance of a workflow resulted in an error, you must cancel the workflow before you attempt to start it again. For more information on how to cancel a workflow, see the article Cancel a workflow in progress.

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Where to get more help?

Get more help on workflows by searching the forum and asking your own question:

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Error messages that appear in SharePoint Designer

This section lists the workflow error messages that appear in Office SharePoint Designer 2007. The probable cause of the error and what corrective action to take are given for each error message.

 Note   Some errors can be resolved only by the server administrator, so corrective information specific to a server administrator is also given for some error messages.

(0, 0) Activity 'ID3' validation failed: Property "Condition" has invalid value. Condition expression is invalid. The type: "WFLib.StringConditions, WFLib, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=41c356f81cbff68b" is not authorized for use in Workflow Rules or Conditions)

This workflow compilation error appears on the Advanced tab of the Workflow Error dialog box.

 Note   The ID and the assembly information may vary for each instance of the error message.

Cause

  • One or more actions used in the workflow reference assemblies are not listed in the safe list in the web.config file.
  • One or more actions used in the workflow reference assemblies are listed as unsafe in the safe list in the web.config file.

Resolution

A server administrator should open the web.config file and make sure that the assemblies are listed correctly in the file. To do this:

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, open the workflow in the Workflow Designer and make a note of the actions and conditions used in the workflow.
  2. On the server, open the .ACTIONS file and note the assemblies and type used for each action and condition. The path to the .ACTIONS file is:

drive\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\%version number%\TEMPLATE\%language LCID%\workflow

  1. On the server, open the web.config file from the root directory in Notepad or any other text editor, and verify that the types for those workflow actions and conditions are listed in the safe assemblies section of the safe list.

 Note   Types referenced as safe can use wildcards (*) as type names, and assemblies may or may not allow some types. Whenever a type is referenced both as safe and unsafe in an assembly (even by wildcard), it still means that the type is unsafe. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure that the type for the given action or condition is explicitly referenced as safe in the safe assemblies list.

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A workflow with the name Workflow Name already exists

Cause

You have entered a name that is already in use by another workflow in the site.

Resolution

Enter a unique name for the workflow. Workflow names must be unique at the site level.

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Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The workflow files were saved but cannot be run.

Cause

  • You may have inadvertently canceled the workflow compilation process.
  • The server-side validation for the workflow was unsuccessful because of errors in the workflow.

Resolution

  • If you have inadvertently canceled the workflow compilation, click Finish in the Workflow Designer to compile the workflow again.
  • Otherwise, make sure the workflow design uses valid data and logic.

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Failed to load the configuration file for the workflow

Cause

One possible cause is that the XML configuration file of the workflow that you are trying to open contains invalid XOML markup.

Resolution

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the Folder List, click the plus sign (+) next to the Workflows library to expand it, and then click the plus sign (+) next to the folder of your workflow to expand it.
  2. Double-click the configuration file (Workflow_name.xoml.wfconfig.xml) to open it.
  3. Right-click anywhere on the page, and then click Verify well-formed XML.
  4. Correct any errors and save the file.
  5. Reopen the workflow.

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Failed to load the workflow

Cause

One possible cause is that the workflow rules file of the workflow that you are trying to open contains invalid XML markup.

Resolution

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the Folder List, click the plus sign (+) next to the Workflows library to expand it, and then click the plus sign (+) next to the folder of your workflow to expand it.
  2. Double-click the rules file to open it.

The rules file name is typically Workflow_name.xoml.rules.

  1. Right-click anywhere on the page, and then click Verify well-formed XML.
  2. Correct any errors; then save and close the file.

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SharePoint Designer encountered an error generating the initiation form

Cause

You may have inadvertently canceled the compilation process of a workflow that has initiation parameters in it.

Resolution

Click Finish to compile the workflow again.

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The root activity type is invalid

Cause

Assembly information for one or more assemblies referencing a type is missing from the safe list in the web.config file.

Resolution

  • On the server, revert the web.config file in the root directory to the original version. This may require a clean install of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

---OR---

  1. Make sure that the following markup is present in your web.config file. You can copy the necessary sections or the entire markup as necessary.
<authorizedType Assembly="System.Workflow.Activities, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" Namespace="System.Workflow.*" TypeName="*" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="System.Workflow.ComponentModel, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" Namespace="System.Workflow.*" TypeName="*" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow" TypeName="SPWorkflowActivationProperties" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow" TypeName="SPWorkflowTaskProperties" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow" TypeName="SPWorkflowHistoryEventType" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions" TypeName="*" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="Guid" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="DateTime" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="Boolean" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="Double" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="String" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Collections" TypeName="Hashtable" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Collections" TypeName="ArrayList" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Diagnostics" TypeName="DebuggableAttribute" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Runtime.CompilerServices" TypeName="CompilationRelaxationsAttribute" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Runtime.CompilerServices" TypeName="RuntimeCompatibilityAttribute" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="Int32" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="TimeSpan" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Collections.ObjectModel" TypeName="Collection`1" Authorized="True" />
      <authorizedType Assembly="System.Workflow.Runtime, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" Namespace="System.Workflow.Runtime" TypeName="CorrelationToken" Authorized="True" />
  1. Save the web.config file.
  2. Restart Internet Information Services (IIS) by using the IISReset command-line utility. Use the command prompt iisreset / noforce.

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The step name you have chosen is not valid. Please confirm that it is non-empty and that it doesn't match any existing step names

Cause

You have either left the Step Name box empty or the step name that you have entered matches another step name in the workflow.

Resolution

Enter a unique step name in the Step Name box for that step.

Enter the step name for the workflow step in the Workflow Designer

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There is already a list, survey or document library with the same name

This message may appear when you have entered a name for a custom task form in the Custom Task Wizard. You use this wizard when configuring the three task actions: Assign a Form to a Group, Assign a To-do Item, and Collect Data from a User.

Cause

  • The name of the custom task form is already in use by another custom task form.
  • The name of the custom form matches the name of the workflow.

Resolution

  • Enter a unique name for the custom task form.
  • If the custom task form in the task action has the same name as the workflow, delete the task action and then add it again. Make sure to enter a unique name for the custom task form.

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This action requires that 'Content approval' is enabled for the current list

This error message is displayed as a ScreenTip when you rest the mouse pointer on the error icon, as shown in the earlier section View workflow errors in SharePoint Designer.

Cause

You are trying to set the Approval Status field for a list or library item in a list or library that does not have the Content Approval feature turned on.

Resolution

Turn on Content Approval for the list or library. Do the following:

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the Folder List, right-click the list or library, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Select the Require content approval for submitted items check box.
  4. Click OK.

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This branch must have a condition

This message appears with an error icon next to an action in the Workflow Designer.

Cause

In a step with conditional branches, every branch except the last one must have a condition. When the last branch does not have a condition, it acts as the "else" part of an if/else statement: The workflow will run any of the other branches if those conditions are satisfied; else, it will run the action in the last branch, which has no condition.

Resolution

  • Add a condition to the appropriate branch in the step. To do this, click Conditions in the branch, and select a condition from the list.
  • Move the branch without a condition to the end of the step. To do this, click the down arrow in the upper-right corner of the appropriate branch, and then click Move Branch Down. Repeat until the branch appears at the bottom of the step.

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This branch must have two or more actions or be changed to run sequentially

This message appears with an error icon next to an action in the Workflow Designer.

Cause

The workflow is set to run the actions in parallel, but there is one only action in the branch.

Resolution

Either add an action to the appropriate branch, or change the workflow to run the actions sequentially:

  • To add an action to the appropriate branch in the workflow, click Actions, and then click an action in the list, or click More Actions to see the full list.
  • To make the workflow run actions sequentially, click the down arrow in the upper-right corner of the appropriate branch, and then click Run All Actions in Sequence.

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This web site does not support workflows created by SharePoint Designer

Cause

  • Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is unable to detect that the server for your site is running either Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
  • You do not have the permissions necessary to create workflows.

Resolution

  • Exit and then start Office SharePoint Designer 2007. If you are still unable to create workflows, it is possible either that the server is unavailable, or that the server is not running Office SharePoint Server 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Contact your server administrator for assistance.
  • The site owner should verify that the affected user has been added to the list of users who have permissions to the Workflows library. If not, add the user to the list:
    1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the Folder List, right-click the Workflows library, and then click Properties.
    2. Click the Security tab.
    3. Click Manage permissions using the browser.
    4. In the browser, on the Permissions: Workflows page, click New, and then click Add Users.
    5. Add the user to the list.

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Unable to associate the workflow

This is a workflow compilation error.

Cause

The workflow folder for the current workflow is not inside the Workflows folder in the Folder List and has probably been moved.

Resolution

Locate the workflow folder in the Folder List and move it back to the Workflows folder.

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Unable to load workflow actions from the server

Cause

  • You or a developer in your organization may have added custom activities to a workflow, and in the process, you may have entered inaccurate or invalid XML markup in the file.
  • The WSS.ACTIONS file is corrupt.

 Note   Every time that you create a custom action, we recommend that you always first create a copy of the WSS.ACTIONS file in the same location as the WSS.ACTIONS file. Then add the rules and parameters of the custom action to the copy of the WSS.ACTIONS file. You should create one such copy of WSS.ACTIONS for every custom action or condition. This way, if the .ACTIONS file with the information for the custom action were to get corrupted, you can always revert the file to the original version, and then re-add all the information for the custom action.

Resolution

A server administrator should fix the invalid XML markup in the .ACTIONS file. On the front-end Web server running either Office SharePoint Server 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the appropriate .ACTIONS file. The path is:

drive\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\%version number%\TEMPLATE\%language LCID%\workflow

  1. Open the .ACTIONS file in Office SharePoint Designer 2007.
  2. Right-click anywhere in the XML file, and then click Verify well-formed XML.
  3. Correct any errors and then save the file.
  4. Restart Internet Information Services (IIS) by using the IISReset command-line utility. Use the command prompt iisreset / noforce.
  5. Repeat this procedure for all other front-end Web servers, if necessary.

If the above method does not solve the problem, try the following steps:

  1. Revert the WSS.ACTIONS file to the original version.
  2. Create a copy of the WSS.ACTIONS file in the same location and add the custom action information.

Repeat the above step for every custom action.

 Note   Every time that you create a custom action, we recommend that you always first create a copy of the WSS.ACTIONS file in the same location as the WSS.ACTIONS file. Then add the rules and parameters of the custom action to the copy of the WSS.ACTIONS file. You should create one such copy of WSS.ACTIONS for every custom action or condition. This way, if the .ACTIONS file with the information for the custom action were to get corrupted, you can always revert the file to the original version, and then re-add all the information for the custom action.

If the WSS.ACTIONS file is corrupt, revert the WSS.ACTIONS file to the original version.

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Unexpected error on server

This is a workflow compilation error.

Cause

You may have added some new entries to the safe assemblies list in the web.config file. One or more assemblies may have invalid strong names.

Resolution

Open the web.config file in Notepad or any text editor, and correct the assembly that has the invalid strong name.

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User-defined workflows have been disabled by the SharePoint administrator. User-defined workflows will be unable to run

Cause

You cannot create custom workflows for this site because custom workflows are disabled on the server.

Resolution

The server administrator need to enable custom workflows for the site. This requires permissions to the Central Administration site:

  1. Open the Central Administration site that manages this site.
  2. Click the Application Management tab on the top link bar.
  3. Under Workflow Management, click Workflow Settings.
  4. In the User-defined workflows section, click Yes.
  5. Click OK.

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When setting the workflow to automatically start, you should ensure there are default values for all of your initiation parameters

Cause

This message appears when you configure a workflow to start automatically and that workflow uses an initiation form. If the workflow starts automatically instead of manually, users will not have the opportunity to enter initiation parameters in the initiation form when they start the workflow.

If you have not specified default values, the workflow simply uses its own default values, such as 0 for Number, Yes for Boolean, and a blank value for Date pickers, Choice fields, and text boxes.

Resolution

To enter default values for the initiation parameters in the workflow, do the following:

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, open the workflow (File menu, Open Workflow command).
  2. In the Workflow Designer, click Initiation.
  3. In the Workflow Initiation Parameters dialog box, click a parameter, and then click Modify.
  4. In the Modify Field dialog box, click Next.
  5. Enter a default value, and then click Finish.

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Workflows need to be associated with a SharePoint list. This site contains no lists. Before you can create a workflow, you need to add a list to the site.

Cause

You are attempting to create a workflow that is not attached to a list. Every workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 must be attached to one list or library.

Resolution

On the first page of the Workflow Designer, click a list or library in the drop-down list, and then proceed. If the drop-down list is empty, you must first create a list or library in the site.

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You cannot create an item in this current list, because it will start another instance of the same workflow. Clear the Automatically start this workflow when a new item is created checkbox to fix this problem.

This message appears with an error icon next to a list action in the Workflow Designer.

Cause

You are trying to design a workflow that will create an item in the list to which the workflow is attached. If a user creates an item in that list and automatically starts the workflow, the workflow creates another item, which results in another instance of the workflow. This scenario can cause the workflow to run in a continuous loop.

Resolution

  • Use another list in the action that is different from the list attached to the workflow.
  • Attach the workflow to a different list.
  • On the first page of the Workflow Designer, clear the Automatically start this workflow when a new item is created check box, and select the Allow this workflow to be manually started from an item check box.

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You cannot use a task action in this workflow, because it will start another instance of the same workflow. Clear the Automatically start this workflow when a new item is created checkbox to fix this problem.

This message appears with an error icon next to a task action in the Workflow Designer.

Cause

You have used one of the task actions (Assign a Form to a Group, Assign a To-do Item, or Collect Data from a User) in a workflow that is attached to the Tasks list, and have also configured the workflow to start automatically when a new item is created. If the workflow starts when a user creates a task in the Tasks list, the workflow creates another task, which results in another instance of the workflow. This scenario can cause the workflow to run in a continuous loop.

Resolution

  • Attach the workflow to a different list.
  • On the first page of the Workflow Designer, clear the Automatically start this workflow when a new item is created check box, and select the Allow this workflow to be manually started from an item check box.

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You must select a list to associate this workflow with in order to proceed

This message appears when a workflow is not associated with a list on the first page of the Workflow Designer.

Cause

The cause can be any of the following:

  • The workflow configuration file for this workflow may have been deleted.
  • The association information in the workflow configuration file may have been deleted.
  • If the workflow was previously associated to a list, the list may have changed or it doesn't exist anymore.
  • You may have attempted to open a workflow's custom action in Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

Resolution

If you have opened a custom action, close the window. Otherwise, on the first page of the Workflow Designer, click a list or library in the drop-down list, and then proceed.

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You specified identical destination filenames for some of the files you are trying to copy. Make sure all destination files have unique names and try again.

This message appears when you attempt to compile a workflow that:

  • Is set to start manually.
  • Includes a task action where the name of the task is identical to the name of the workflow.

Cause

When you compile a workflow, Office SharePoint Designer 2007 saves the initiation form (Workflow_name.aspx) and the custom task form (Task_name.aspx) to the same workflow folder. A workflow will not compile successfully if these forms have the same file name because two files in the same folder cannot have the same file name.

Resolution

Rename the task in the workflow:

  1. In the task action, click the link that opens the Custom Task Wizard.
  2. Click OK in the warning message about how changing the custom task may break running instances of the workflow.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Enter a different name in the Name field. Make sure that the name you enter is different from the name of the workflow.

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Error messages that appear in the browser

This section lists workflow errors that appear in the browser and that are specific to workflows that were created in Office SharePoint Designer 2007. The probable cause of the error and what corrective action to take are given for each error message.

For information on where to view workflow error messages in the browser, see the earlier section View workflow errors in the browser.

An error has occurred in the Approval process

Cause

The workflow is probably trying to set the Approval Status field of an item in a list that does not have the Content Approval feature enabled.

Resolution

You must turn on Content Approval for the list or library that is attached to the current workflow. Do the following:

  1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the Folder List, right-click the list or library, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Select the Require content approval for submitted items check box.
  4. Click OK.

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Document checked out

Cause

The workflow is trying to perform invalid operations on an already checked out item, such as checking it out. Also, workflows cannot run on items that are checked out.

Resolution

Make sure that the document is checked in.

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Document must be checked out

Cause

The workflow is trying to perform an operation on a document that requires it to be checked out. For example, the workflow is trying to check in a document that is already checked in.

Resolution

  • Make sure that the document is checked out.
  • Check if the list settings specify that the document must be checked out before it can be edited:
    1. View the list or library in the browser.
    2. On the Settings menu, click List Settings or Library Settings.
    3. Under General Settings, click Versioning Settings.
    4. In the Require Check Out section, note the selected option.

If the option is set to Yes so that checkout is required, add a condition to your workflow that checks whether the Checked Out To field is empty. If the field is not empty, the document is checked out, so the workflow can continue. If the field is empty, add the Check Out Item action to the workflow, and then perform the appropriate action after the document is checked out.

 Note   It is a best practice to verify whether a list or library item needs to be checked out before designing a workflow that makes changes to that item, such as updating or deleting. This will help you determine whether the workflow must to check out an item before running a particular action on that item.

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Error checking in a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • The document in the list may be in an incorrect state — for example, the item may already be checked in.
  • The workflow lookups in the Check In Item action references values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is currently acting upon may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Make sure the item is in the correct state in order for the workflow to use the item. For example, if the workflow is trying to check in a document, ensure that the item is checked out. If possible, add a condition to the workflow that determines whether an item is checked out, then add an action that checks in the item, and then have the workflow perform the appropriate actions after the item is checked in.
  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Check In Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item exists that the workflow was trying to check in.

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Error checking out a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • The document in the list may be in an incorrect state — for example, the item may already be checked out.
  • The workflow lookups in the Check Out Item action references values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is currently acting upon may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Make sure the item is in the correct state in order for the workflow to use the item. For example, if the workflow is trying to check out an item, ensure that the item is checked in. If possible, add a condition to the workflow that determines whether an item is checked out, then add an action that checks in the item, and then have the workflow perform the appropriate actions after the item is checked in.
  • Open the current workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Check Out Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item exists that the workflow was trying to check out.

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Error copying a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • There is a conflict between a field in the item that is being copied and a field in the destination list. For example, a field in an item in List A does not match the possible values of a field in List B because of a conflict in the character limits allowed by each field.
  • The item that is being copied may have an attachment, and the list where the item is being copied to does not support attachments.
  • The workflow lookups in the Copy List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • The lists referenced by the Copy list item action don't have matching columns or column properties. For an item to be copied correctly, the fields in the original item should match the fields in the destination list. For example, you cannot copy an item from Announcements to Shared Documents because the lists do not have corresponding columns or column properties.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is currently acting upon may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Make sure that the information type of the fields in the source and destination list match. For example, if there is a field of the Date information type in the original item, the corresponding field in the destination list should also be of the Date information type.
  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Copy List Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item exists that the workflow was trying to copy.

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Error creating a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • A field in the current item or in another list is being mapped to a field in the created item, and the information type or format of these fields conflict. For example, a field in an item in List A does not match the possible values of a field in List B because of a conflict in the character limits allowed by each field. Or perhaps a field being mapped is a Person and Group field that allows a group value, but the corresponding field in the created item in the destination list does not accept group values.
  • The workflow lookups in the Create List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is currently acting upon may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Make sure that the information types match for any fields being mapped to each other. For example, if a field of the Date information type in the current item is being mapped to a field in the created item, the corresponding field in the created item should also be of the Date information type.
  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Create List Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item that the workflow is currently acting upon exists in the site.

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Error deleting a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • The workflow lookups in the Delete List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is currently acting upon may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Create List Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item that the workflow is currently acting upon exists in the site.

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Error discarding the checkout of a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • The list item is in an incorrect state. For example, the item is required to be checked out for the workflow to discard the checkout, but the document may be checked in.
  • The workflow lookups in the Discard Check Out Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item for which the workflow is currently trying to discard checkout may have changed or doesn't exist.

Resolution

  • Make sure the list item is in the correct state. For example, if the workflow is trying to discard a checkout, make sure that the document is checked out. You can add a condition that determines whether the Checked Out By field is empty. If the field is not empty, the item is checked out, so the workflow can discard the checkout. If the field is empty, the workflow can skip the Discard Check Out Item action.
  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Discard Check Out Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item that the workflow is currently acting upon exists in the site.

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Error updating a list item

Cause

A few of the most common causes are:

  • A field in the current item or in another list is being mapped to a field in the item being updated, and the information type or format of these fields conflict. For example, a field in an item in List A does not match the possible values of a field in List B because of a conflict in the character limits allowed by each field. Or perhaps a field being mapped is a Person and Group field that allows a group value, but the corresponding field in the item being updated does not accept group values.
  • The workflow lookups in the Update List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.
  • Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.
  • The item that the workflow is trying to update may have changed or doesn't exist.
  • The item may be checked out by another user.

Resolution

  • Make sure that the information type of the fields in the source and destination list match. For example, if a field of the Date information type in the current item is mapped to a field in the updated item, the corresponding field in the destination list should also be of the Date information type.
  • Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Update List Item action point to correct values.
  • If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.
  • Verify that the item exists that the workflow is trying to update.
  • Make sure that the item is checked in.

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Failed on start

This message is displayed as a link in the workflow column for the item on which the workflow failed to run.

Cause

If the Workflow History list displays the error description Cancelled by administrator, a known issue in workflows included in a site template may have caused this.

Resolution

  • If there are any initialization parameters or task actions in the affected workflow, delete them.
  • Do the following:
    1. In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, in the folder for that workflow, double-click the workflow configuration file to open it.

The workflow configuration file is named Workflow_name.xoml.wfconfig.xml.

  1. Locate the string that refers to RulesVersion, and modify the version to v1.0.

 Note   The string RulesVersion only appears when there are conditions in the workflow.

  1. Export the site as a site template. Find a link to more information about saving a site as a site template in the See Also section.
  1. Import the site template to create a new site.

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Failed on start (retrying)

This error may appear when you run a workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 that uses custom activities created in Visual Studio.

Cause

The cause could be any of the following:

  • The workflow assembly referenced in the workflow template file cannot be found in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC).

 Note   This is only applicable to workflows that have custom activities built in Visual Studio.

  • The custom workflow action or the condition assembly referenced in the corresponding custom . ACTIONS file cannot be found in the GAC.
  • The custom workflow action or the condition assembly referenced in the corresponding custom .ACTIONS file has an assembly with an incorrect strong name. Assembly strong names are case-sensitive.
  • The custom workflow action or the condition assembly referenced in the corresponding custom .ACTIONS file references a type that is not listed in the safe list in the web.config file.
  • The custom workflow action or the condition assembly referenced in the corresponding custom .ACTIONS file references a type that is listed as unsafe in the safe list in the web.config file.

Resolution

If the affected workflow has out-of-the-box actions or conditions:

  1. Search all .ACTIONS files to get a list of assemblies and the types referenced in the assemblies that are used to define the actions and conditions.
  2. Ensure that the assembly version matches its reference in the GAC.
  3. Ensure that the strong names of the assemblies are correct. You have to verify the assembly name against the public key token against what you find in the GAC. Then open the code file (for example, the .cs file) to ensure that the namespace and type names used for the functions and the names are correct.
  4. Ensure that the web.config file has an entry for every assembly and corresponding type used to define an action or condition, that the entry sets the type as authorized, and that no other entries set it as unauthorized (unless it is unsafe, in which case the action or condition should be removed from the workflow instead).

If the affected workflow has custom activities built in Visual Studio:

  1. Search the workflow.xml file for the assembly strong name and ensure that the exact version of the assembly exists in the GAC.
  2. Open the code-behind file for the workflow and ensure that the workflow class name and namespace are correctly referenced.

 Note   For the new changes to be applied, you may have to remove and add the feature again.

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List item not found

Cause

  • The list item that is supposed to be used by the workflow to carry out a particular action is not available. The list item may have changed or doesn't exist.
  • The workflow is trying to match values (lookups or fields) in the condition, and one or both of these values may have changed or don't exist.

Resolution

  • Open the current workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the values specified in the condition point to existing values.
  • Also verify that the lookups in the following actions in your workflow, if any, point to correct values:
    • Check In Item
    • Check Out Item
    • Copy List Item
    • Delete Item
    • Update List Item
    • Discard Checkout Item

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Missing file name. A value must be specified for "FileLeafRef" in ItemProperties.

Cause

This error usually occurs when there are lookups in the workflow pointing to items or values that don't exist or have changed.

Resolution

Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the workflow point to correct values.

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The data source control failed to execute the insert command

This error occurs when you attempt to start a workflow.

Cause

  • You are viewing the start page of a workflow that starts manually in the browser from Office SharePoint Designer 2007 (by pressing F12, for example) and you are attempting to start the workflow from this start page. The workflow start page is simply a preview of how the page will render in the browser. This page does not have the necessary parameters in the URL to start the workflow.
  • Another user is attempting to start the same workflow at the same time.

Resolution

  • Start the workflow from the site in the browser.
  • Try starting the workflow again.

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The e-mail message cannot be sent. Make sure the outgoing e-mail settings for the server are configured correctly.

Cause

Incorrect outgoing e-mail settings on the server may have caused this problem.

Resolution

To verify the outgoing e-mail settings on the server, do the following:

  1. Open the Central Administration site that manages the site.
  2. Click the Operations tab on the top link bar.
  3. Under Topology and Services, click Outgoing e-mail settings.
  4. Verify that the server settings for Outbound SMTP server are configured correctly.
  5. Click OK.

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Unexpected error occurred

An anonymous user sees the error message Unexpected error occurred in the browser when trying to create or update a list item.

Cause

The list or library probably grants anonymous users the permissions to add or edit items, and a workflow attached to that list or library is configured to start automatically when an item is created or changed, but a workflow cannot be started by an unauthenticated user.

Resolution

Either configure the workflow to start manually, or block anonymous access to the list or library, thus making it impossible for anonymous users to trigger workflows by creating or editing items.

  • To set the workflow to start manually, open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, select the Allow this workflow to be manually started from an item check box, and clear the other check boxes.
  • To turn off anonymous access to the site so that anonymous users cannot add or modify items to lists, do the following:
    1. In the browser, open the list or library where you want to turn off anonymous access.
    2. On the Settings menu, click List Settings or Library Settings.
    3. In the Permissions and Management column, click Permissions for this list or Permissions for this library.

 Note   The Settings menu is not available on the Permissions page if your list or library is inheriting permissions from its parent site. If your list or library is inheriting permissions from the parent site, you must first break the inheritance from the parent site. To do so, on the Actions menu, click Edit Permissions, and then click OK to continue. Otherwise, skip to step 4.

  1. On the Permissions page, on the Settings menu, click Anonymous Access.
  1. On the Change Anonymous Access Settings page, clear all check boxes.

 Note   To help protect your library, only the View Items permission is available for libraries.

  1. Click OK.

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Update conflict

Cause

The item that the workflow is trying to update is currently being updated, possibly by another workflow.

Resolution

Try running the workflow again.

 Note   If the previous instance of the workflow resulted in an error, contact the server administrator to cancel the workflow, before you attempt to run the workflow. For more information on canceling workflows, see Cancel a workflow in progress.

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Other troubleshooting scenarios

This section lists troubleshooting scenarios which may not display an error message.

Red hyperlinks appear in the Workflow Designer in Office SharePoint Designer 2007

Sometimes red hyperlinks appear when you click Check Workflow in the Workflow Designer.

Cause

Red hyperlinks indicate that you have not entered a required parameter in an action or a condition. A workflow will not compile if required parameters in actions and conditions do not have values.

Resolution

Click the red hyperlink and enter the appropriate value.

 Note   When the field *Email this message* appears as a red hyperlink in the Send an Email action, verify that you have entered values in the To and Subject fields.

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User is unable to enter values in an action in the Workflow Designer in Office SharePoint Designer 2007

When you click a link in an action to enter appropriate values, the values are not displayed in the action.

Cause

There is an incompatibility between the .ACTIONS file for the affected action and the assembly that the action references.

Resolution

  1. Open the code file (the .cs or .vb file) for the assembly and ensure that the function signature in the .ACTIONS file is as same as the reference in the assembly.
  2. On your computer, clear the proxy assemblies cache at the following location:

%Drive\%Documents and Settings%\%user%\Application Data\Microsoft\Sharepoint Designer\proxyassemblycache

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Workflows set to start automatically do not compile in Office SharePoint Designer 2007

Workflows that are set to start automatically do not run when a new item is added or changed. No error message appears in this situation.

Cause

  • The user who created or changed the item was logged in with the user name System Account. The user name System Account cannot start workflows that are set to run automatically when an item is created or changed.
  • The item was added to the list through e-mail. List settings provide the option for users to send e-mail messages directly to the list. When users send messages to a list, the sender name is always the System Account user.

Resolution

  • Sign in as a user other than System Account, and add the item directly to the list or update an item to start the workflow.
  • Configure the workflow to start manually. To do this, open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, and on the first page of the Workflow Designer, select the Allow this workflow to be manually started by the item check box.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Designer 2007