SharePoint Workflow template shapes guide

This article compares SharePoint Workflow actions and conditions in Microsoft Visio Premium 2010 with corresponding actions and conditions in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010. With Visio Premium 2010, you can create a workflow in Visio and then export it to SharePoint Designer. This guide can help you plan your workflow and understand the circumstances under which certain actions and conditions are used.

In this article


Workflow actions

Workflow actions are places in the workflow where the workflow performs specific operations. A workflow must contain at least one action.

The actions in this list are organized in categories based on their area of application in a workflow. For example, actions that affect the behavior of a list item are listed under List Actions and actions related to document sets are listed under Document Set Actions. The categories for actions are:

  • Core Actions    These are the most commonly-used actions in a workflow
  • Document Set Actions    Typically, these actions are used when your workflow is associated with a library or the document content type.
  • List Actions    These actions perform operations on list items.
  • Relational Actions    These actions perform operations associated with the relationship between the user and the user’s manager.
  • Task Actions    These actions are associated with approval, feedback, and form operations.

 Important    Most of the action shapes that you can insert into a SharePoint workflow in Visio require additional configuration when the workflow is imported into SharePoint Designer. In Visio, remember to use the comments feature of each action shape to specify the settings or configuration of the action.

Core Actions

These are the most commonly-used actions and can be used in any type of workflow or step.

Visio Premium 2010 Action SharePoint Designer 2010 Action Action Description
Add a comment

This Visio action is the same as the Add a Comment action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Add comment

 Note    Comments remain visible when the workflow is exported to Visio.

Add a comment

   

Use this action to leave informative comments in the workflow designer for reference purposes. This is especially helpful when there are other users co-authoring the workflow. For example, if a variable in the current workflow doesn't have a user-friendly name, you use this action to add a comment to indicate what the variable does in the workflow.

Add time to date

This Visio action is the same as the Add Time to Date action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Add time to date

Add time to date

   

Use this action to add a specific time in minutes, hours, days, months, or years to a date, and store the output value as a variable. The date can be a current date, specific date, or a lookup.

Do calculation

This Visio action is the same as the Do Calculation action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Do calculation

Do calculation

   

Use this action to perform a calculation, such as add, subtract, multiply, or divide two values, and stores the output value in a variable.

Log to history list

This Visio action is the same as the Log to History List action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Log to history list

Log to history list

   

Use this action to log a message about the workflow into its History list. A message can be a summary of a workflow event, or anything significant about the workflow. The workflow history list can be helpful in troubleshooting issues with the workflow.

 Note    If you want an action that stops the workflow and then logs a message to the History list, use the Stop Workflow action instead.

Pause for duration

This Visio action is the same as the Pause for Duration action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Pause for duration

Pause for duration

   

Use this action to pause the workflow for a specific duration in days, hours, or minutes.

 Note    The delay time is effected by the timer job interval, which has a default value of five minutes.

Pause until date

This Visio action is the same as the Pause Until Date action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Pause until date

Pause until date

   

Use this action to pause the workflow until a particular date. You can add a current date, a specific date, or a lookup.

Set time portion of date-time field

This Visio action is the same as the Set Time Portion of Date/Time Field action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set time portion of date-time field

Set time portion of date/time field

   

Use this action to create a timestamp, and stores the output value in a variable. You can set the time in hours and minutes and add a current date, specific date or a lookup.

Set workflow status

This Visio action is the same as the Set Workflow Status action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set workflow status

 Note   

  • You cannot rename or delete a status value once it has been created. However, you do not have to use it.
  • A custom status is applicable to the current workflow only, and cannot be used in another workflow.
  • A workflow cannot use custom status values that you define in the action if the action is used inside an impersonation step.

Set workflow status

   

Use this action to set the status of the workflow. The default options are Canceled, Approved, and Rejected.

You can enter a new status value in the dropdown in the action. Once you enter a status value, the entry is automatically added to the dropdown list.

If the Set Workflow Status action is the last step in your workflow where you have also used a custom value, you can see your custom value in the Status column in the list upon workflow pausing or completion.

Set workflow variable

This Visio action is the same as the Set Workflow Variable action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set workflow variable

Set workflow variable

   

Use this action to set a workflow variable to a value. Use this action when you want the workflow to assign data to a variable.

Stop workflow

This Visio action is the same as the Stop workflow action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Stop workflow

Stop workflow

   

Use this action to stop the current instance of the workflow and log a message to the Workflow History list. The message that you specify in the action will appear in the Description column in the Workflow History upon workflow completion.

List Actions

These actions are used on list items

Visio Premium 2010 Action SharePoint Designer 2010 Action Action Description
Add list item permissions

This Visio action is the same as the Add List Item Permissions action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Add permissions to item

 Note    This action is only available within an impersonation step.

Add list item permissions

   

This action grants specific permission levels for an item to specific users.

Check in item

This Visio action is the same as the Check In Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Check in item

Check in item

   

This action checks in an item that is checked out.

 Note    You can only check in items from a document library.

Check out item

This Visio action is the same as the Check Out Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Check out item

Check out item

   

Use this action to check out an item. The workflow verifies if the item is checked in, before it checks out a document.

 Note    You can only check out items from a library in your site.

Copy List Item

This Visio action is the same as the Copy List Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Copy list item

Copy list item

   

Use this action to copy a list item to another list. If there is a document in the list item, the workflow also copies the document to the destination list.

 Important    You must have at least one column similar in both the source and destination lists.

Create list item

This Visio action is the same as the Create List Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Create list item

Create list item

   

Use this action to create a new list item in the list that you specify. You can supply the fields and values in the new item.

You can use this action whenever you want a new item to be created with specific information.

 Note    The output variable is the ID of the item created in the list.

Delete Item

This Visio action is the same as the Delete Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Delete item

Delete item

   

Use this action to delete an item.

Discard check out item

This Visio action is the same as the Discard Check Out Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Discard check out item

Discard check out item

   

Use this action if an item is checked out, changes have been made to it, and you want to discard the changes and check the item back in.

Inherit list item permissions

This Visio action is the same as the Inherit List Item Parent Permissions action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Inherit list item permissions

 Note    This action is only available in an impersonation step.

Inherit list item permissions

   

If your item has unique permissions, you can use this action to make the item inherit the parent permissions from the list.

Remove list item permissions

This Visio action is the same as the Remove List Item Permissions action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Remove list item permissions

 Note    This action is only available in an impersonation step.

Remove list item permissions

   

This action removes permissions from an item for specific users.

Replace list item permissions

This Visio action is the same as the Replace List Item Permissions action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Replace list item permissions

 Note    This action is only available in an impersonation step.

Replace list item permissions

   

It replaces an item's current permissions with the new permissions that you specify in the action.

Set content approval status

This Visio action is the same as the Set Content Approval Status action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set content approval status

 Note    Content approval must be enabled in the list in order to use this action

Set content approval status

   

If you have content approval enabled in your list, use this action to set the content approval status field to a value such as Approved, Rejected, or Pending. You can type a custom status in the action.

 Note    The Set Content Approval Status action works on the current item that the workflow is acting upon, therefore the action is not available in a site workflow.

Set field in current item

This Visio action is the same as the Set Field in Current Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set field in current item

Set field in current item

   

Use the action to set a field in the current item to a value.

 Note   

  • If you want to pause the workflow until it changes the value of the field, use the Wait for Field Change in Current Item action instead.

The Set Field in Current Item action should not be used in a site workflow.

Update list item

This Visio action is the same as the Update List Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Update list item

Update list item

   

Use this action to update a list item. You can specify the fields and the new values in those fields.

Wait for field change in current item

This Visio action is the same as the Wait for Field Change in Current Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Wait for field change

Wait for field change in current item

   

This action pauses the workflow until the field in the current item has changed to a new value.

 Note    If you want the workflow to change the value of the field, rather than have the workflow wait for the field to change, use the Set Field in Current Item action instead.

Task Actions

Actions in this category are pertinent to task items. These actions apply only to SharePoint sites running SharePoint Server 2010.

Visio Premium 2010 Action SharePoint Designer 2010 Action Action Description
Assign a form to a group

This Visio action is the same as the Assign a Form to a Group action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Assign a form to a group

 Note    There is not a return value that identifies the task data.

Assign a form to a group

   

Use this action to enable you to create a custom task form with customized fields.

You can use this action to assign a task to one or more participants or groups prompting them to perform their tasks. Participants provide their responses it the fields of the custom task form and, when they are done with the task, click Complete Task on the form.

Assign a to-do item

This Visio action is the same as the Assign a To-do Item action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Assign a to-do item

Assign a to-do item

   

Use this action to assign a task to each of the participants, prompting them to perform their tasks and then, when they are done, to click the Complete Task button on their task form.

Collect data from a user

This Visio action is the same as the Collect Data from a User action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Collect data from a user

Collect data from a user

Use this action to assign a task to the participant, prompting them to provide the needed information in a custom task form, and then click the Complete Task button on the task form.

This action has an output clause— meaning, the workflow stores the information returned by the action in a corresponding variable. The list item ID of the completed task item from the action is stored in the collect variable.

Start approval process

This Visio action is the same as the Start Approval Process action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Start approval process for document set

Start approval process

   

Use this action to route a document for approval. Approvers can approve or reject the document, reassign the approval task, or request changes.

You can assign tasks to both internal and external participants in the action. An external participant can be an employee in your organization who isn't a user in the site collection, or anyone outside your organization

Start feedback process

This Visio action is the same as the Start Feedback Process action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Start feedback process

Start feedback process

   

Use this action to assign task items for feedback to users in a specific order—serial or parallel. The default is parallel. Users or task participants can also reassign a task to other users. When the users are done, they can click the Submit Feedback button to indicate task completion.

You can assign tasks to both internal and external participants in the action. An external participant can be an employee in your organization who isn't a user in the site collection, or anyone outside your organization.

Start custom task process

This Visio action is the same as the Start Custom Task Process action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Start custom task process

Start custom task process

   

The Start Custom Task Process action is an approval process template that you can use if other approval actions do not meet your needs.

Relational Actions

The action in this category enables you to use the relationship between a user and the user's manager. These actions apply only to SharePoint sites running SharePoint Server 2010.

Visio Premium 2010 Action SharePoint Designer 2010 Action Action Description
Lookup manager of a user

This Visio action is the same as the Lookup Manager of a User action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Look up manager of this user

Lookup manager of a user

   

Use this action to look up a user's manager. The output value is then stored in a variable.

 Note    For this action to work properly, the User Profile service must be running in SharePoint.

Document Set Actions

Some workflow actions are only available when the workflow is associated to a library, such as Shared Documents, or the Document content type.

Visio Premium 2010 Action SharePoint Designer 2010 Action Action Description
Send approval for document set

This Visio action is the same as the Start Document Set Approval Process action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Start approval process for document set

Send approval for document set   

Use this action to begin the approval process for a document set.

Send document set to repository

This Visio action is the same as the Send Document Set to Repository action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Send document set to repository

Send document set to repository

   

Use this action to allow you to move or copy the document set to a document repository. A document repository can be a library in your SharePoint site, or a site on its own like the Document Center, that routes records to a specific destination based on rules that you define.

Send document to repository

This Visio action is the same as the Send Document to Repository action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Send document to repository

Send document to repository

   

Use this action to allow you to move or copy a document to a document repository. A document repository can be a library in your SharePoint site, or a site on its own like the Document Center, that routes records to a specific destination based on rules that you define.

Set content approval status for document set

This Visio action is the same as the Set Content Approval Status for the Document Set action in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Set content approval status for documentation set

Set content approval status for documentation set

   

Use this action to set content approval of a document set to Approved, Rejected, or Pending.

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Workflow conditions

A workflow condition is a branching point in the workflow. The workflow condition compares the input to a specified value. If they match, the workflow continues in one direction, and if not, the workflow takes a different branch.

 Important    Most of the condition shapes that you can insert into a SharePoint workflow in Visio require additional configuration when the workflow is imported into SharePoint Designer. In Visio, remember to use the comments feature of each condition shape to specify the decision criteria of the condition.

General Conditions

This section describes the conditions that are available in SharePoint Designer 2010 for list and reusable list workflows, irrespective of the list or content type that the workflow is associated with.

Visio Premium 2010 Condition SharePoint Designer 2010 Condition Condition Description
Compare data source

This Visio condition is the same as the If any value equals value condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If value equals value

Compare data source

   

This condition compares two values. You can specify whether the values should be equal or not equal.

Compare document field

This Visio condition is the same as the If current item field equals value condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If current item field equals value

Compare document field

   

This condition checks a field against a value that you specify. You can specify whether the values should be equal or not equal.

Created by a specified person

This Visio condition is the same as the Created by a specific person condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If created by specific person

Created by a specified person

   

This condition checks if an item was created by a specific user. The user can be specified as an e-mail address, such as olivier@contoso.com, or selected from SharePoint, Exchange, or Active Directory users.

 Note    The user name and e-mail address are case sensitive. It is recommended that you select a user name or e-mail address to help ensure that you use the correct case. If you type a user name or e-mail address, you must match the case of the account. For example, If created by contoso\molly will not evaluate as true if the user account is Contoso\Molly.

Created in specific date span

This Visio condition is the same as the Created in a specific date span condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If created in a specific date span

Created in specific date span

   

This condition checks if the item was created between the specified dates. You can use the current date, a specific date, or a lookup.

Modified by a specific person

This Visio condition is the same as the Modified by a specific person condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If modified by a specific person

Modified by a specific person

   

Use this condition to check if an item was modified by a specified user. The user can be specified as an e-mail address, such as olivier@contoso.com, or selected from SharePoint, Exchange, or Active Directory users.

 Note    The user name and e-mail address are case sensitive. It is recommended that you select a user name or e-mail address to help ensure that you use the correct case. If you type a user name or e-mail address, you must match the case of the account. For example, If modified by contoso\molly will not evaluate as true if the user account is Contoso\Molly.

Modified in a specific date span

This Visio condition is the same as the Modified in a specific date span condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If modified in a specific date span

Modified in a specific date span

   

This condition checks if an item was modified between the specified dates. You can use the current date, a specific date, or a lookup.

Title field contains keywords

This Visio condition is the same as the Title field contains keywords condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

If title field contains keywords

Title field contains keywords

   

This condition checks if the Title field for an item contains a specific word. You can either specify the keyword in the String Builder—which can be a static value or a dynamic string or a combination — or insert a lookup to a field or variable.

 Note    You cannot search for more than one keyword in the Title field contains keywords condition. However, you can use logical operators such as || ( or) or && (and).

Document Set Conditions

Some workflow conditions are only available when the workflow is associated to a library, such as Shared Documents, or the Document content type.

Visio Premium 2010 Condition SharePoint Designer 2010 Condition Condition Description
File size is in a specific range

This Visio condition is the same as the The file size in a specific range kilobytes condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

File size is in a specific range

File size is in a specific range

   

This condition checks if the file size of a document is between the specified sizes, in kilobytes. The condition does not include the specified sizes in the evaluation. You can enter a number or use a lookup for the first or the second size in the condition.

File is a specific type

This Visio condition is the same as the The file type is a specific type condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

File is a specific type

File is a specific type

   

This condition checks if the file type of the current item is of the specified type, such as docx. You can enter the file type as a string or use a lookup.

List Conditions

Visio Premium 2010 Condition SharePoint Designer 2010 Condition Condition Description
Check exact user permissions

This Visio condition is the same as the Check list item permission levels condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Check list item permission levels

Check exact user permissions

   

This condition checks that the specified user has the minimum necessary permission level.

Check user permission

This Visio condition is the same as the Check list item permissions condition in SharePoint Designer 2010 and appears as:

Check list item permission

Check user permission

   

This condition checks if the specified user has the minimum necessary permissions.

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Workflow Terminators

In Visio, each workflow must begin with a Start terminator (Start ) and end with a Stop terminator (Stop ). Only one of each type of terminator can be used in a given workflow. Terminators are necessary when creating a SharePoint workflow in Visio so that the workflow can pass validation and can be exported. Workflow terminators are not used in SharePoint Designer.

 
 
Applies to:
SharePoint Designer 2010, SharePoint Server 2010