Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Advanced Properties

I’ve recently spent a lot of time on SharePoint 2010 workflows.  I made a ton of errors and learned a lot about the new Task Process in 2010.  It may look easy, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. 

I’m currently working on putting together a SharePoint Saturday session on the Task Process.  I will be writing a few “Lessons Learned” articles to help me organize my thoughts to prepare for this session (not yet determined when or where).  I will cover the following topics in more details in upcoming articles: Association and Initiation Forms, Change the behavior of a single task, Change the behavior of the overall task process, Change the completion conditions for this task process, the difference between assigning tasks and starting a task process. 

This article is specifically about the Task Process “Advanced Properties”. 

It is not immediately noticeable that a task process has advanced properties.  If you click on the name of the task, you are taken to a Task Settings page that allows you to change certain settings.  However, there are certain settings that you may not know to set since you do not see it anywhere except for in the task’s Advanced Properties.  I will notate these as I go through each one below.  Many of the issues I encountered were because these settings had changed or disappeared through the course of my iterations of the workflows. 

These settings apply to the three Task Processes that can be added from “Action, Task Actions” and include the word “Process” – Start Approval Process, Start Custom Task Process, Start Feedback Process.

I highly recommend completely setting up your task process and reviewing these settings at the end.  Many of these options will be blank when you first set up your task process and will be automatically populated in the course of customizing your workflow.  

To view the advanced properties, click on the task process row and click on the drop down button that appears on the right.  Then Select Properties, which will show you some settings and variables that are specific to that task process.


Here is a list of all the Properties available.  These are the same for all three task processes.

Note: you will see that some items are “Variables” and some items are “Parameters”

o   Variables are hidden from end users, but the workflow needs to function

o   Parameters  may be included on a form or setting for user input

General Property Variables:

1.       Content Type ID – this is a read only field, you cannot set the Task Content Type here.  If you need to assign a custom content type to a task process, click here for instructions:  Assign a Custom Content Type to Task Process in a SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow

2.       Allow Change Request –will prevent or allow the assigned user to request a change to the page or document being reviewed. 

o   This option can be changed from the Task General Settings page (see print screen below)

o   This option will generate a button on the form and a corresponding outcome

o   Selecting this option will mark the current task as complete, assign a new task to the person a change is requested from.  Once that task is marked as complete, a new task will be created to the person that requested the change to review the change and complete the task process.

3.       Allow Reassign – will allow the assigned user to reassign a new task to someone else.  This will mark the current task as complete with an outcome of delegated to:  new person.

o   This option can be changed from the Task General Settings page (see print screen below)

o   This option will generate a button on the form and a corresponding outcome

o   Selecting this option will mark the current task as complete and assign a new task you want to reassign the task to. 

4.       Delete Tasks on Complete – Setting this to “Yes” will delete the task once it has been completed or canceled.

o    You may want to consider this if you will be generating a large number of tasks with workflows. 

o   If you are collecting data in the workflow task that you need to retain and you need to delete your tasks, you should include steps in your workflow to place that data somewhere else; in your page or document the process is acting on, for example.

5.       Expand Groups – This setting only applies if you are assigning tasks to SharePoint User Groups.

o   Yes means that each person in the group will get an individual task assigned

o   No means that one task will be created and a member of the group will have the option of claiming the task, which will reassign the task from the group to the individual.

o   This default can be set with the Initiation Form Parameters

o   You can also leave this option on your workflow initiation form and allow the workflow initiator to select the appropriate option.

6.       Permission Set – This is asking if you want to use the permissions of the task list (default) or set permissions for these tasks so that only people that are assigned to a task, workflow initiators and admins can see tasks.   

o   This is set to “Default” by default.

o   This can be set on the Task Settings page.  If you check the box to “Only allow task recipients and process owners to read and edit workflow tasks SharePoint will set this variable to “AssignedTo”

7.       Task Deleted Outcome – This is asking what the task outcome should be logged as if someone deleted a task.  By default this is blank.   You can enter “Deleted” or “Cancelled” or something that will let someone reviewing the workflow history know what happened to the task.

8.       Task Process Owner – Lists who owns this task process.  If you change the permissions of the task “PermissionSet” then this user or group will have access to all the tasks as the owner.

o   This can be an individual or a SharePoint group. 

o   You can set this in the Task Information section of the task general settings page.

9.       Send Default Task Notifications – pay attention to this one.  If you are sending a custom task notification to a user as part of the process, mark this as “No”.  Otherwise it will change the default setting of your task list no notify users when a task is assigned.

o   Personally, I prefer to customize the task notification message, so I mark this as “no”

o   If this is set to “Yes” it will send the automated message below from the Task List this task resides in (the variables in <> below will be populated by the task or item)


Parameters for “[Task Process]”

10.   Task Process Name – This is the name of the Task Process, which may be included in notifications, depending on how yours are set up.  You can also change this setting in the Task General Settings Page under Task Information.

11.   Overdue Repeat – Set this parameter if you want to send a notification to a user when the task is overdue.  Your options are Off, Daily, Weekly or Monthly. 

o   You have the option of customizing the email that is sent in the Task Process.  That will be covered in another post.

o   The default setting is weekly.

12.   Overdue Repeat Times – How many reminders do you want to send to the person or group a task is assigned to?  You can enter a set number, or enter -1 for infinity.  This means SharePoint will keep sending a reminder on the schedule that you listed in the previous parameter until the task is marked as complete, the task process is cancelled or the task is deleted.

o   The default setting is infinity


Parameters for “[this item]”

13.   Item ID – Do not change this option.  It is defaulted to the Item ID that the workflow is running on.

Parameters for “[these