Workflow Triggers

A SharePoint Workflows tutorial by Peter Kalmström

SharePoint Designer iconA workflow must always have a trigger, something that starts the workflow. In the demo below Peter Kalmström, CEO and Systems Designer of Business Solutions, gives an introduction to the triggers that are available when you create a workflow in SharePoint Designer.

A workflow can be started manually or automatically, depending on what you want to achieve with the workflow. A manual trigger is normally used when the workflow should be run at irregular occasions that cannot be decided in advance.

Manual triggers

  • Select an item in a list or library that has at least one workflow. Open the Workflows page (ellipsis >More >Workflows), and, under 'Start a New Workflow', click on the workflow you want to start .
  • Create a button that starts the workflow. This in done in SharePoint Designer, via the 'Custom Action' button. Select 'View Ribbon' for a button under the ellipsis in the command bar or ribbon and 'List Item Menu' for a button under the ellipsis at the item.

Automatic triggers

Two types of workflows can be created in SharePoint Designer: SharePoint 2013 workflows and SharePoint 2010 workflows. The SharePoint 2010 workflows give an extra trigger possibility that is not available in SharePoint 2013 workflows.

Both workflows give these options for automatic start of a workflow:
  • when an item is created
  • when an item is changed
  • when a specified field in an item gets a specified value.
The options can be combined, so that the workflow is run both when the item is created and when the item, or just a specified field in the item, is changed.

SharePoint 2010 workflows have an additional option: to set a time when the workflow should be run.

In this case the SharePoint 2010 workflow is first created in SharePoint Designer, and then a retention stage is added in the list/library settings under 'Information management policy settings'.

Specify a time and select the action to be 'Run a workflow'. That will give you a selection of your 2010 workflows, so that you can decide which one should be run.

In the demo above Peter makes a mistake when he starts creating the 2013 workflow. He says that he sets the workflow to end under 'Transition to stage', but instead he sets it to 'Stage 1'. This error does not affect the triggers he is describing in any way, so please ignore it.

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