How to Approve a List Item Using a SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflow

In this post I’m going to show you how to approve a list item in a SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow even though the “Set Content Approval Status” built-in action is no longer available in SharePoint 2013 On-Premises.

Note: the issue this post is about has been solved in Sharepoint 2013 Online (Office 365).

Scenario

We have a custom list that requires content approval for submitted items and we need to automatically approve them when they are created using a SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow.

ApprovalList

Problem

It seems quite simple, like in a SharePoint 2010 workflow there should be a built-in action to do this… but unfortunately this is not the case. In a SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow there is no such action as the old and dear “Set Content Approval Status”.

So we need to find a different way to achive the same result and as always with SharePoint 2013, the REST API comes to our rescue.

Solution

We can use the SharePoint REST API to update a list item and set its approval status.

Now we only need to know which particular property of the item sets its approval status…
We can find that by inspecting the item properties through a rest call via a browser like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listname')/items(ID)

ApprovalStatusProperty
You can see that the only property that could do our job is the one called “OData__ModerationStatus” (note the double underscore before the “ModerationStatus” string).

The possibile values for this property are the following:

  • Approved: 0
  • Rejected: 1
  • Pending: 2

So now we need to update this field.

Let’s see how to do that in detail…

Steps

1. Get the list item type

To get the list item type we need to use the SharePoint REST API via a browser like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listtitle')

and get the value for the “d:ListItemEntityTypeFullName” element.

In the example below the list item type is “SP.Data.Test_x0020_ListListItem” (the “_x0020_” string replaces the space inside the list name).

ApprovalListItemType

2. Create the headers dictionary

We must build a dictionary to store some headers, specifically the following ones:

Accept: application/json;odata=verbose
Content-Type: application/json;odata=verbose
Content-Length: <length of post body>
X-HTTP-Method: MERGE
If-Match: *

create_list_folder5

3. Create the metadata dictionary

Next we need to create a dictionary to store our metadata.
This dictionary will contain only one entry for the list item type we’ve obtained previously:

type: SP.Data.Test_x0020_ListListItem

ApprovalMetadata.png

4. Create the data dictionary

Next, we need one more dictionary that will contain our request data.

The dictionary must have an entry with key “__metadata” (note the double underscore before the “metadata” string) with its value set to the previously created metadata dictionary.

We also need to add another entry in the data dictionary with its key set to “OData__ModerationStatus” and its value set to 0 (Approved).

__metadata: <metadata dictionary>
 OData__ModerationStatus: 0

ApprovalData

5. Call the SharePoint REST service

Finally, we are ready to call the SharePoint REST service to update our item approval status.

To do this we need to insert the “Call HTTP Web Service” action in our workflow.
Put it inside an App Step to make sure the REST call is executed with elevated privileges.

To see how to enable the use of App Steps in your workflow and give it elevated privileges see this article.
To see pending items in the same web of the workflow you need to follow the above procedure with Scope=”http://sharepoint/content/sitecollection/web”.
To see pending items in the same site collection of the workflow but in a different web you need to follow the above procedure with Scope=”http://sharepoint/content/sitecollection”.

The action url must be constructed dynamically to point to the current item like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listtitle')/items(n)

ApprovalEndpoint

The action verb must be set to POST.

create_list_folder9

Set the request headers to the headers dictionary.
Set the request content to the data dictionary.

create_list_folder10

6. Change workflow default settings

At this point it is very very important to uncheck the “Automatically update the workflow status to the current stage name” option, otherwise during the workflow execution the item will be updated and its approval status reset to “Pending”.

We also set our workflow to start automatically when an item is created.

ApprovalWorkflowSettings

Conclusion

This is how the complete workflow should look like:

ApprovalWorkflow

Now we can publish it and see that when we create a new item the workflow will start automatically and correctly approve it.

ApprovalItem

References

MSDN

StackOverflow

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How to Create a Folder in a SharePoint 2013 List Using a SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflow

In this post I’m going to show you a workaround to an issue with SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows in correctly creating a list folder.

Scenario

We have a custom list and we need to dynamically add folders to it through a SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow.

create_list_folder12

Why

A first question could be:

Why on earth would you need to create a folder in a list? Folders are intended for libraries and files!

There are scenarios when you need to have folders in your list, one of this is to manage permissions at a finer level than the list level, avoiding having to set unique permissions for each list item.

A second question could be:

Why on earth do you need to create folders with a workflow?

There could be scenarios in which folders need to be created dynamically in reaction to some event.

Problem

A list folder is simply a special type of list item.
So it seems quite simple… In the workflow use the “Create List Item” action and set its content type to “Folder”. Yes, it works! The folder is created!

But wait… Clicking on the folder an ugly system name appears in the breadcrumbs (ID_.000)… Oh no! What’s that?!?

create_list_folder2

This happens because there is a mismatch between the title of the folder that we can set in the workflow and its name that is assigned automatically (respectively “Folder 1” and “66_.000” in the example above).

Unfortunately we can’t set the name of a list folder directly using the create or update list item workflow actions.

Solution

We can use the SharePoint REST API to change the list folder name after having created it.

Now we only need to know which particular property of the list folder sets its name…
We can find that by inspecting the folder properties through a rest call via a browser like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listname')/items(ID)/FieldValuesAsText

create_list_folder3
You can see that value “ID_.000” is hold by the field “FileLeafRef”.
So now we need to update this field of our newly created folder using REST.

Let’s see how to do that in detail…

Steps

1. Get the list item type

To get the list item type we need to use the SharePoint REST API via a browser like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listtitle')

and get the value for the “d:ListItemEntityTypeFullName” element.
In the example below the list item type is “SP.Data.TestFolderListListItem”

create_list_folder4

2. Create the headers dictionary

We must build a dictionary to store some headers, specifically the following ones:

Accept: application/json;odata=verbose
Content-Type: application/json;odata=verbose
Content-Length: <length of post body>
X-HTTP-Method: MERGE
If-Match: *

create_list_folder5

3. Create the metadata dictionary

Next we need to create a dictionary to store our metadata.
This dictionary will contain only one entry for the list item type we’ve obtained previously:

type: SP.Data.TestFolderListListItem

create_list_folder6

4. Create the data dictionary

Next, we need one more dictionary that will contain our request data.

The dictionary must have an entry with key “__metadata” (note the double underscore before the “metadata” string) with its value set to the previously created metadata dictionary.

We also need to add another entry in the data dictionary with its key set to “FileLeafRef”.

__metadata: <metadata dictionary>
 FileLeafRef: Folder 1

create_list_folder7

5. Call the SharePoint REST service

Finally, we are ready to call the SharePoint REST service to update our folder name field.
To do this we need to insert the “Call HTTP Web Service” action in our workflow.
The action url must be constructed dynamically to point to the newly created folder like this:

https://site/_api/web/lists/getbytitle('listtitle')/items(n)

create_list_folder8

The action verb must be set to POST.

create_list_folder9

Set the request headers to the headers dictionary.
Set the request content to the data dictionary.

create_list_folder10

Conclusion

This is how the complete workflow should look like:

create_list_folder11

Now we can publish our workflow and run it. Once it is over we’ll have our folder correctly created with its title and name matching.

create_list_folder12

create_list_folder13

References

StackExchange