How to Create a Timer Job with SharePoint Designer 2013

In this post I’m going to show you how to create a no server side code timer job using a SharePoint Designer 2013 site workflow.


We have a SharePoint Online (Office 365) site with a task list in it and we need to send daily alerts to users that have overdue tasks assigned to them.



The obvious solution would be to create a timer job to do that… Unfortunately we are in an Office 365 environment so we do not have the possibility to implement a standard timer job using server side code.



We can simulate the behaviour of a timer job using a Sharepoint Designer 2013 site workflow.


1. Create a New Site Workflow in Sharepoint Designer 2013

Open SharePoint Designer 2013 and create a new site workflow


2. Get All Overdue Tasks that are not Completed

In the first stage (let’s call it “Getting Overdue Tasks”) build a dictionary to store the accept header for our rest request and get results in json:

accept: application/json;odata=verbose



Put the current date in a DateTime variable (let’s call it “today”).


Then call the SharePoint REST Service to get the overdue tasks.
To do so insert the “Call HTTP Web Service” action in the workflow (in an App Step to avoid permission related problems).


The action url must be constructed dynamically  using the “today” variable like this:



Set the action verb to GET, the request headers to the headers dictionary previously built and the response content to a dictionary to store the request result.


Get and store the returned tasks in a separate dictionary to count them and loop through them later.


3. Send Alerts to Overdue Tasks Assignees

Create a second stage (let’s call it “Sending Alerts”) to send alerts and then link the first stage to it.

Insert a loop and inside it extract the task id from the rest response and send an email to each overdue task assignees.

Use a loop index variable to address the current task and remember to initialize it to zero and increment it properly at the end of the loop.



To get the email address of the recipient (the task assignee) use the task id previously extracted from the rest response like this:


4. Wait One Day and Start Over Again

Insert a pause action and configure it to wait one day.

Link the “Sending Alerts” stage to the “Getting Overdue Tasks” stage to start over again.



Here is how the complete workflow will look at the end of the process:


Publish the site workflow and start it (you can access the “Site Workflows” page from the “Site Contents” page).


It will send the alerts daily as expected.



Fabian Williams


4 Steps to Dynamically Display Locations on a Map in SharePoint 2013

In this post I’m going to show you how to display on a map the locations contained in a SharePoint 2013 list enabling the new Geolocation Field and Map View.

Note: The proposed solution works both for SharePoint 2013 On Premises and Online.


We want to dynamically display the locations contained in a list on a Bing Maps map in a SharePoint 2013 site.



1. Create the list

Create the list that will contain the locations to show on the map.

In our example the list has simply Title and Description fields.
Later in this post we’ll learn how to add the location field.


2. Get a Bing Maps key

You can obtain a valid Bing Maps key from here.


3. Create the location field

To create the location field on our list we need to use a custom form in a page containing a script.

So first create a page where you wish to place the custom form.


On that page add a Script Editor web part that will contain both the script and html for our form.


First add this javascript:

<script type="text/javascript">
var clientContext;
var relativeAdress;
 function AddGeolocationField() {
 clientContext = new SP.ClientContext(relativeAdress); 
 var web = clientContext.get_web();
 var targetList = web.get_lists().getByTitle(document.getElementById('listname_input_id').value);
 var fields = targetList.get_fields();
 "<Field Type='Geolocation' DisplayName='" + document.getElementById('fieldname_input_id').value + "'/>",
 clientContext.executeQueryAsync(function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('success_id').innerHTML = "You have succesfully created new geolocation field.";
 function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('error_id').innerHTML = "Error: "+args.get_message();
 function SetBingKey() {
 clientContext = new SP.ClientContext(relativeAdress);
 var web = clientContext.get_web();
 var webProperties = web.get_allProperties();
 webProperties.set_item("BING_MAPS_KEY", document.getElementById('bing_key_id').value);
 clientContext.executeQueryAsync(function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('success_id').innerHTML = "You have succesfully entered BING map key on "+web.get_title()+" site";
 }, function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('error_id').innerHTML = "Error: "+args.get_message();
 function GetBingKey() {
 clientContext = new SP.ClientContext(relativeAdress);
 var web = clientContext.get_web();
 var webProperties = web.get_allProperties();
 clientContext.executeQueryAsync(function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('bing_key_id').value = (webProperties.get_fieldValues()["BING_MAPS_KEY"]);
 }, function (sender, args) {
 document.getElementById('bing_key_id').value = "";
 document.getElementById('error_id').innerHTML = "Property not found! Please check your web site relative URL.";
 function ClearNotifications(){
 document.getElementById('success_id').innerHTML = "";
 document.getElementById('error_id').innerHTML = "";
 function GetRelativeAdress(){
 if (document.getElementById('webrelative_url_id').value === "")
 relativeAdress = "/";
 relativeAdress = document.getElementById('webrelative_url_id').value;
 document.getElementById('error_id').innerHTML = "Relative adress has to start with /";

Then add this html:

<table style="width: 480px;">
<td style="width: 200px;">Web relative URL:</td>
<td style="width: 5px;">&nbsp</td>
<td valign="top"><input id="webrelative_url_id" name="relative" type="text" value="/">
<label style="font-size: 8pt;">
* Input web relative URL and select "Get BING key" to check if key is set</label></td>
<td style="text-align: right;" valign="top"><input onclick="GetBingKey()" type="button" value="Get BING key"></td>
<td style="width: 200px;" valign="top">Bing Maps Key:</td>
<td style="width: 5px;">&nbsp</td>
<td valign="top"><input id="bing_key_id" name="bingkey" type="text">
<label style="font-size: 8pt;">
* Input Bing map key and relative url to web site to wich you wish to add the key</label></td>
<td style="text-align: right;" valign="top"><input onclick="SetBingKey()" type="button" value="Set BING key"></td>
<td style="width: 200px;" valign="top">List name:</td>
<td style="width: 5px;">&nbsp</td>
<td valign="top"><input id="listname_input_id" name="listname" type="text">
<label style="font-size: 8pt;">
* Name of the list where you wish to add your new geolocation field</label></td>
<td valign="top">Field name:</td>
<td style="width: 5px;">&nbsp</td>
<td valign="top"><input id="fieldname_input_id" name="fieldname" type="text">
<label style="font-size: 8pt;">
* Name of the new geolocation field you wish to add</label></td>
<td style="text-align: right;" valign="top"><input onclick="AddGeolocationField()" type="button" value="Create field"></td>
<label id="error_id" style="color: red;">
<label id="success_id" style="color: green;">

And now you have your form for adding geolocation fields anywhere on your site collection.


Once you have entered the relative path to your web you can use the Set BING key button to add the BING maps key to the web.
You can optionally use the Get Bing key button to check if you have already a BING maps key placed in that web.


Once entered List name and Field name you can use the Create field button to add a geolocation field with the name you specified to the list on the web.



Note: For SharePoint 2013 On Premises an MSI package named SQLSysClrTypes.msi must be installed on every SharePoint front-end web server to view the geolocation field value or data in a list.  This file is installed by default for SharePoint Online.

More information on this can be found here.

4. Create the Map view

You now have the possibility to create a Map view for your list to show locations.




You can now add items to your list and see their locations appear on the Map view.




Borislav Grgić

How to Export a SharePoint 2013 List with Lookup Columns

In this post I’m going to show you a workaround to an issue that causes data loss when exporting lists with lookup columns to another site.


We have 2 lists in a SharePoint 2013 site, one with a lookup column to the other, and we need to export them to another site without loosing any data.

Export List with Lookup - List A

Export List with Lookup - List B


In the List Settings page of our lists we can use the “Save as Template” functionality to export them.

Export List with Lookup - Save as Template

The list templates are successfully created so we can load them to the destination site collection and recreate the lists from them in the new site.

Note: the destination site language must be the same as the source one

Export List with Lookup - List Templates

However looking closer to List B we note that all the data in the lookup column has been lost…

Export List with Lookup - List B with Lost Data

This happens because the lookup column points to List A GUID, not its path or name…

The GUID of List A in the destination site is different from that of the same list in the source site, so the lookup column is now pointing to a list that does not exist in the new environment.

Unfortunately we can’t change the lookup column definition in the destination site and get our data back because the “Get information from: ” section is locked…

Export List with Lookup - Lookup Column Locked

So, how to solve this problem?


We can change the list template manifest file and set the correct list GUID or path for the lookup column.

Let’s see how to do that in detail…


1. Change the list template file extension

Download the template file of our list with the lookup column (in our example the file is ListBTemplate.stp) and change its file extension from “stp” to “cab”.

Export List with Lookup - List B CAB Extension

2. Extract the files contained in the list template cab package

You can use WinRAR or WinZip to extract the files contained in the cab file

Export List with Lookup - List B Extracted Files

3. Change the list template manifest file

Open the manifest.xml file contained in the list template extracted files (in our example it is the only file) and replace the lookup column list GUID (in our example the GUID of list A in site A, f8088b28-1434-4b51-96d3-a36e945e5146) with the new list GUID or relative path (in our example the GUID or relative path of list A in site B, 265bffc8-dcc9-48e3-99e4-d3ad1d5e2260 or Lists\List A).

Export List with Lookup - Manifest

4. Recreate the list template package

Now that we have changed the content of our manifest file we need to recreate the cab package. To do that we ca use the makecab command in the command prompt using the following syntax:

makecab "<source file>" "<destination file>"

In our example the specific command is as follows:

makecab "C:\List Templates\ListBTemplate\manifest.xml" "C:\List Templates\ListBTemplate\"

Export List with Lookup - makecab

Export List with Lookup - makecab result

Once created the cab file we can change its file extension to “stp”, reload it to the destination site collection and recreate our List B.


This is how our new list with the lookup column should look like:

Export List with Lookup - List B without Lost Data

You can see that our lookup data is there again without any loss.