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SharePoint workflow troubleshooting: “Item does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user.”

This error message tends to reveal itself whenever you’re dealing with item-level permissions. Try the following to resolve this error.

Note: For any change to a workflow, you’ll need to start/restart your workflow to test it. Resuming a workflow will only resume the previous version of the workflow (still broken).

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Securing information by setting item-level permissions in SharePoint without workflow

SharePoint Designer is a fantastic workflow builder – but sometimes, if your workflow isn’t built correctly, implementing item-level permissions via workflow could fail and leave your submitted information or documents vulnerable to data spill. A safer, more reliable method is to use out-of-the-box (OOTB) item-level permissions.

This OOTB method is great because it applies to all items, former and future, while workflows would need to be triggered for previous items to be set. This becomes tricky to do retroactively when your lists could already have thousands of items. This OOTB method is also not dependent on other steps or actions that could fail, as it might be in a workflow.

SharePoint workflow “access denied” error sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail solution

If you’ve found this post by search, you’ve likely already gone into the workflow settings for a particular list or document library item and have clicked the info icon (infocon) next to “Internal status” and found that your workflow is “in progress”, but has an error: “Access Denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.” Peering into the bulk of the message, you see a helpful tidbit that includes sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail. This could be from a number of causes, but here are the summaries of three possible solutions. Note that the first solution is still required even if you try B or C below. I’ve only included the second and third solutions as additional possibilities if the first doesn’t solve your problem.

A common question, before we begin, is what level of permissions any individual needs to be able to send an email or start a workflow generally. It doesn’t matter so much if you’re using Impersonation or App Steps, but the quick answer is a minimum of Contribute level permissions is good.

Automating item-level permissions in SharePoint document libraries and lists

workflowitemlevelpermissions

Item-level permissions come in handy for a number of situations. Here are some examples and food for thought:

  • Travel plans are submitted to a list, but only those in people columns (supervisor, director, traveler) are allowed to see or find the plan by search.
  • Allow “content owners” to edit documents, and everyone else to view only.
  • Allow non-admin individuals to set editing permissions for documents or list items by populating a people column

Using a SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow and an impersonation step, we can:

  • Add list item permissions
  • Inherit list item parent permissions
  • Remove list item permissions
  • Replace list item permissions

This tutorial will use the “replace list item permissions” action. Whenever you’re replacing permissions, you must remember to INCLUDE YOURSELF or admin individuals in the replacement permissions or you won’t be able to access the content or help with troubleshooting. Let’s begin!