I frequently reference two resources linked at the bottom of this post that speak to the features unique to 2010 and 2013 workflows. Unfortunately, once you pick which workflow platform you’ll be building upon you can’t switch. So it’s important to use these lists in your evaluation phase to make sure you’ll be picking the right platform for the job. Keep in mind, you can always start a 2010 workflow from within a 2013 workflow.

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WORKFLOWvs

Perhaps one of the most useful automated processes out there is the ability to do approval processes. We fortunately have two tools on-prem or online that allows us to perform this action. Microsoft Flow offers some incredible connectivity between services (like approve a Tweet and post it, approve something from Google Docs and have it moved to SharePoint, etc.), but the approval process itself is very simple at this point and doesn’t offer some of the more robust features and customization options we get in SharePoint Designer 2013 approval processes.

I also will use both tools in the same business process occasionally, because they both have unique strengths.

But which do you use for approvals?

The quick answer to the question is: Use Flow for simple approvals, or approvals that involve multiple sites or external services. Use SPD for more complicated processes and customization options for approvals that involve a single site.

today at LMH

Below on the left are two traditional, out-of-the-box solutions for showing Today’s events in SharePoint. Notice how both take up a lot of extra space repeating today’s date (which we don’t need to see at all in a web part called “Today’s Events”) or showing gray space where there are no events. Soak that in – prime real estate on your home page goes to non-existent events. These also may require overlays and other manual labor processes that need adjusted every time a calendar is added or removed.

But on the right is what you could have. It uses search instead and displays events from all calendars a user has access to in one place. It shows only the necessary information on the home page and links to full details. And with a little CSS included in this post, it can look polished and themed. Imagine all you could do with that saved space on your home page…

Also seen above: Adding local weather to your SharePoint intranet home page
and a “this week’s menu” button for your intranet

flow1

Perhaps you, like me, built an exciting Microsoft Flow workflow and let it go into the wild without much additional thought. But at some point, you drop a lookup column into the mix and your Flow stops working. It tells you the field is not supported in query, even if that specific field isn’t being utilized in the Flow. I believe this has something to do with REST, but we won’t dwell on the cause – let’s get to the workaround.

The scenario I’ll be using is my cross-site publishing alternative using Microsoft Flow where I’m basically copying data from list items in one site collection to create new list items in a different site collection. This is helpful when someone does some sort of data entry once, and other people are then entering much of the exact same data. This copies all of the overlapping data to a new list item for the second site collection to reduce duplication of work.

It sounds simple but with a lookup column in the destination list we get the error. For this I’ll be using SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Flow (of course) in combination, though you could certainly try it all in Microsoft Flow. I just find parts of the process simpler in SPD. And while your origin data may be different (MailChimp, Twitter, etc.), and your exact scenario may differ, this workaround should still have value in concept.

columnexpand

This is a popular request that I’ve recently modified, thanks to the recommendation of a colleague, to be responsive to different device or browser sizes. By default, SharePoint lists respond to their viewer’s size but once customized with a fixed pixel width will lose that feature. This solution utilizes percentages so you can create column widths ideal for any screen.

tooltiplinkedtitlesIn a recent post, I discussed hyperlinking URL title text and adding tooltips. I used the above screenshot which also illustrates what we’ll accomplish in this post which is to remove the select/deselect checkmark column, column headers, toolbar edit/new options and chrome border. This leaves us with a simple title and list. Pick and choose what you’d like to remove for your specific needs, and let me know if you run into any issues.

tooltiplinkedtitlesLet’s put those link lists to good use. I wanted one master or parent link list with a number of views. I would then use those views in different list view web parts across my site, removing the toolbar (view/edit/add options), column headers, chrome border and select/deselect checkmark column so that essentially I had a section of my page with a header/chrome title like “HR Forms” (removing default link to “parent” list) and then just a list of hyperlinked form titles with tooltips providing more info on each form as seen above. This post will cover how to get the hyperlinked title text with tooltip. Another post coming soon will cover the “clean-up” of the list view web part so that you’re left with a title and list items alone.

employeeequals

When doing an if/then statement within SharePoint Designer involving a people column, our only options are “equals” or “not equals.” If you want to be able to use “is empty,” “is not empty,” “contains,” etc. this article will show you how to get around this limitation without any scripting. We’ll basically be creating a workflow variable to use in place of the original column.