By far the most common mistake is to forget to specify the proper columns to tell SharePoint how to join the lists
Looking up data on an empty column. If this happens make the lookup column required
SharePoint Designer workflows are not portable between servers, lists, libraries, or farms. If you need to develop code in a dedicated development environment consider writing Visual Studio workflows.
You don’t understand how to lookup data between lists in a SharePoint Designer workflow or you’re not getting data when you lookup information between lists; usually you lookup data when one lists contains a “lookup” column that links to a list item in another list.
In this example we are going to create two lists, the first, a master list will provide the information we are going to query on a workflow. After we create the two lists we will walk through a simple non-real-world example of how to query information between the lists in a SharePoint Designer workflow.
Following the steps below, create two lists: one the master, one the detail. Have the second list item reference the parent list using a lookup column. Add a column that contains information that you would like to retrieve from the parent list such as the column shown below.
Populate the master list with a few rows of data
Create the detail list that contains a “Lookup” column to the master table
Open the site in SharePoint Designer and create a new workflow
Associate the lookup with the detail list then click next
Under workflow actions let’s set a workflow variable
Create a variable to store the result of our lookup
Select the function icon
Now change the source list, where we will be pulling our information from, to the master table. Also specify the name of the field that contains the information we want to pull
Next, tell SharePoint how the master and detail lists are linked. This is where mistakes are made! You want to link to the column of the master list that you used to populate the detail list’s lookup column
Accept the warning message
Add an action that logs the message to a list (If your SharePoint server is email enabled send the workflow variable in the body of an email message)
The final result of my workflow looks like this
Finish the workflow and note how the workflow tree appears under the site navigator in SharePoint Designer
Now test the workflow by adding an item to the detail list
Upon save pull down on the item’s edit menu to view the workflows that are associated with this item
You will see your workflow in the workflow settings screen and, if everything worked as expected you should see the workflow in the completed list
Click on the hyperlink for the completed workflow to see the history, as you can see we looked up http://www.sharepointassist.com/ from the master list’s “Look Me Up Please!” column
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Handling Lookup Columns in a SharePoint Designer Workflow, 6.5 out of 10 based on 16 ratings
Ulysses Ludwig is a SharePoint architect with over 16 years in the IT and computer industry. Ulysses' primary focus is SharePoint but he dabbles in the latest web technologies and likes to develop software in his spare time.
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