Inserting an item with web service call (people)

Blog Post created by cazza162 Champion on Apr 26, 2016

I had a requirement whereby no users would have access to input into a list in SharePoint, but that my workflow needed to create an item in it.  Perfect for using a web service call with a service account I thought!

I created a service account and added the credentials into my workflow constants for the site.

To start with in my workflow I created a build string action to create the XML to pass into the web service call:


Originally I only needed to add text fields in to the list, so I hooked up my web service call as follows:

  • Call web service action
  • URL = Web URL/_vti_bin/lists.asmx
  • Username and password = managed credentials input earlier of the service account
  • web method = UpdateListItems
  • Editor mode = SOAP builder
  • listName (string) = Requests
  • updates (xml) = vMTextBatchXML (the XML we created earlier)


I ran the workflow and it created the item perfectly.  I was super happy with this.

Then the requirement changed (development wouldn't be the same without a spot of scope creep ) - I needed to take the requester from the originating list and pass it to the people picker field of the destination list.  Easy I thought.  I added my field name into the XML in the build string and ran again.  WRONG.  it kept failing and I couldn't work out why.  I tried everything possible in the people picker value to pass across, but it wouldn't work.

What I didn't know until now is that the XML wanted me to pass the person or group field in this format:


where userID is the local ID of the user being passed in the web service call.

So then I needed to work out how to get the userID to be able to pass my value in the correct format.

What I did is here (but please shout if there is an easier way):

  • Call web service action
  • URL = Web URL/_vti_bin/usergroup.asmx
  • Username and password = managed credentials input earlier of the service account
  • web method = GetUserInfo
  • Editor mode = SOAP builder
  • userLoginName (string) = item property requester
  • Web service output, store result in = vMTextXMLOutput

So now I had the output of the web service call for the requester GetUserInfo.

I then used Query XML action to pull out the ID:



So now I had the user ID I could revisit my original build string action and pass the user in the format required.

I have written this here so that I can revisit next time I need to use this.  I don't know about you guys but I am always thinking to myself, "I know I have done that before, but where is it!!" so thought this might be an easier option for me!

Please let me know if anyone has taken a different approach for this.  I searched this community and google for answers when I was stumped but I couldn't find anything - but you never know if you search the correct terms!

Hope this helps someone, if not I know it will help me in the future!