Using the Format this Value Feature

  • 17 April 2015
  • 6 replies

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Sometimes when managing Person or Group variables and fields we need to fetch specific attributes from that entity. For example, what if I want to retrieve the Login Name of a user, or their email, display name, or ID? This can be done easily by using an easy to overlook functionality known as the Format Value function, or Return Type function. It is noted as a small orange icon with an FX as a arithmetic function symbol.

This function is available in many configurations of fields within actions. As seen below in the Send Notification action, I am specifying a workflow variable pnManager to be the value of the TO: field to send an email to a user. I can click on the icon to specify a return value.



The options available in o365​ are Display Name, Email Address, Login Name, and User ID Number.


To send a notification to someone, I do not need to specify the return type as Email Address as this will be handled for me. But in the case that I need to save this to a Single Line of Text variable or field value of the same type, I can use the Set Variable action and return type of email address to only return the email address. The default value will be Login Name.

This is also available on-premise. As seen below you can find many more options such as Email Addresses, Semicolon Delimited. If the variable or field allows multiple values then this is a quick way to return a useful field value that can be used anywhere.


6 replies

Great Andrew!

Thanks, Andrew! The help for Nintex Workflow for Office 365 is now updated to list possible return types. See

Just to point out, that if you intend to display the DisplayNames or emails as string, then make sure you use a string variable, not the people variable (like I did) as the people variable will just resolve the display name or email and display the login again. 

Hello Andrew-- I am not finding the option (orange fx symbol) on any item under Actions. Does it have to be enabled somewhere first? I am on O365. 

Userlevel 7
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The Select return type dialog box lists formats available for the currently selected value or variable. This dialog box is available only for some values and variables in workflow actions. You do not need to enable anything for its use. 

Thank you so much Andrew!!  I've been trying to figure this out for days.