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The Community Speaks - "Favorite Workflow Action"

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For the July mission, I asked the community What's your favorite workflow action and why?​ And for everyone who's interested, I've listed the actions mentioned and also why people love them so. Perhaps you haven't used one of these before. Are you inspired?

Favorite Workflow ActionWhat the community has to say

Action Set

You can bundle a collection of actions in an action container which can then be collapsed and expanded to make your workflow design more consistent and clean.

  • "This action is a very powerful tool that is great for grouping other actions together. One really neat feature is the ability to configure the action to run as Workflow owner. This is a really powerful feature when you utilize it with the Set item permissions action. ...and the ability to create Snippets from them."
  • "Favorite for grouping and running actions in an other user context"
  • "Being able to group actions for reuse at multiple places in the workflow is such a huge time saver"
  • "Allows reusing of tasks"

Assign Flexi Task

With this action you can assign a task to one or more users, and then request a specific action such as all must agree, or first response applies, or majority choose the outcome. The list of outcomes are chosen by the workflow designer.

  • "You can outcome behaviors, delegate tasks, set reminders, set individual setting for approvers, access to LazyApproval etc"
  • "My users would definitely vote for flexi task."
  • "I'd pick the Flexi task action as it does so much more for just one little box and approvals are at the heart of many workflows. Think about the power - LazyApproval, able to evaluate a set of replies, able to provide and configure a set of outcomes, reminders, escalations, delegations"
  • "So many options to configure each notification it sends. So much functionality in one single task"
  • "...user task delegation (between two dates) can really be some powerful stuff. It's easy to configure, you can attach a custom Nintex forms to it, plus is allows us to set user permissions while and after the task on the item is completed, as a way of allowing us to add security to on the item"
  • Favorite is the flexi adding Nintex Forms into the mix allows customizing the task form to create some incredibly powerful and user centric forms."

Build String

Allows the workflow to perform basic string concatenations for use within other actions at runtime.

  • "...use this in combination with Create Item and Copy/Move to SharePoint action"

Calculate Date

Allows a time period to be added or subtracted from a date to create a new date.

  • "I configure a lot of reminders in my workflows, phew!!"

Call Web Service Action

Allows the workflow to make a call to a SOAP web service method.

  • "Almost no limit to what you can do with this action! For example; modify settings, create SharePoint groups, retrieve attachments from list items etc without the need to write a custom action. You can also access managed metadata store and other services via webservices."
  • "This is one of the actions that impressed me so much the first time I saw Nintex workflow. This was when I was an older developer, and I was so impressed with this functionality that afterwards I was a Nintex fanboy for life!"

Commit Pending Changes

​Forces all existing batched operations to be committed. Batched operations are operations performed by workflow actions that do not commit immediately.

  • "cause that just makes stuff work! Commit early and commit often"
  • "pause, commit and logging help keep me sane "

Copy to SharePoint

Allows the workflow to copy items from the current library to another library within SharePoint.

  • " terms of being pleasantly surprised, I loved finding out that Copy to SharePoint would extract an attachment from a List Item and copy it to a SharePoint document library, complete with metadata."
Looping/ Run If/ For Each family
  • "SPD workflows don's have this functionality OOTB and I use it all the time...the other day I had to use SPD to simply send an email to a contacts lists, pretty straight forward with Nintex but in SPD? Not easy!"
  • "If I really have to select the best, then I would say For Each loop...we lacked this functionality in OOTB SP workflows. Coming from there, this was gold!"

Regular Expression

Perform a regular expression on a block of text. You can perform an operation on the specified string using a regular expression (pattern), including replacing, splitting, and extracting strings, as well as checking for a match.

  • "This action allows you every kind of manipulation of strings, you can extract, split and a lot more things! "
  • "I use it on so many occasions to evaluate or manipulate data."
  • "RegEx action "

Request Approval

This action allows you to request one or more users to process an approval as part of the workflow.

  • "It's amazing how you can assign an approval for a number of people. It is also pretty cool how to approvers get to comment on why they approved or declined the approval sent to them by email! A great way of communicating and getting things done in a really busy organization where people are in and out of the office"

Request Data

Assigns a task to a specified user. To complete the task, the user must provide a value for each data item specified in the action configuration.

  • "Definitely my most used action. So powerful in combination with Nintex Forms."

Social Actions

E.g. Post to Yammer, Wordpress, Twitter

  • "We created a monthly reporting form/workflow solution where supervisors have the option of elevating notable staff submissions up to executive level visibility. Executives can share a post with the whole company via Yammer with a simple tick of a checkbox. Completely automated - LOVE IT!"
  • "I think the social actions are great - being able to post items to twitter or yammer"

State Machine

The state machine action provides a construct where you can define the number of states a workflow can be in, the workflow will continue to move between these states based on approval tasks, and until you tell the workflow to end.

  • "A lot of customers ask for workflows with a step back or a step forward depending on approval tasks, and it's simple to use and offers something that cannot be done with SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows"
  • "Favorite because it allows for workflow flow control"
  • "I like the state machine action because it's useful for recurring workflow areas or modeling purposes"
  • "Hands down the State Machine. The added ability to move to different parts of the process at any time, all in the context of a single workflow, is super convenient and valuable."
  • "Use the State machine as the heart of a lot of workflows. Its a great way to organize separate processes within the workflow and allow you to repeat steps when necessary"


This action will direct the flow of actions based on the value of a single variable. A branch for each possible defined value is used to determine which branch of workflow actions will run.

  • "I'll give a shout out to the switch action, who I took for granted until trying to build something in O365 before it was available"
  • "My favorite is the Switch workflow action. I have several programs that use this logic"

Web Request Action

With this action you can send an HTTP request to a URL, and perform a variety of requests, including GET, POST, PUT, SOAP 1.1, SOAP 1.2, and customized request methods. You can also use this action to call ASMX web services.

  • "You can call SharePoint 2013 REST API requests, your own web services, ones from other systems and...interact with other applications without coding! Definitely awesome!"

Honorable mentions