What is a sharepoint workflow ?

What is a sharepoint workflow ?

A SharePoint workflow is a set of rules that control how data moves between different parts of a business application. A workflow is triggered when certain conditions occur. When a condition occurs, the workflow executes its actions. Workflows are often associated with tasks in Microsoft Office applications. You can use workflows to automate repetitive processes, such as sending out invoices, or to create complex processes, such as managing customer accounts.


Workflow definitions are stored in a library called a workflow definition store (WDS). Each WDS contains a collection of workflow definitions. In addition to storing workflow definitions, each WDS stores information about the current state of the workflow.

The following table lists some of the terms related to workflows.

ActivationEvent An event that triggers a workflow.
ActionAn action performed by a workflow rule.
ActivityActivity that represents a task in a workflow.
ApplicationObject that represents a specific instance of a SharePoint site.
AssociationAssociation between two objects.
AuthorizationAuthorization to perform a specified activity.
BusinessRule Business rule that specifies what should happen if a specified condition exists.
ConditionCondition that determines whether a workflow runs.
Data TypeData type of a field.
Definition Definition of a workflow.

How to create Sharepoint Workflow ?

  • SharePoint Workflows are a set of pre-defined activities that are triggered automatically based on certain conditions. SharePoint workflows are similar to automated email campaigns. You can create them using Microsoft Office 365 tools.
  • Workflow definitions are stored in libraries called lists. These lists are associated with specific sites, site collections, or subsites. When a user performs an action (such as adding a document), the system triggers the workflow definition associated with that list.
  • A workflow definition consists of a series of steps that perform actions on items in the library. Each step contains instructions that tell the system what to do. A workflow definition can have any number of steps.
  • The first step in a workflow definition is the start activity. This tells the system where to begin executing the workflow. The next step is the condition activity. This step determines whether the workflow should continue to execute. If the condition is true, the workflow continues to the next step. Otherwise, the workflow stops at this point.
  • Each step in a workflow definition contains two parts: the instruction and the result. Instructions describe how to perform an action. Results describe the outcome of performing the action.


Instructions consist of three components: the name of the task, the parameters, and the description. The name of the task is the text displayed in the workflow editor. Parameters specify values that control the execution of the task. The description provides additional information about the task.


Results consist of two components: the value and the message. Value specifies the actual data that is returned by the task. Message describes the result of the task.

To create a workflow definition, follow these steps:

  1. Create a workflow definition library.
  2. Add a workflow definition to the library.
  3. Assign permissions to the workflow definition.
  4. Associate the workflow definition with a site collection.

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