Design Workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010 and InfoPath Form 2010

Posted by: Pravinkumar Dabade , on 4/28/2011, in Category SharePoint
Views: 143420
Abstract: In this article, we will see how to automate business process by designing workflows using SharePoint Designer 2010. We will also see how to design and integrate InfoPath 2010, which is introduced in SharePoint Designer 2010 with our workflow.

In this article, we will see how to automate business process by designing workflows using SharePoint Designer 2010. We will also see how to design and integrate InfoPath 2010, which is introduced in SharePoint Designer 2010 with our workflow.

Scenario – To understand the integration better, let us take an overview of a scenario where we will evaluate a new customer which will get registered with our Purchase Order System. This evaluation of the customer will be done by the company employees. They will write their evaluation comments using InfoPath form.


The steps to create a SharePoint Site using a Template ‘Team Site’ remains the same as shown in my previous article SharePoint Dashboard with Common Filters using PerformancePoint Services 2010.

Now that you have created a SharePoint site with ‘Team Site’ template, let’s add a list. To create a list, click on ‘Lists’ link from the left hand navigation pane and click on ‘Create’ button. The ‘Create’ dialog box will appear as shown below –

Sharepoint create dialog box

Once we create a list with the name ‘New Customer Review’, we need to add a couple of columns as described in the table given below. To create a column, click on list settings from the top ‘Ribbon’ as shown below –

Sharepoint List Settings

Now click on ‘Create Column’ link from the ‘List Settings’ page as shown below –

Sharepoint List Settings

Now create the lists as described below. Also add some sample data in the lists –

Customers List –


Now let’s edit the site in SharePoint Designer 2010. Open SharePoint Designer 2010 and click on ‘Open Site’ button. Now paste the URL of your site and click ‘Open’ as shown below –

Sharepoint Open Site

You will see all the site contents in the left hand side section ‘Navigation’. So to create a workflow, click on ‘Workflows’ in the navigation section. You will see a ‘Workflows’ ribbon on top. Now you can create three types of workflow in SharePoint 2010 using SharePoint Designer 2010 –

  1. List Workflow – associated with a specific list in SharePoint.
  2. Reusable Workflow – we can be associate this workflow with multiple lists or content types.
  3. Site Workflow – this workflow is not associated with any lists or site content types.

Click on Site Workflow as shown below –

Sharepoint Site Workflow

Once you click on the ‘Site Workflow’ button, it will ask you the name of the workflow and the description of the workflow. Let’s give a name to the workflow as ‘Customer Review’ and description as ‘Check the customer background’ as shown below –

Create Site Workflow

Click the ‘OK’ button. This will show you workflow editor window in which it shows you the first step with the name ‘Step 1’ as shown below –

Workflow Editor

Now let’s have a look at a few things. Pay particular attention to the Workflow ribbon.

  1. Save button – Now you can save the workflow. This facility was not available in SharePoint Designer 2007.
  2. Publish button – By clicking publishing button, you can publish the workflow to the site.
  3. Conditions – You can implement the conditions in our workflow.
  4. Action – You can add multiple actions when a specific condition occurs in the workflow.
  5. Initiation Form Parameters – Now in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can design InfoPath forms for taking the data from the end users. You can also modify the form design using InfoPath Form designer 2010 if it is installed on your machine.

If you see in the above figure, it shows you a horizontal line with ‘Orange’ color where you can start typing the Steps by double clicking.

So first of all, we will design an Initiation form. This form will be used by an Employee who will fill up the information about customer review. So click on ‘Initiation Form Parameters’ button. This will show you a dialog box. Let’s click on the ‘Add’ button to add the different fields on our ‘Initiation Form’ as shown below –

InfoPath Initiation Form

Let’s add the following fields –


Now we are ready with our ‘Initiation Form’. If you observe, our form is similar to our list which we have created in  the above steps. So we will use this initiation form to fill data in our list. To add the data from our ‘Initiation Form’ to our ‘New Customer Review’ button, let’s add an ‘Action’ in our workflow as shown below. To add an ‘Action’ in our workflow, click on ‘Action’ dropdown list and make a choice of ‘Create List Item’ from the ‘List Actions’ section as shown below –

Sharepoint List Action

This will show you the following screen –


Click on ‘this list’ which brings up the ‘Create New List item’ dialog box. From the list dropdown, choose our list ‘New Customer Review’ and click on the ‘Add’ button. This will bring up the ‘Value Assignment’ dialog box. In this dialog box, we will set the field of our list. Choose our first field ‘CustomerID’ and click on ‘To this value’ button as shown below –

Sharepoint Value Assigment

In the ‘Lookup for Integer’ dialog box, choose ‘Data Source’ as ‘Workflow Variables and Parameters’ and set ‘Field from source’ to ‘Parameter: CustomerID’ as shown above. Repeat this step for all the fields of ‘New Customer Review’ list fields. Once done, the ‘Create List item box’ should look like below –

Create New List Item

Now let’s add another action in to our workflow. Go to ‘Core Actions’ group and choose ‘Send an Email’ action as shown below –

Infopath Send Email

Now click on ‘These Users’ link and you will see the ‘Define E-Mail Message’ window. In the ‘To’ section, click on the address button and make a choice of ‘Owner’ group. In the ‘Subject’,  to write a message click on ‘Add lookup button’ to add a lookup item. Now write a message ‘Customer Reviewed by – ‘ and then click on ‘Add or Change Lookup’ button. This pops up a pop up box ‘Lookup for String’. Choose ‘Workflow variables and Parameters’ in the Data source section and choose ‘Employee Name’ in the ‘Field from Source section’ as shown below –

Define EMail Message

Now in the Message box, write a message ‘Customer Ratings are –‘ and then click on the ‘Add or Change lookup button’. Then choose ‘Workflow variables and Parameters’ in the Data source section and choose ‘Ratings’ in the ‘Field from Source’ section. The final window should look like the following –

Define EMail Message

Now ‘Save’ your workflow. Click on the ‘Publish’ button. Once your workflow has been published, click on the ‘Customer Review’ workflow from the navigation section as shown below –

Navigation Section

If you check the above diagram, you will see all the details of the workflow with the initiation form. If you observe carefully, your initiation form is now ‘InfoPath Form’. Click on ‘Customer Review.xsn’ form and it will get edited in the InfoPath form designer.

Let’s modify this form a bit –

  • Add a title to our form as Customer Review Report.
  • Format the titles of each field. Make it bold.
  • Change the title of ‘Start’ button to ‘Submit Review’.

Please note that InfoPath form is a very powerful tool which you can use to retrieve data from heterogeneous systems like ‘Web Services’, ‘Databases’, ‘SharePoint Lists’ etc. Now your form should look like the following –

Infopath 2010 Form

Now save your form locally. To make this modified form available to our workflow, you will have to publish this form. The steps to publish this form are –

  1. Click on the File menu and go to Publish sub menu.
  2. On the right hand side, you will see the actual address of the form from where it got downloaded in to our InfoPath form designer tool.
  3. Click on the ‘Workflow’ button. This will publish the form and shows you a message at the end.

Publish Infopath 2010 Form


Testing the WorkFlow

Once your form has been published, let’s go back to our SharePoint site and test our Workflow. To test the workflow, go to ‘Site Action’ menu and click on ‘View All Site Contents’ menu. This displays two link buttons on the top. First one is ‘Create’ and second is ‘Site Workflows’. Click on ‘Site Workflows’ button and you will see your workflow ‘Customer Review’ as shown below –

Customer Review Workflow

Now click on the ‘Customer Review’ workflow and you will see the ‘Initiation Form’ which we designed to add the customer review item in the list ‘New Customer Review’. Fill in the information and then click on ‘Submit Review’ button as shown below –

Customer Review Workflow

Check the ‘New Customer Review’ list and you should see the item in that list. But the problem is now we cannot ask users to go everytime to ‘View All Site Contents’ from the ‘Site Action’ menu. So let’s make it convenient for the end user by adding a link web part on our home page. Follow these steps:

1. ‘Edit’ the ‘Home’ page.

2. Go to ‘Insert’ ribbon and click on  ‘Web Part’ button. From the web part group, choose ‘Lists and Libraries’ and then choose ‘Link’ web part. Click on the Add button. Now save your page.

3. Click on ‘Site Action’ - ‘View All Site Content’. Click on ‘Site Workflows’ link button. Now right click ‘Customer Review’ and click on ‘Copy Shortcut’.

4. Now go to home page and click on ‘Add New Link’ button under ‘Links’ web part. Paste the link which we just copied. In the description, write ‘Customer Review Form’ and click ‘Save’ button. This should look like the following –


Test the link and now you have successfully created a workflow with an Initiation form using SharePoint Designer 2010.

Summary – In this article, we have seen how to automate business processes by designing workflows using SharePoint Designer 2010. We have also seen how to design and integrate InfoPath 2010 which is introduced in SharePoint Designer 2010 with our workflow.

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Pravinkumar, works as a freelance trainer and consultant on Microsoft Technologies. He is having over 10 years of experience in IT and is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer(MCT). He has conducted various corporate trainings on all versions of .NET Technologies including .NET, SharePoint Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Silverlight, ASP.NET, Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007 (Monitoring). He is passionate about learning new technologies from Microsoft. You can contact Pravinkumar at dabade[dot]pravinkumar [attherate] gmail[dot]com

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Feedback - Leave us some adulation, criticism and everything in between!
Comment posted by Lepelle on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:35 AM
Good article indeed!
Comment posted by Karan on Friday, November 25, 2011 8:56 AM
Pravin, thanks for the info.. its quite useful. Could you please let me know how can associate the existiing infopath with a new workflow in sharepoint designer 2010?
Comment posted by Mikhail on Thursday, December 8, 2011 5:25 AM
To enhance workflow authoring we offer HarePoint Workflow Extensions software ( ) - about 200 new workflow activities, including free ones. It's fully supported by SharePoint Designer 2010.
Comment posted by Amanda on Thursday, December 8, 2011 7:33 AM
This is perfect for me but I was wondering when someone submits the form, how would I get it to send a copy of the completed form to who ever has to review it and from there is can be approved? Also is there a way that the user who has filled out the form can access it again after it has been sent to see what they have in putted?
Comment posted by Gurpreet Singh on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:14 PM
good tutorial sir i also want to save data in multiple list, suppose i have a list with name "abc" and NewForm.aspx page in this list i want to save data in two list on click of Save button in NewForm.aspx list i want to save data in "abc" and in "xyz(second list)" on save button click that is in the newform.aspx of "abc" list can u please tell me how to do this,,,,,, if you got the solution please e-mail me at,,,,,,......,thanks,,,,,,
Comment posted by Sanjay on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 6:43 AM
really good article...
Comment posted by WaliUddin on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 9:14 AM
Thanks for the info.. really helpful.. i use sharepoint designer 2007.. will it work the same way? i will try out thanks agian..
Comment posted by will kumar on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:49 AM
Thanks..really helpful article
Comment posted by Prashant Kumbhar on Friday, July 20, 2012 8:28 AM
Very Good Article... Cleared all the concepts from this blog... Thanks..:)
Comment posted by Ritz on Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:18 AM
Very good article, the only issue I have is once a user submits the form, it takes them back to the 'site workflow' page. Is there anyway the user can be directed to back to the home page (or where they clicked the link from) after they have submited the form
Comment posted by Elumalai on Friday, August 3, 2012 5:17 AM
Thanks...your article very nice and useful...........
Comment posted by AmrAhmed on Monday, August 20, 2012 10:18 AM
Workflow failed to start
Workflow Customer Review was canceled by System Account.
I dunno why ..
do u have any solution?
Comment posted by Niket on Thursday, October 25, 2012 5:01 AM
great work
Comment posted by Nagendra on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 6:09 AM
Good Article
Comment posted by hari krishna on Friday, February 15, 2013 3:26 AM
Thank you so much, really useful
Comment posted by Dev on Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:29 PM
Help Full Article
Comment posted by 565y5gggrtyey on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:35 AM
Comment posted by Sampath on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 7:29 AM
Hi.. Thanks for the wonderful article. I have tried creating a sample. When I am creating the workflow in designer, the initiation form is created in aspx instead of infopath forms. Can you please let me know if there is any setting we need to take care of for this.
Comment posted by raj bathula on Friday, April 19, 2013 6:59 AM
hi pravin. could you please help me out in reusable workflow attachment to content type after deploying to production?
here are the details:

I have a admin approval InfoPath form that will give content type in the site collection when we deploy to central admin. Now i developed a reusable workflow with SPD 2010 and used the column values of the content type and completed the workflow in dev environment.

Now i have to move this workflow to production. For this we have an option to save the workflow as template Which will give put a wsp in site assets library. From there i downloaded and uploaded to solutions gallery in production site collection and activated required workflow feature.

So no i have to go to the content type that i used in one of forms library and attach the workflow. When i go to content type and select "add workflow" the newly deployed re-suable workflow is not appearing :(

Then i went to SPD and opened production site to check workflow exist or not. hmmm, its there in workflows gallery. However, The content type showing as "All" instead "My custom InfoPath content type".

Please help me out, in making the resuable workflow attach for content type in production.

thanks a lot
Comment posted by Lailla Khan on Monday, April 22, 2013 10:55 AM
Nice work
Comment posted by Bhojaraja Kumar on Thursday, June 27, 2013 8:07 AM
Nice article
Comment posted by santosh on Friday, July 19, 2013 5:47 AM
Really it was nice article to learn Designer workflow for beginners.Thanks to post it
Comment posted by belly on Saturday, January 25, 2014 10:52 AM
wonderful article  
Comment posted by Shirley Richard on Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:14 AM
Thanks for sharing this information. I have just signed up for a free SharePoint site with