Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top 6 New Features for SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows

What are my favorite new features for SharePoint Designer workflows?
1. Reusable workflow
This new feature allows you to create a workflow that can be applied to as many lists or libraries on the site as you need. The reusable workflow can be attached to a list or library using both SharePoint Designer or using the workflow settings page in the UI. In addition, the reusable workflow can be associated with a particular site content type. The workflow can then only be activated only on lists or libraries containing that content type, which eliminates the need to build a check content type action into the workflow itself.

2. SharePoint Designer ribbon allows easy access to workflow building blocks
The SharePoint Designer ribbon is your one-stop-shop for all the tools and parts you need to create your workflows.

3. Workflow action prompt
You can now type your workflow logic directly into the workflow. SharePoint Designer will prompt you with the possible actions that match what you are typing. This makes creating each step in your workflow much more efficient.

4. Customize out of the box workflows
Using SharePoint Designer, you can now customize the out-of-the-box workflows that come with every SharePoint site. This means that you can make small tweaks and adjustments to the pre-configured workflows without having to create your own custom workflow from scratch.

5. Impersonation step
The impersonation step allows the workflow to perform all actions within that step with the permissions of the author of the workflow, not the person who initiates the workflow. This means that the workflow can perform actions the user would otherwise be restricted from doing on the site – for example copying an item or document to another library to which the user has only visitor access.

6. Two-way import/export between SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Visio Premium 2010
This new feature allows SharePoint workflows to be built visually using tools in Visio 2010 and exported directly into SharePoint Designer. Using the Microsoft SharePoint Workflow template in Visio (found in the “Flowcharts” template section), you will get access to all the actions and conditions available within SharePoint Designer. The screenshot above is only a small sample of those available. In addition, workflows already created within SharePoint Designer can be imported into Visio for visual representation.
Bonus! Workflows no longer have to be tied to a list item

Although not specifically a feature of SharePoint Designer, there is a new feature for 2010 and I believe it is worth mentioning: Workflows in 2010 do not have to run on a single list item or document. The new Document Set feature of SharePoint Server 2010 allows you to bundle together different types of documents into groupings that make sense for your business. Rather than having to run a workflow on each individual document within the set, you can now run a single workflow on the entire Document Set.

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