Common Scenarios - Simple Workflow

In this scenario we are going to use SharePoint Reminder to help drive a simple workflow. Our particular example uses a Document Library but you can use the same principals with any type of list that has Content Approval enabled or a custom state field setup.

This is only very simple, manual workflow and doesn't include features that you would expect with a full Business Process Management package such as controlling who can make changes at different steps in the workflow, multiple approval paths, escalation, integration capabilities etc. We are simply using SharePoint Reminder to send an email to the next person in the business process.

Simple as this may be there are still many uses in a typical organisation, some examples include :-

  • Expenses Claims - Employee submits a pending claim, email is sent to manager who reviews and approves, email is then sent to finance who process and pay employee.
  • Vacation Requests - Employee submits a request, email is sent to manager who reviews and approves, email confirming approval is sent back to employee and email is sent to HR to enter vacation in their files.
  • Helpdesk - User submits a ticket, email is sent to helpdesk staff informing them of new ticket. If ticket is not resolved within a certain time an email is sent to helpdesk team leader to escalate it. Once ticket is resolved an email is returned to user.
We will assume that your site already has a suitable Document Library with Content Approval enabled or a suitable state field (for example you could setup a field that can contain Received, Processed and Dispatched states. You would then setup a view for each state filtering out matching items. You would then setup a Reminder web part for each view.)

Tip - if you need to keep a version history of who made changes and when then customise an Issues List.


For this example Robert King has uploaded 3 documents, one of which is waiting approval, one of which has been Approved by Nancy Diavalo and one of which has been Rejected by Nancy.


Create a new web part page to hold the Reminder Web Parts for this workflow.


Add the first Reminder web part to the page and configure it as follows :-



Select your Document library (or other list)

This is for the pending step of the workflow so select pending.

(If you are using a custom state then select the appropriate view)

Enter the email address or addresses of the people who are responsible for the next step in this process (approving or rejecting the document)

Tip - There are several different options for choosing who to email. For example you could have a field in the list called 'Manager' and then dynamically pickup the manager responsible for approving this document. See the FAQ for more details.

  Enter a suitable Subject and Message.

Tip - Use the format [Field Name] to insert the data from a particular field into the subject or message, i.e. "[Created By] has submitted a document for approval"


  Set Send When to Always as we want an email to be sent regardless of any dates.

Set Send Email to Once as we only want one email to be sent for each 'state'.

Set Check List to an appropriate value for on your circumstances.

Add a further Reminder web part to the page for each state in your workflow

Choose the appropriate view and set the Email To, Subject and Message accordingly.