this article we will explore the three-state workflow of SharePoint
2010. Please note that this is an out-of-the-box workflow also known
as built-in workflow.
For viewing the email notifications generated by the
workflow, you need to configure the Development Machine with an SMTP
receiver tool. You can view the Real World Scenarios on configuring
What is the purpose of the Three-state workflow?
three-state workflow can be used to track the status of list items. For
each status change there will be an email notification performed by this
The Issue Tracking template is built to work with this workflow as it contains a Choice
column with three different states.
Exploring the Workflow
starting with create a new list using the Issue
Tracking template as shown below:
After creating the list we need to Associate
workflow with the list using the List tab
> Workflow Settings >
Add a Workflow.
wizard page will be started as shown below.
the Three-state workflow and enter a unique name for the workflow.
In the bottom of the page, you can see the Start
Options. Check the Start
this workflow when an item is created check
Click the Next button to continue.
Now you will be prompted with the second page of the Workflow as shown below:
note that the Three-state workflow requires a column with three0 states as
the ‘Choice’ field. In this list the Issue
Status column is selected as the ‘Choice’
field. The rest of the three drop down lists show the three different value
selections for the Issue Status to set the Active / Resolved / Closed
down to the page you can set Emailing options like Task Information,
Email Subject and Body, etc. Email Notifications are sent to the
the default options and click the OK button.
Now your workflow is ready to send email
notifications on task creation.
For viewing the emails generated by the workflow, you need to have:
view the Real World Scenarios section of the book to enable this.
let us test the workflow by creating a task. Create a Task and make
sure you select a valid user having email for the Assigned
the changes and you should see the smtp4dev tool catches the email as
can see that the ID value
is being highlighted. This concludes our experiment with the Three-state
Editing the Workflow
can associate multiple workflows with a list or library. To edit an
existing association use the Workflow Settings > Workflow Settings
the appearing page you can view the existing workflows associated and
edit the settings.
Workflows in Progress column displays the number of workflow
instances currently active.
are additional links to Add / Remove workflows, View workflow reports,
Where should I apply this Workflow?
We can use this workflow for the following requirement scenarios:
or Project approval process where a new product idea can be
traversed through different stages of approval before acceptance.
tracking system where a customer can create an issue item, the
support team updates it to resolved, customer can change the status
to Closed or Active again.
tracking system where the QA can create a task item, developer can
change it to Resolved, QA can reopen it.
effective use of Three-state workflow should decrease the delivery
time for a tracking system with email notifications. We can also use
custom lists with transition properties for using the Three-state
this article we explored the Three-state workflow of SharePoint
2010. Following are the points worth to be summarized:
workflow tracks status changes.
Choice column is required for the list / library to use this
column requires at least three fields.
Tracking list template is apt for this workflow.
of Three-state workflow with list instance is required.
notification is enabled for Three-state workflow.