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Working with Lookup Columns in Workflows

While building a simple workflow for a client, I found a head-scratcher – none of the lookup columns in the list are available in a SharePoint Designer workflow.

For example, try setting a workflow variable to a lookup column:

  1. Create a new action “Set Workflow Variable”
  2. In the Value section, click fx and select Current Item
  3. Look for any lookup columns – they’re not in the list

The workaround for this is very simple (and makes me shake my head, it’s a bizarre behavior):

  1. Data Source: instead of Current Item, select the List by name
  2. Field: Your look up column
  3. Return Field as: Lookup Value
  4. Field: ID
  5. Value: Current Item:ID

I hope this relieves someone else’s headache!

4 Responses to “Working with Lookup Columns in Workflows”

  1. Alan Says:

    How about the other way around though, I want to set a variable to the lookup column…

  2. Mike Knapp Says:

    Unless I’m misunderstanding, that’s pretty straight-forward. You can set the variable as the value or the lookup id.

    If that’s not what you mean, can you please clarify?

  3. Marc Says:

    Thanks for info however for the likes of me I cannot get this to work.
    Keep getting list does not exist error:
    “HTTP 404 {“error”:{“code”:”-2130575322, Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException”,”message”:{“lang”:”en-US”,”value”:”List does not exist.\u000a\u000aThe page you selected contains a list that does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user.”},”innererror”:{“message”:”List does not exist.\u000a\u000aThe page you selected contains a list that does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user.”,”type”:”Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException”,”stacktrace…

    Any suggestions? Could you please post an example using actual list data?

    Much Appreciated,
    Marc

  4. Dennis Steelman Says:

    seems like the solution I need except in step 3 the only option I have for Return Field as: is “String”

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