Travel Request Workflow in SharePoint Designer

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at SharePoint Saturday in New Orleans, my home town.  Good times were had by all!  One of the presentations that I did is called “SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow: A Case Study”.  In this session, I referred to a workflow that I had created back in the old days of SharePoint Designer 2007.  I compared the old workflow interface to the new one in SharePoint Designer 2010, and talked about how the same workflow would be accomplished differently in the new version.

Back in June of 2009, I put together this “Travel Request” workflow, and did a half hour recording of the process of creating it.  The idea behind this recording was to compare a SharePoint Designer workflow to other 3rd party SharePoint workflow products.  I created the workflow in SPD, and then Chris Geier of K2 created the same workflow using a K2 workflow product.  We invited other vendors to weigh in, but they did not.

Here is the link to the 30 minute video of my travel request workflow. (SPD 2007)



Here is the link to the PDF of full documentation screenshots of my workflow:

Laura Rogers_TravelRequestWorkflow

Here is the PDF of the presentation I did in New Orleans. (SPD 2010)

SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Case Study_Laura Rogers_spsnola

Note that the 2010 presentation itself was mostly a demonstration, so the slides by themselves are probably not very useful.

10/18/2011 Update: Due to popular demand, here are a couple of screenshots that show the columns to be created.  Keep in mind that this is very simple and minimal, and you are free to add any more columns that you’d like for your own travel system.

“Travel Requests” List: (I renamed the Created By field to “Requestor”)

“Travelers” List:


The Task list is just using the out of box Task list template, and the Approvers list is detailed in the referenced PDF of the presentation.



    can i send to u my questions at sharepoint 2010, and u can help me?

  • Nice article Laura…

  • Hi Laura, Great article! I did something relatively similar with vacation requests, but I had 1 issue — I noticed in yours, an end-user can start the workflow and if rejected/approved by an approver you “set content approval” to either on of those… in my workflow, if the person starting the workflow does not have approver permission levels, it errors out right at that stage and remains “pending” … but if the person starting the workflow has the approver permission levels, it works just fine. Any ideas why that may be?? Thank you for your time. Shawn

  • Shawn, That makes sense that it’s behaving that way, since the workflow is running as the person who initiated it. In that case, you would either need to remove the “set content approval” out of the workflow, or install a 3rd party tool that would allow you to do additional actions like that. Also, in SharePoint 2010, there’s a new workflow functionality called an impersonation step, which you can look forward to being able to use.

  • Laura, Great screencast. It was very easy to follow. I’m curious though, where did your edit task form come from? It’s elegantly simple compared to the stock WSS form and I’m afraid that the stock form is going to overwhelm some of my approvers.

  • I repliacate the same. In the “First approval” step I created “Department approval” via custome tak wizard. But at the “Department approval response” step the I did not get the field “Department approval” Any suggestion plz

  • Hi laura, I Like your blog very much. but do me a fever , i want more details on Impersonation Stepusde in workflow. Their pittfals..

  • Scott McGlynn, The “collect data from user” task action in the workflow is what generated that simple form. Neha, Impersonation steps… you should go ahead and publish the workflow as an admin / an account that you think won’t ever go away, because if that account goes away then the workflow won’t function anymore.

  • Hi Laura, My partner was at SPtechcon and loved your presentations. When I go to look at the screencast of the 2007 workflow, I don’t see any screencast listed am I missing something?

  • Jeanne, Thanks, I just modified the link to make it a more direct link to the screencast.

  • Good Stuff Laura. My first roadblock is getting the Edit url extracted out of SP2010. Got a tip? Thanks.

  • You are a legend! I have followed a number of your posts and screencasts and find your instructions to be extremely clear. I have used this Travel example for a Staff Recognition Workflow we are setting up. I have only run into one problem. At the steps where the Collect Data condition is inserted, I add the “Approver Name” with your exact steps but no user is assigned in the task – it just remains blank. If I add an SP group or an individual name, the task is assigned correctly. I have gone over your instructions a couple of times to make sure I didn’t miss anything but it doesn’t seem to work. I guess I could always create an SP group for each department and add the approver into that group but thought I would ask in any event. I am using SPF 2010 just in case that makes any difference..? Cheers Kelly

  • Hi Kelsnz, Hmmm, I don’t know, I’ve never seen that happen. In 2010, though, if you have the enterprise version, I recommend using the “start approval process” action instead of the collect data… one. For troubleshooting, I’d just make sure that the name of the department in the field in the travel request is exactly the same field type and the exact same text as the field in the approvers list that you’re trying to match to.

  • Hi Laura, Unfortunately, I don’t have Enterprise – we are currently using Foundation. Thanks for the feedback, I’ll keep testing and hopefully come up with a workaround. Thanks Kelly

  • Hi Laura, Just thought I would mention that I resolved my issue above. When creating the Approver lookup, in SPD 2010, it has another drop-down field with options of As String, Display Names, E-mail Addresses…etc. I hadn’t changed that to E-mail addresses (which makes sense). Once I did, the “Assigned To” field was populated in the task. Thanks again! Kelly

  • I figured out how to extract the url from the post above. How can I give you feedback on chapter 11 of Using Microsoft® InfoPath® 2010 with Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010 Step by Step?

  • Hi Lara, can you please include the steps to create the lists and fields for this travel request form? It assumes that they have already been created.

  • Hi, Lara, You did greate help to me. i am really appericiate your work and Mainthing your share your Experiance with as, it is very very good thing,

  • Hi Lara, i am new for sharepoint please provide me Travel Request template. so i can start This.

  • Hi Laura, I have previously used this walkthrough (as you can see from my earlier comments) and it all works really well. I am a little stuck though at one of the first steps – adding the Traveller URL (also worth nothing that I am using 2010 so a little different). I have added a hyperlink to the e-mail to the traveller, and added “[%CurrentItem:ID%]” but this link does not work because the ID is pointing to the Travel Request List and not the Travellers List. I also tried using a lookup on the Travellers List using ID as the Field from Source and the Traveller’s Names as the File the List Item Field and Value but that also gets it confused. I’m hoping I’m missing something really small – any help would be most appreciated 🙂 Thanks Laura BTW – read your Building Business Solutions book this week – very helpful and well written! I am guessing

  • Hi, Laura Thank you very much for post my comments. i am using Wss 3.0 for Practice on travel request so i had created a blank site with Lists and library as you showed in your Screencast. but i am unable to create wrokflow because there are lots of colums are missing. so please Laura do a faver for me please send site template or guide me which colum have to create in Travel request list, please ,

  • Hi Laura, Just an update to my query above. I managed to work out what the issue was – I was trying to add a URL in the e-mail to the Edit Item Form for the Dept Approval Task that was being created but had this “E-mail” Action happening before the “Collect Data from User Action”. My problem is now that if I move the E-mail Action after the Collect Data from User Action, then the e-mail does not get sent until the Approval has been completed but my e-mail contains the link for the user to approve. I tried running in Parallel but the variable still wasn’t populated. Any ideas..? I have played around with the “Set Workflow Variable” to try and set the DeptTaskID but of course this cannot be done before as the actual task has not been created yet.

  • Kelly, Please let me know what page of the PDF you’re stuck on, I can’t figure out what you’re referring to. The email to the new traveller is supposed to go before the approval process starts, and the travelers editform link gets the variable in it for the ID, which is on page 3.

  • I want to make Travel Request related site on SharePoint 2010. I have some basic plan in my mind how it will. Its like User will fill form (Travel Form) then it will go to his/Her Manager then after approval, it will go to HR department. From here onward, complexity starts as HR will give some preference of Hotel, Flight & rest info for selection to user. Once user select that then it will again go to HR for confirmation of such info & then HR will book flights, Hotel nd rest. So kindly let me know such kind of workflow can be made where multiple loop created with these users for follow up & selection, approval….Also i am unable to create ur suggested Travel workflow as shown in Video demonstration. Kindly help me.,..Its Urgent

  • Vrijesh,
    Please check this out. It’s 6 hours, but sounds like it could be applicable to what you’re trying to do. It’s my HR onboarding workflow video series:

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