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I've created a new list-based workflow which has one step that's pretty simple. After that step I'd like to launch another workflow - the Collect Signatures workflow. How can I launch a child workflow from my workflow?

I'm using SharePoint Designer to create the workflow.

I've read that some people have used the Invoke action or the Code action to write custom code to invoke the child workflow, but I don't see either of these options in Designer.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

SharePoint Designer workflows do not natively have any way to launch another workflow, but there are ways to accomplish this.

  • Configure the secondary/child workflow to start "On Change"
  • Create a site column that will be used as control field between the parent/child
  • Add the site column as an Association Column on both workflows so they can see it
  • Have the parent workflow set the control field with a status value (e.g. "Start")
  • Have the child workflow read the status to know it should fire. When done, have it update the status (e.g. "Complete")

It is possible that other native fields (e.g. an existing status column) could be used instead of a control field, but I like using a specific control field to communicate between the parent and the child.

If you need the parent workflow to wait for the child, add a "Wait for ..." activity to wait for the control field to be set to "Complete".

If you need to pass additional state between the workflows you can either add additional association columns, or use a secondary list.

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Thanks, I think that would work but I don't see how to set the "signers" to be a dynamic user such as the manager of the person who submitted the task. It looks like I have to enter static users. – Josh M. Jul 5 '11 at 16:57
Please don't chain multiple questions together in one thread. The original question was related to starting a child workflow. There are a number of strategies for dynamic task assignment in SharePoint Designer including looking up the manager of a user, reading user profile properites, or using a configuration list. Please post another question if you would like additional help with dynamic assignment. – Chris Beckett Jul 5 '11 at 21:41
Yep, no problem. – Josh M. Jul 6 '11 at 2:17
Unfortunately I cannot comment on Chris thread, but just to let you know that I followed only the first recommendation (Configure the secondary/child workflow to start "On Change") and voilà! Thanks!! (I had spent already like an hour searching all over internet and the answer was sooo simple!) – Daniela Aug 27 '14 at 16:05

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