I am working in SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, building a workflow in SharePoint Designer. I have a very simple custom list which has a "Single line of text" column called "ProcessedState". I am trying to get any of the items where "ProcessedState" is a blank string.

Currently I only have four items in the list, and one of them has a blank for ProcessedState.

First, I created a variable to hold myListItemId (ListItemID type) to hold the id of the item, if I could find it. Then I do a "Set Workflow Variable", setting myListItemId to:

DataSource: MyTargetList Field from Source: ID

...find the list item...

Field: ProcessedState Value: ?

That "?" is what is not working. I've tried many values I've tried single quotes, double quotes, a space, **, *****, ?????, blank, [blank], null, NULL, DBNull, _, and I've tried these same values by putting them into a string variable and then comparing to a variable.

In every case, the ID comes back "0"...it doesn't find that item with a blank value. Thoughts?

enter image description here

the "Variable: myBlankString" is the value I'm trying to get to work. Hope the image clarifies what I'm trying to do.

  • Just to update you, I've tried a few more alternatives, to no avail. I tried adding an Initiation Form parameter, single line of text, and leaving it blank, hoping for a 1-to-1 comparison. Didn't work. I've also tried setting a string variable to "0x00" and "\0" to see if I'd strike gold, but nothin. At this point I'm going to plan B...I'm going to make a separate looping workflow to go and pre-set those missing values, as I can't seem to query for them. It doesn't solve the real question here, but will get me from A to B. I'm still open to the "real" answer, on querying for blank string
    – Chad
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


Whenever a lookup encounters a variable that does not have data in it, it returns the string ****. To resolve this, open the workflow and make sure that the variable is set to a value (or initialized).


  • Thanks Juan. Unfortunately, it didn't end up matching the value. I re-tried the lookup with **** directly, as well as setting a string variable to **** and matching on that. I also tried matching that variable as String and as Plain Text. All came back having found no matches. Thanks for the suggestion though.
    – Chad
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 14:09

I believe you should be able to use "is empty"?

  • Thanks Rob. If my workflow were operating ON the item in question, then what you say would work. I could compare the "CurrentItem:ProcessedState is empty". However, my workflow is trying to go find the item from another list...so you have to do "Lookup for List Item" and pass the value to compare to, and that's what's not working. I will edit my post to show the form I'm trying to get to work and it may help clarify.
    – Chad
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:43
  • You've tried "is empty" for the "Value" entry under "Find the List Item"?
    – Rob D'Oria
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 21:49
  • Rob - I tried putting "is empty" directly in the "Value" box, as well as assigning a string variable to "is empty" and comparing there. No dice. Thanks for the idea though.
    – Chad
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:11

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