I just can't seem to get a grasp on how the Update List Items works and need help.

What are the steps required to update selected items from List1 to List2?
I started to create a workflow with Update item but can't get it to work, unless there is a better way.

Example: When the workflow starts or an item is changed I want List1 field names titled "Dog" and "Cat" to update List2 field names titled "Dog" and "Cat".

List 2 has identical column names plus other unrelated columns.

2 Answers 2


You can use the Update List Item dialog box in a SharePoint Designer workflow to update an existing item in a SharePoint list or a SharePoint document library.

The Update List Item dialog box consists of 3 main sections:

  1. A drop-down list box where you can select the SharePoint list or library in which the item that has to be updated is located.
  2. A list box where you can add, edit, and remove the values of the fields that have to be updated for the item.
  3. A section where you can specify a field name and value that can be used to identify the item that should be updated.

In your case

  1. You should select List2
  2. Then add field Dog = CurrentItem:Dog and add field Cat = CurrentItem:Cat
  3. Identify which item (row) in List2 you want to update. Select the field and set the value.
  • I understand all but the last item #3. I created Dog and Cat as you described. I don't know what to put in the bottom section titled "Find the List Item." What field name and value do I use? As new items are added to List1 I want them to add to List2 as well. Thank you.
    – Zippy
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 17:52
  • Ok in that case you can't use Update List Item activity. This activity can be used only if the item already exists in List2. You should use Create Item activity instead. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 17:55
  • Okay, thank you. I will try to figure that one out.
    – Zippy
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 18:12
  • I used Copy item, which seems to work, copying a record from List1 to List2. However, if one or more of the fields in the record of List1 changes, how can I auto update List2?
    – Zippy
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 19:27
  • 1
    For that you need to identify which record in List2 is updated. You can add a field in List2 with name List1ID and while creating List2 item, populate field List1ID = ID of List1. Then use that in the Update Item activity. i.e before creating new item in List2 check if an item with ID exists in List2, if already exists then update item. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 19:37

My issue is similar, but I have multi-lines field I have to update from one list to another list. I select Title as the key and then I have the line item set to overwrite so that I can copy list1 item A to list2 Item A but it doesn't do it. It duplicates fine but won't overwrite the line entry. How do I do it?

  • This does not answer the question as per the StackExchange standards. Please check How to Answer. If you are facing any issue with your code then you can ask a new question describing your problem. Check How to Ask Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.