I've got an event receiver handling ItemUpdating; now, I'd like to know if the update was triggered from a SharePoint 2013 workflow (setting the workflow status for example) or directly by a user (edit form, REST API whatever).

Access rights in the workflow context are different, trying to access another list fails with access denied for example, so I need to know if I'm running in a workflow context to determine if access denied error is OK(inside workflow) or is an Error(normal update).

properties.Web.CurrentUser is however the same in both cases;

1 Answer 1


There might be different ways to do this. But normally I validate this information by

  1. Adding a hidden field to the list - WorkflowUpdated - Yes/No field
  2. Whenever Worflow updates the list item it put a Yes to this hidden field
  3. In the EventReceiver, now you can check the value of this field to find whether it was updated by the Workflow or not.
  • I'm aware of this approach, but I'm not sure it'll cover all eventualities: on starting the workflow the update that sets the hidden field will trigger the ItemUpdating event receiver without the hidden value. Also, if a normal update occurs while the workflow is still running, the event receiver will falsely assume it'S running in a workflow context.
    – mabene
    Jan 27, 2015 at 13:58

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