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Let's suppose we have a workflow that is triggered when a task item is created or modified (as chosen in the settings for the workflow). The workflow contains a step that pauses until the day before the due date for the task, then sends out an e-mail message reminder.

Under this scenario, what happens to the workflow when I change the due date?

  • Does it continue, using the updated date?
  • Does it continue, using the old date?
  • Assuming either of the previous is true, is a new workflow spawned upon change?
  • Does the existing workflow automatically stop, with a new workflow starting due to the change?
  • I am not sure on this point . Does it continue, using the updated date? Depending on your workflow, it could cancel altogether, but usually it will use the new updated value. It doesn't cancel the paused workflow when you edit item .you can't run run any new until pause time completes. you have to kill manually. – Veera Induvasi Sep 12 '16 at 12:12
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  • Does it continue, using the updated date? EDIT: Depending on your workflow, it could cancel altogether, but usually it will use the old value. If you want it to use the new value you need to run parallel operations to check wait for date to change.

  • Does it continue, using the old date? See above.

  • Assuming either of the previous is true, is a new workflow spawned upon change? Depending on your workflow this can happen, but most users only trigger workflows based on a new items, so a change will not affect the workflow, unless of course there is some verbage about cancelling the workflow upon a change, such as the OOB workflow called "Approval Process", which has an initiation form that allows you to check true or false to the cancellation of the workflow upon a change.

  • Does the existing workflow automatically stop, with a new workflow starting due to the change? Depending on which triggers you have on your workflow, but I've seen most users have only the new item trigger. Workflows also will continue to run in an older version even if you update the workflow with new logic in sharepoint designer.

Following the assumptions given in the question (workflow triggered on both update and insert), if you update the item with a new it would start a SECOND workflow using the new date, but will start the logic from the very beginning, and the workflow that is already running would use the updated date if the pausing hasn't finished.

  • Hi Mike, thank you for the answer. As a point of clarification, there are a lot of "depending" statements in this answer. Can you provide some details on what this would depend on? Particularly on the first bullet point. – theMayer Feb 25 '15 at 15:22
  • There is a setting in the workflow settings that is "Trigger workflow when item is created" and "Trigger workflow when item is updated", these can be on or of for each setting, so you can imagine changing an item can trigger another workflow if the second setting is on. – Mike Feb 25 '15 at 15:59
  • Please assume that both boxes are checked. What happens? – theMayer Feb 25 '15 at 16:32
  • If you update the item with a new it would start a SECOND workflow using the new date, but will start the logic from the very beginning, and the workflow that is already running would use the updated date if the pausing hasn't finished. – Mike Feb 25 '15 at 19:38
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    This answer is incorrect on the first two bullet points. When a workflow pauses, the "Pause until" date is set at that moment. If it's based on a value in a field, and the field's value changes after the workflow pauses, the workflow will still resume at the same date and time that it had planned to do so before the change occurred. – Dan Henderson Feb 16 '17 at 18:39
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I just ran a test in SP2013 and a workflow that has a "Pause Until ___" uses the old date (the one used when the statement is first hit) not the updated date. This unfortunately makes the feature is troublesome to use since there is no easy way for the workflow to adapt to changes made after it started.

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