I have a Projects list with a multi-line text column named Progress Update set to "Append" to create a record of updates.

This appended Progress Update column saves a "blank" value when a list item is edited, but no user value is added to the column. This was causing reports from this list to show a lot of items as not having a Progress Update value if the last item edit didn't include a new value for the column.

To provide the last “non-blank” entry for reporting, I created a workflow placing only non-blank values from the Progress Update column into another column named Progress Update - Latest. (This blank value is actually <div></div, fyi). The Progress Update - Latest column uses the default "replace" setting, so it always shows the last update where the user proved values.

I now need to provide for the display of all list items that have not had updates made to the Progress Update in the last two weeks. I created a column called Last Updated and added a step to my workflow placing a list-item's Modified date in the Last Updated column when it get a non-blank value added to the Progress Update - Latest column. This effectively gives a date value for the last update in list views.

The issue is that both the Progress Update - Latest and Last Updated columns will continue to be blank until a list item receives a new Progress Update value. My new columns are blank for all items not having a new value provided since applying the workflow.

There’s been consideration of asking the assignee of each project to re-enter their last Progress Update so it's duplicated to the Progress Update - Latest column, but I'm advising against doing so as it would create a new date value in the Last Updated column not reflecting the true time since an actual progress update. I need a method for capturing more accurate – and less inferred - data.

I know I can access an appended column’s append history programmatically in a DataView WebPart and in a customized Display form for single items, and we will likely need to move to DVWP in the future, but I need to be able to provide this information in an OOTB ListView WebPart for the foreseeable future. I’m thinking there’s maybe a way I can access the append history in a workflow or via JavaScript or jQuery added to a WebPart page, again filtering for <div></div> values, but I am only just beginning to learn about the latter option, and so far have been unable to find any resources online for doing so via workflow.

Any suggestions on either of these methods? Or any other method within the confines of client-side ListView access?


  • Is your problem only with old data? You can temporarily disable workflow and then use PowerShell to populate old values. Then enable the workflow – Amal Hashim Apr 10 '15 at 16:57
  • Amal, my understanding is PowerShell needs to be running from within the environment, i.e, on the SharePoint instance. Is this correct? – Pete Apr 24 '15 at 19:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.