I want to achieve the following: we have a lot of report files which i want to publish with sharepoint for the users concerned. The files have a fixed filename pattern

YYYYMMTYPEname given_name.pdf

So i made a workflow to extract year, month, type and the name to fill the respecting columns with data. All the names are already in Active Directory and if i set the column name through the workflow returning my variable as display name it works. Unfortunately it only works sometimes with files for the same user -> same name. For instance if i upload 5 files for the same user from different months only the workflow from one of the files terminates properly for the other files i would get an error saying that at least one column expects another type of value.

I have already narrowed it down to the error being thrown by the column containing the name (column type person). But the workflow works on other files following the exact same name pattern where also the resolution of displayname from AD works because i see the initials and email set in AD. I already made another workflow to log the values of each field and they seem fine even a check if the user is a valid sharepoint user returns true if i pass the name as displayname.

I'm clueless where to look next, Your help is greatly appreciated!

  • I did further testing and no matter which of the files i put into the empty (!) library first the workflow will terminate correctly but every file i add later produces the error. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


Does it work as it should be when you later run that workflow manually on the items that did not update ? If yes, try to put a Pause 1 min at the beginning of your workflow which runs at document creation.

I see this error occasionally on document libraries, especially when using multiple content types. It seems like workflow tries to change the new list item before it is completely created, causing various errors / incomplete fields.

  • I already tested that but gave it another shot but unfortunately the error still persists. My workflow only tries to update the list element if the name returned as displayname is a valid sharepoint user what seems to be true otherwise i would have a respecting log entry. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:47
  • The strange thing is that all the log entries i set in the workflow prior to the step which sets the name (person) field won't be displayed in the workflow history just the error nothing else... Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 13:12
  • So if an entry doesn't get populated and you run the workflow manually on that entry do you still get the same error ?
    – Charles
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 16:28
  • Yes, if the entry is not the only item in the library (see comment above) I still get the error. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 16:34

Well the setting "Enforce unique values" doesn't show up in sharepoint designer and seems to be set to true by default. This explains the behaviour that only the first entry was set.

Changed the column setting and everything works fine now.

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