Currently in the process of building an SP intranet to help our company go paperless.

We currently employ a paper based system where any incoming documents (work in a semi-government environment so it's all letter/memo,...) will be attached a small piece of paper. On this piece of paper, the Head of department will "tick" all relevant officers whom this letter should be distributed to. And the tick can be applied to either "information only" or "for action".

Employees who read the memo shall acknowledge receipt by signing/initial on the paper, as well as note down the date.

There's also a section for manager to put down any instructions or comments, especially for "for action".

I am not a developer, but somehow I am doing this, so I need some advice.

At the moment, I am trying the approach where

1)Supporting staffs of the department will scan the documents, and place them into a document library.

2)Manager will go into a custom list called "Distribution Registry". He will start a new list item (say, Distribution-2016-01-01-1, for say a letter from another company wrt a request for proposal date 2015-12-23), in that list, he can "lookup" for the scanned letter that is stored in the document library. He can then assign employee who should know "info only" or action "for action" on this agenda.

3)Employee can then open the list, filtered to those that concern him or her, and then acknowledge receipt. For acknowledge receipt, I am using a rather crude method at the moment - by using a multi-line text with append changes. So people can either just reply with a "Noted with thanks" or add comments, etc., either way they are acknowledging receipt.

My question: is there a better way around this?

I work in an environment where people are not so accustomed to technology so I am trying to find the most appropriate way. It is also why we try not to make too big of a jump from a fully paper based environment to a full paperless workflow.

1 Answer 1


If you take the paper process online, that does not mean that you need to copy the exact paper process into the online environment. You can exploit how things work electronically and make that work in your favour.


  • Create a list (parent) with a title, multi-person field for people who action (ToBeActionedBy), multi-person field for people who acknowledge (ToBeAcknowledgedBy), comment field.
  • Attach a document to a new list item, select the people to action, select the people to acknowledge
  • build a page with two list view web parts, one filtered by ToBeActionedBy = [Me], another list view web part filtered by ToBeAcknowledgedBy = [Me]
  • Create another list (child) for viewer comments, with fields for ParentID, Comment and whatever you need
  • edit the Display form of the parent list and add a list view of the child list filtered so only child records with the matching Parent ID are displayed
  • sprinkle a bit of javascript magic into the Display form of the Parent, so people can create a new child item from within the parent display form, to document that they've actioned/acknowledged the document.

This may sound a bit daunting but it's actually not all that hard to do. Mark Rackley has a brilliant video tutorial about parent-child relationships with or without using SharePoint Designer. Google for "SharePointHillbilly parent child" and work through the results. He has many different posts for different SharePoint versions. Here is one for SP 2010: http://geekswithblogs.net/SoYouKnow/archive/2010/12/16/creating-a-sharepoint-parentchild-list-relationshipndash-sharepoint-2010-edition.aspx

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