Hi and thanks for reading. I have an imported list at the top site level, "Staff Info". I'm having trouble creating a reusable workflow that I can use in subsites, (Document Center & Team sites) that can reference the list as a data src. It's not an option when I look for DataSource at the library level. I'd like to be able to use the workflow to show the fields from the list, using the Author as the 'foreign key'. I can get it to work locally, ... by creating a local staff info list, and site WF, but this isn't going to work as I can't be updateing multiple instance of the list when it gets updated. Is it possible to have a Data Source/list that I can see at lower levels in the site collection? Cannot publish global workflow. Before a workflow can be globally reused you must remove any look ups to the list in the current items.

I get this msg. Cannot publish global workflow. Before a workflow can be globally reused you must remove any look ups to the list in the current items.

Please advice me how I can have one list, and a reusable wf that looks to that list for all libraries in my site collection. Thanks for any help.

1 Answer 1


As I understand is that you have one list (on rootsite) with some information and you want to pull some of that information from that list with a workflow from a subsite.

As far as I know you cannot retrieve data from another site with a workflow. Only from a list in the current site.


You can also retrieve data from other lists and libraries in the current SharePoint site.


Note: I have not tested if the following would work. What you perhaps could do if you're stuck with standard SharePoint and cannot create custom workflow actions/event receivers:

  • Create a lookup field to your root list
  • Create a workflow that gets the name value of the Author field and matches that to the lookup field
  • Have the look up field show additional columns

If the Lookup field won't accept the values provided by the workflow, you could do something with JavaScript in the New form to have the current user selected on default in your Look up field.

  • Hi Caroline thanks for your idea, - I've read up - About data binding and lookups - and it says "You can retrieve data from other lists and libraries - ONLY in the current SharePoint site" ... I'm using SP 2010 Enterprise. Thank you. Dec 23, 2016 at 14:17
  • The look up column could contain the information from your rootList as long as you make it a Site Column (not a List Column). You can then use the Site Column in your subsite. At least that will pull the data to your subsite, you'll only have to find a way to show the correct item.
    – Caroline
    Dec 23, 2016 at 15:39
  • I think you can't filter a view in Look up Columns, But thank you anyway. Happy New Year Dec 29, 2016 at 16:45
  • What about this? Add a List from another site as a SP Designer 2010 REST Data Source sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/18334/… Dec 29, 2016 at 17:11
  • Hi Rob, no it's not possible to filter a view in Look up Columns. But perhaps I'm not quite understanding your goal. I thought you wanted to show some extra information of the author. My idea is to make a look up column to the root list and configure it to pull additional fields with it. Like this: imgur.com/a/rzXDo You'll either have to choose a name from the list, or you can make JavaScript to take the authors name and automatically select for you. The additional fields can be shown in the view of the list. Does this help you? Or could you please explain more about your goal?
    – Caroline
    Dec 30, 2016 at 13:55

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