I have created a list workflow in sharepoint 2013. The user that I assigned to test it has the following permissions:

Site Level: Read Only
List: Edit

She can submit an item to the list, but the 2013 workflow will not execute. It is set to start when a new item is created. This is the error that shows when I login and look at the workflow status for the item created:

workflow error

I have read that the user starting a workflow must have a minimum of contribute permissions, but it doesn't designate if that is required of the site level.

I set my permissions up the way I did to restrict site editing to users, and having to allow them access to edit opens up room for error.

Is there a way to get around this?

  • Quick Question: What actions you are performing in workflow?
    – gachCoder
    Jul 28, 2017 at 6:20
  • @gachCoder -Its a pretty repetitive approval workflow, but the majority of it is "wait for field to change", "email user", "Set Workflow Status" "Create item in List" (Another List), and I have several parallel blocks. I read that the user has to have at least contribute permissions for their user profile to write into these other lists, so I gave them those.
    – cbbrown
    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:02
  • Please check this Elevate Workflow Permissions in SharePoint Jun 17, 2019 at 7:27

4 Answers 4


I just created a similar workflow, and I had to allow the user to be a contributor for the list.

Have you tired to use the "items permission" (may have messed that up), but it's at the bottom of the task function that allows for you to change the permission of the task. This may work of you are using the flexi task workflow.

Item Permissions

Set user permissions to: Sets the user permission on the item.

When task is complete, set user permissions to: Sets the user permission on the item after the task has been completed.

  • Is this just for assigned tasks? I do not have any assigned tasks within my workflow.
    – cbbrown
    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:04
  • what permission level would the user need for the item if they are already Editors for the list?
    – cbbrown
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:10

If there is something related to permission, in that case you will have to use app step in workflow and write your functionality inside that App Step. Below is the link where you can get to know, how you can use App Step.



Have you checked the permission for the web application on WFE/APP server in the IIS.

On all the WFE/APP servers for the web application go to IIS and Enable "Load User Profile" to true.

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User needs contribute permission level to the list/item but may not at the site level, depending on what your workflow does. I have seen where users may require read only to the site level and/or permissions to the taxonomy list. Users will always need contribute or higher to the Task list where the Worfklow stores the tasks. hope this helps!

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