I've created a SharePoint (Online 365) site which will host our companies public and private policies. I created a custom column and called it ExpirationDate. In this column a date and time must be inputted. Custom colomn

The other columns that require information in them are Owner and Assigned to. This allow me to track who is responsible for a document. Other fields in library

I then created a custom workflow in SharePoint designer and found I had to use the 2010 template to make it available in the retention policy. This workflow should send an email to myself and another member of staff with a link to the document that has activated it. Workflow emailWorkflow in SP designerWorkflow Overview

Then I created a retention policy for documents (document content type) for my document library, that is set to activate based on the expiration date + 1 day. Then it should activate my workflow. I'm finding that this doesn't happen when the document expires, but instead my workflow only kicks in when a document has been uploaded or modified. Email confirms the Workflow worked

Is there a way to make this workflow activate based on the expiration date/ time? And not when it is modified.

Thanks in advanced.



1 Answer 1


Sharepoint 2013 has something built-in to handle Document / Records Management. I don't know about Online 365 though. In any case, it is a big subject and is worth taking time over to implement in a good way. You can also handle it in different ways (as is the way with Sharepoint, more than one way to skin a cat).

I've set up policies on each individual document library and configured archiving / deletion rules or Task generation if you want the document reviewed prior to possible deletion or updating. I've hooked up all document libraries in a site collection to one Departmental Document/Record Task List.

Though you are meant to be able to implement this on the Site Collection level if your Sharepoint is well deployed (in terms of SP architecture)...

See Section 1.2 in this blog post to see how to deploy at the Site Collection level. You can also determine lifecycle rules based on the Content Type. Also, as I have done, you can set rules based on individual document libraries or even folders. Do bear in mind that settings rules at the Document Library levels can be pretty intensive! Make yourself a file in Excel, list your document libraries, define and plan what is needed - you can verify this with the document owners.

If you're doing everything at the Document Library level, you can have a workflow triggered once your Created Date/Modified Date + x years rules are satisfied - see the picture on 3.9; you can set the Action to Run Workflow.

So, to associate an OOTB disposition workflow with your list do this: - Ribbon (Doc Library)>Workflow settings>Add a workflow>Disposition Approval>Name your Workflow>Select your Task List (I made a 'Document Disposition Task List' for this purpose)>For 'Start Options' choose 'Allow this workflow to be manually started by an authenticated user with Edit Item permissions.'. Then select OK, you now have a workflow, which when triggered, will add a document review task to a Task List.

Picture of Document Library Setting>Workflow Settings>Add a Workflow - where to add an OOTB Disposition Workflow

Additional Notes

There might be some additional configuration to allow SP to trigger the 'policy action workflow' and actually run the workflow.

You will need to activate a feature at the site collection level (Site Settings>Site Collection Features>Activate Library and Folder Based Retention. (This only applies if you want to set rules at the Document Library level).

There might be an additional feature that needs activating, I'm not certain though.

  • Thanks Tally, I will read this a few times and see if I can replicate what you have said into my own policy.
    – Andy_G
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 15:02
  • Hi Tally, these steps have pointed me in the right direction to do what I wanted. I noticed my workflow was the biggest issue in getting this to work. Thanks
    – Andy_G
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 16:11
  • Hi Andy, was the tricky part getting SP to automatically run the workflow once your 'document expiry date criteria' were satisfied? I tested mine by running it manually (by temporarily allowing that in the 'Start Options'). But I think before you get to this stage there might be a sort of SP System account that needs configuring before SP is able to run the workflows. This post seems to deal with this issue, I'll include it here so others can reference it: [sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/27495/…
    – Tally
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 9:01
  • Tally it was. I found that my workflow was the main issue. So what I had do was: 1- Create an expiry date column 2- Create a Workflow in SP designer 3- The first step of the workflow needs to be set to pause until current item date (specify your expiry column), then add your other step e.g. email etc 4- Set start workflow automatically when an item is created and modified 5- Set retention policy 6- Ensure workflow is selected 7- Check workflow is linked to document 8- Set expiry date and then it fires off when the date/ time is met I tested today and it works perfectly
    – Andy_G
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 13:37
  • Hope that makes sense?
    – Andy_G
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 13:40

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