I have an external list in Sharepoint Online that is connected to SQL server (Azure) via BCS and secure store. I can manually add/edit items and it they immediately show up in the DB.

I built and published a 2010 workflow in SP Designer that copies certain portions of a custom list and creates a new item in the external list (Can't do this with an external list using 2013 workflows). I have several other 2013 workflows that do this exact process but they are creating items in another custom list, not an external list, and they all work fine.

However, the 2010 workflow that is supposed to create an item in the external list always fails and gives me the message:

The workflow could not create the item in the external data source. Make sure the user has permissions to access the external data source and create items.

I am the owner/admin on both Sharepoint and SQL DB with full owner permissions. Obviously sharepoint isn't giving the workflow permission to create the item but I have no idea how to fix that. I followed this 9-step answer and got my site to 'trust' the workflow app but that had no effect - the workflow still fails.

Please help. I'm not very advanced so please talk down to me - I will not be offended!

1 Answer 1


Actually, and based on my tries,

External List = No Workflows!

The Workflows cannot be configured for External Lists whether you use SP Workflow 2010 or 2013.

Also, Check The External List limitations in SharePoint


Instead, Try to develop a Remote Event Receiver on item added/updated | item adding/updating events based on your requirements.

  • I'm not trying to associate the workflow with the external list. The workflow is actually associated with a custom list as the trigger to create an item in the external list. This is a very common practice and I see many other users use this functionality and have had the same problem along the way, but no one is explaining how they did it. So frustrating.
    – AFerrary
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:43

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