I have a classic online team site + workflow 2013 which run on a custom list.

now inside the custom list we define the following inside its Advance setting:- enter image description here

this means that only the creator of the item + any user who have Design permission or above can modify the list item. this is working well from list UI itself, but the workflow 2013 will raise Access Denied error, when a user with Design permission update a list item the user did not create . so can anyone advice why WF 2013 is not allowing users with Design permission to update the list item inside its steps? is this a bug inside SharePoint workflow 2013? and is there any workarounds?


her is a full scenario :-

  1. UserA has Design Permission on the list + UserB has Contribute Permission on the list.

  2. UserB create a new list item>> workflow change the item status to "Open" >> everything will work well.

  3. UserA edit the list item >> change the title >> click on save >> his update will be saved >> but when the workflow tries to update the item status to "Open" >> the workflow will raise this error:- enter image description here

although UserA was able to edit the list item, but the workflow is only allowing the creator of the item to update the item through its steps...

1 Answer 1


The Access Denied error is possibly triggered because the workflow itself doesn’t have permission to edit the list item.

Please check if you have Workflows can use app permissions feature activated via Site Settings > Site Features.

You can also try writing the workflow actions in App Step in SharePoint Designer 2013 to grant elevated permissions to the workflow.


Create a workflow with elevated permissions by using the SharePoint Workflow platform.

Other possible solutions:

SharePoint : Workflow Permission – Access Denied.

  • thanks for your reply.. I already know about running the WF in elevated privileges , but in our case we do not want any user to be able to edit other's items (as specified in the list settings ). So if i specify to run the WF in elevated privileges then will this break our rule? is my assumption correct ?
    – John John
    Mar 20, 2020 at 13:34
  • @SharePointTestDev Activating this feature will only allow users with Design permission to run the workflow without error, but the users who have permissions under this level still have no access to other users’ items. So it will not break your rules. PS. Design and above permissions are not restricted by this rule in list settings, which is stated in the Note of Item-level Permissions. Mar 24, 2020 at 9:04

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