Today I learned you can't move items to a Drop Off Library via workflow and expect its routing rules to kick in automatically. You then have to manually "Submit" each item, even if all metadata is already supplied in the document.

However, I noticed items I manually create in the Drop Off Library (via Documents -> New Documents -> [Content Type Name]) are routed immediately after I save them for the first time. So I'm thinking generating items in the Drop Off library via workflow could be a workaround.

This doesn't work in testing. The workflow errors out, and I receive "The workflow could not create the list item. Make sure the list exists and the user has permissions to add items to the list."

Obviously the list exists and I have Ownership permissions. My workflow is just one line at this stage, so I'm positive I'm building it correctly. Is this error due to a property of the Drop Off Library, maybe something I can disable?

Any other ideas? Or if you've got another method that I can implement via SharePoint Designer, that also works! THANKS!!!


A workflow that kicks off when a list item is created:

  1. Document Set is created with list item's properties. (complete)

  2. File is created with list item's properties. (complete if not in Drop Off Library)

  3. File is moved to the right document set via Drop-Off rules (got working rules, trying to work around having to manually Submit without coded solution)

  • Can I clarify someething. Are you wanting the Document Set or an item within the Document Set to be routed via the Drop Off Libraqry? Two other ideas that spring to mind are (1) to make sure that the content type you want to move is added to the Drop Off Library and the target library and (2) to possibly define the location of the target library in the "Send To" options within CA. Feb 25, 2013 at 15:21
  • Thanks for your answer. I wanted a newly created file routed to a document set via the Drop Off Library. Things are going to the document set, not coming from it. 1) I checked several times, this was done correctly - everything defined at the site level, no library-level customizations. 2) I didn't think of this, but it wouldn't work for me. I'll have thousands of locations eventually. :)
    – rgmatthes
    Feb 25, 2013 at 15:49
  • Oh, right. Not sure if this'll help you then but there is a known bug / error when defining rules within the Drop off Libary. You can't see target Document sets within the pop up box that defines the target (in the rule creation) but it will accept a URL. I've routed to a few Doc Sets this way and it should in theory co-operate with a workflow. Feb 25, 2013 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Short answer: I couldn't figure this out, but I found a different way to accomplish my goal. Details below.

My goal was to have a user fill out a list entry, and saving it would trigger the creation of a document set containing a 'receipt' document holding all the information the user provided in the list entry.

It sounds simple enough, but there are many gotchas:

  1. Can't create a document in a SharePoint list, a Drop Off Library, or a document set via SPD workflow.

  2. Can't use a custom InfoPath form as a front-end for document library submissions.

  3. Can't Copy files to a document set via SPD workflow.

  4. Can't use variables for target paths in Content Organizer rules, so dynamic rules (like those routing to newly created document sets) are tricky.

  5. Can't directly create documents in the Drop Off Library via SPD workflow. (The original goal of this post.)

For these reasons and more, my solution has four pieces: a list, a 'holding' document library, a Drop Off Library, and a final document library for document sets.

The list has an InfoPath front-end. Users access it and fill out the InfoPath form to create a list entry. When the entry is created, a workflow kicks off to create a document set in the final document library, update the relevent Content Organizer rule to route content to it, and create a 'receipt' document in the 'holding' document library. The creation of the 'receipt' document kicks off a second workflow that makes use of an action not available in list libraries: "Send Document to Repository". This action is IMPORTANT because sending files to the Drop Off Library this way actually triggers the "Submit" event that routes documents around SharePoint; simply Copying files to the Drop Off Library will not!

The workflow action looks like this:

Submit File using **this action** to **this destination router** with **this explanation** (output to **Variable: submit file result**)
  • this action: Select "Copy" or "Move". I went with "Copy" so the 'holding' document library can serve as an easily auditable store of 'receipt' documents, not just an empty document library that looks unnecessary to anyone unfamiliar with this ridiculous Rube Goldberg setup
  • this destination router: Type in JUST THE NAME OF YOUR SITE (i.e., https://sharepoint.com/branch/site/). Several guides mention '/_vti_bin/OfficialFile.asmx' or whatever, that never worked for me. Similarly, putting the location of the Drop Off Library also didn't work. The site URL worked, despite all logic and reason saying it shouldn't.
  • this explanation: the workflow status you want logged. I just wrote "Completed".
  • submit file output: unless you have a strict variable naming scheme, just leave as is. Harmless.

This action copies the newly created 'receipt' document to your site's Drop Off Library. The Content Organizer rules, having been modified in the first workflow to point to the new created document set, will correctly route your 'receipt' document to its final location.

Terribly complicated, but it gets the job done in a non-coded fashion. I hope this helps someone.

  • This didn't work for me... I have a simpler situation in that I just want to bulk upload a bunch of documents to the drop-off lib and have it routed elsewhere. So I tried a document library with a simple workflow "Submit File..." and set it up to send to the site (which did indeed put it in the Drop-Off lib) but the routing never took place, the documents just sat in the Drop Off lib. I had previously setup the routing rules as a test so I did not need to 'update' the routing rules as in your example... Ideas?
    – user24503
    Mar 19, 2014 at 20:02
  • Are you saying you created a doc library with a workflow that fired uploads off to the Drop Off library, which is responsible for routing them accordingly -- but the routing isn't firing? If so, try using the "Send Document to Repository" action instead of "Submit File." I no longer have 2010 in my environment or I'd test! Good luck!
    – rgmatthes
    Mar 20, 2014 at 16:30

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