The Question
Is there a way, either through a hack or an action I haven't noticed, to clear the value in a specific field of an item, using a workflow?

The Issue
All I want to do is clear the values in my Archived Date and Archived By fields (see The Setup,) but I can't find a Clear Field in Current Item action, and I can't leave the Value blank in a Set Field In Current Item action.

For More Information:
The Setup
I am building my workflow in SP Designer

I have a document library, and I want to be able to Archive documents, rather than delete them. To this end I have added an extra value to the Status lookup I already have in place; Archived.

I have then set up a workflow that adds some data to the record to track who archived it, and when. I have the following fields:

  • Archived Date [Date Content Type]
  • Archived By [Person/Group Lookup Content Type]
  • Archived Data Updated [Yes/No Content Type]

The Archived Data Updated field is used by the workflow to detect whether or not a document updated with the Status set to Archived has already had these values recorded; to stop it from overwriting.

The Requirement
So I want to enable users to "unarchive" a document, returning it to Live status. And when this happens I want to clear the Archived Data fields, and set the Archived Data Updated field back to No.

I have the logic laid out: Workflow Logic

  • Are you creating this in Designer or via code? If it's the latter, there's a pretty quick and easy way to do it. Then again, if it's the latter, you're writing code. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 16:11
  • In Designer @JohnCraven, I don't have access to Visual Studio
    – CLockeWork
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


If you are using the Designer, you can use the Action "Update List Item" and set your Archived By to nothing (see below). As for clearing the Archive Date, I set up a DateTime column that has a default value of "(None)". You can have that in another list (I put it in a list called "test", which has only one item). Then you can use that to clear the date from your Archive Date (as I did in the screen capture).

enter image description here

  • Thanks Frank, I don't supose there's a smoother way to do the date? I'm leaving soon and would rather not have such a complex solution in place. Also, for the set user to nothing bit; I can't access that link in work, but I'm assuming you mean enter the value "" in the Value field? That works fine for me :)
    – CLockeWork
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 9:53
  • Hi @CLockeWork, you can leave the Archive Date blank, which sets it to '1900/01/01', although I find that displaying the date as 01/01/1900 in views not elegant. You can conditionally format/display if blank or 1900/01/01. Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 2:16
  • Thanks for your help @Frank, and sorry to keep coming back on this; I can't see a way leave the Archive Date blank, if I add no value then the workflow returns an error.
    – CLockeWork
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 8:31
  • 1
    Try creating a workflow variable, leave it uninitialised and use it in the Value. Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 11:51
  • 1
    These techniques are not working for me at all... I've tried everything: setting value to a pre-existing blank date field, setting value to a blank date field in another list, setting value to a blank string, setting value to 01/01/0001. It will either disallow my input or throw an "invalid date" exception. I am using SharePoint Workflow 2013 in SPD2013. Thanks.
    – Aaronster
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 14:33

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