I have a huge problem. We created a Sharepoint Designer Workflow. It works fine for more than one month. Yesterday we got an error message:

Coercion Failed: Unable to transform the input lookup data into the requested type.

The Workflow has one people picker column, one lookup column and 4 text columns.

We work in our WF with the "collect data from user" and add this information to a field in our list. Therefore I checked all 'column types' in the Workflow and in my list but there no differences in the column types. I deleted the workflow step and create it new. It works 4 times without an error and now we got the error message again.

Did anyone of you can help me? I've no idea how to handle this problem. I'm very thankful for every advice.

  • A workflow does not "have" columns. A workflow may try to write into a list item, and that list has columns. It would be more helpful if you could describe what activities the workflow performs.
    – teylyn
    Aug 11, 2013 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


This problem is similar to this post: Coercion Failed: Unable to transform the input lookup data into the requested type.

Pretty much what is happening is that you are telling the workflow to convert a lookup value, which comes as an object with three attributes, for people pickers and turn it into just the display name or whatever you set to convert it to.

What was suggested in the post I added, and I also suggest, is to create a variable, put the information from the "collect data from user" action into the variable, check if the variable is null, and if it is null set it to some default value that you decide. Then use that variable in the email instead of the erroneous data "collected" from the user.

  • Any chance you could elaborate on this solution please? I'm having the same error trying to set people/group columns using workflow variables. This is what I'm trying to do: i.imgur.com/hhf8XFu.jpg
    – Batman
    Mar 12, 2014 at 16:13
  1. use else-if branch to create null Coercion for any possible null values
  2. is not empty operator check for null and is accessible if you click and change the equal sign
  3. in else just hit a space and single and double is not needed
  4. at the final send email just use the newly created variables

    SharePoint Workflow if else check for empty/null values

  • Thank You much for "hit space"
    – Gennady G
    Dec 5, 2019 at 10:57

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