I have a user that adds an entry to an Item List. However, getting the following error:

"The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information. Access Denied"

I figured out this could possibly due to permissions. The user is now in a group that has limited contribute rights to both lists I am updating and starting a process on. However, I want to keep the permission levels as low as possible.

Any idea what rights the user should have then or how I can circumvent this?

  • 1
    Does the user have at least read permissions to every list that the workflow touches? I've had issues where the user had to have permissions to a hidden list I used as a lookup table because the workflow used it to lookup a value. Aug 28, 2013 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


I confronted the same error. I figured out that the list had a look up column and the user didn't have access to the lookup list. Allowing the user to read the lookup list solved the problem.

P.S. I wannt to help but don't have enough points to comments, that's why as an answer.


if you are using SharePoint 2013 you can set the workflow to use "app permission" so the use can act with othe permission (eg. full control) during update operation. For a step by step guide to set the elevated permission in workflow step follow thi guide Workflow with elevated permission in SharePoint 2013


I had same issue, so I had to give contribute access to workflow history list


  • if you use app impersonate step, your workflow could write to log history just fine.
    – Ariwibawa
    Oct 26, 2020 at 6:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.