What is the best way to show a user that a workflow was cancelled?

I have a manually triggered workflow. Are there any chance I can present the result of the workflow in a dialog, or do I have to create / update a listitem, or send an email?

As for now, this question is in context of the Workflow Designer in SPD. But if a VS sln is possible I like to know how.

Edit: I have a simple workflow, that the user can start with some argument. In case the user enters a special value, I would like to cancel the workflow. The user that started the workflow will have no idea that the workflow was cancelled unless he goes into the workflow history to see that. So I'm wondering if it is possible to show a dialog to the user in the case where I cancel the workflow?



3 Answers 3


You should think of workflow executing as a separate thing from the the normal browser interaction a user does. You can start a workflow from the browser, but after that, it is up to the internal timer jobs to execute the workflow (you can sometimes see this with heavy load, a message saying the workflow is queued will display on the workflow history). So i don't think you will be able to get a dialog message to the user when the workflow is canceled.

What i normally do is have a field on the original item, say called Status, and update that at certain stages of the workflow, eg Started, Ended, Canceled. This way it displays on the list view. The approval workflow has a similar thing. It normally adds the field to the default view automatically.


If a workflow being cancelled is an exceptional situation (ie: the user really shouldn't have typed something in that caused the workflow to cancel), you could email them (SPUtility.Email).


You can do this if you use Visio to create the work flow, see: Link

The last screen shot shows how it looks on the web.

  • Hi! Thanks for your comment. But this is actually not what I need. I need a much simpler form of feedback when a workflow was cancelled imidiatly after it was started. I've updated the question to reflect that.
    – Larsi
    Commented Jan 5, 2011 at 10:56

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