I am working on creating a 2013/SharePointOnline workflow that will start when a new document is added to a specific document library, and then send an email, to an external user, with a link to the document.

For the purposes here, an external user, is a user who does not, and will not have an account in SharePoint. We will have the users name and email address.

Good stuff * I have a workflow that starts with a document is added. * The workflow then extracts a bit of meta data. (this works) * I can fire off an email to any internal user.


  • When trying to send an email to an external user the workflow registers an error

This problem has several solutions I can find online, the easiest of which is

In Central Admin and Web Apps general settings - choose Workflows. Adjust the setting "Allow external users to participate in workflow by sending them a copy of the document?" to yes. Default is no.

But I have a really hard time finding this option in SharePoint online / 365. I must not be looking in the right places. Does anyone know where I can find it?

  • I also have had some problems with the document being available / shared correctly

Manually I can go in and select share document (in the library) share with all and then fire off an email with that link. Then recipient can click on the link and right away see the document that I provided a link to.

I am not sure how I can set how its shared from the workflow.

5 Answers 5


You may have a look at third-party workflow action called "Workflow Activity Pack for SharePoint Online".

It has workflow action "Send email with attachments". Also you may find some additional details in this blog post that is describe of the same use case.

P.S.: I participate in development of this product and we are constantly adding new actions. It works for SharePoint 2013 as well as for SharePoint Online in Office 365.


To send email, you will need to create SharePoint 2010 workflow where you can define external email address and after that you will need to call SharePoint 2010 workflow from your original workflow.

you can refer below link for how to call 2010 workflow from another workflow.

Call another workflow from workflow


If you need to use SP 2013 workflow functionality, but also send an email to external users then you should:

  1. Create a SP2010 Workflow that handles just sending the email
  2. Publish the SP2010 workflow
  3. Create a SP2013 workflow, do all work here, except email
  4. At point the SP2013 workflow should email out, instead have it run the SP2010 workflow, and pass in any relevant parameters.
  • Please don't add the exact same answer to this question, as you did on this one. Instead, try to specify your answer further to make it a better of this specific question. Thank You!
    – Benny Skogberg
    Sep 13, 2015 at 18:01

Here is the answered similar question: How do you send emails to external email address in sharepoint online workflows

Also you may have a look at third-party Email sending app for SharePoint Online.


SharePoint Workflow 2013 is actually looking for User e-mail in "User Information List" located here http://tenant.sharepoint/site collection/_catalogs/users/simple.aspx.

To update "User Information List" with desired User

You you need give any access/permission to Site Collection http://tenant.sharepoint/site collection/_layouts/15/user.aspx

and you can revoke it later on. User Information list will preserve.

This solution is very helpful for Groups which ones are not propagated to User Profile Service.

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