Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hidden Tricks of the Workflow Update Step

One of the more powerful, yet under-utilised aspects of workflows is the update step. While many administrators know that it can be used to inject a value into a field, what is not commonly known is there are a few hidden functions that can also be used to manipulate the values in the fields, rather than just replace them.

For all fields, we always have the option of ‘Set To’ and ‘Clear’. For text fields, we also have ‘Append With’ and for int, float and money fields we have ‘Increment By’, ‘Decrement By’ and ‘Multiply By’.

To access these functions, we open the update configuration screen, click into the field of interest and drop down the Operator option in the Form Assistant.


For all of these operators, we can apply a dynamic value via the Add button in the Form Assistant or a static value by entering it into the Default value field in the Form Assistant and clicking OK.

If we want to take two values and update a third field, we will need to use two update steps. One to insert one of our values into the result field and the second update step to apply the second value to the value in the result field.

Finally, for those using version 4, you can still do most of these things. The only difference is there is no ‘Append To’ operator in CRM 4. To achieve the same result, you do an update step and set a dynamic value of “{original attribute} {additional text}”.

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