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SharePoint 2013 - Workflow Approval form not displaying objects

Posted on 2016-09-12
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Last Modified: 2016-10-05
I am running into an issue where the workflow approval form is missing objects.  This problem is related to a specific user, but does not occur 100% of the time.  This user creates an item on a SharePoint list which starts the approval workflow.  When the approving manger accesses the approval form, sometimes the form is missing the objects necessary to make an approval decision.

This image displays a side by side comparison of correctly functioning approval form submitted by the employee alongside a non-functioning approval form.

comparison of workflow approval forms
The employee does not have unique permissions to the list compared to other employees who use the same list.  I am hoping someone has seen this before and can offer a solution or some troubleshooting suggestions.

Thank you.
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Question by:acsadams
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Expert Comment

by:Walter Curtis
ID: 41795056
It appears that lists objects are not showing, however the Nintex form is. That might point to a list permissions issue. The form showing indicates that the user does has access to SharePoint and the form, but maybe not access to the SharePoint list. Here is a how to about checking user permission in case you need it.

https://sharepointonenote.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/how-to-check-a-users-permissions-of-a-list/

Hope that helps...
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Author Comment

by:acsadams
ID: 41796415
Thank you for the recommendation, however I do not believe list permissions is the issue here as my user account has Full Control permission over the team site and all apps contained within it and I too am unable to see the objects on the approval forms which are causing us problems.

I did verify that the user and the approver have sufficient privileges to complete this workflow, but for whatever reason 70% of the items the user submits to the list are missing the objects on the approval form.  The approver is responsible for approving items submitted to the same list by 20 other staff members, none of which share this problem.  The fact that 30% of the items submitted by this user who is having the problem, work without issue is also confusing.

I have entered a support ticket with Nintex to see if they can provide recommendations or a solution. I will update this thread as more information comes in.

Thanks again for the recommendation.
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Expert Comment

by:Walter Curtis
ID: 41796462
Thanks for the update. Yes, these things can be confusing. Could be the user's workstation, could be the server (system) causing this. One possibility to check, not sure if Nintex forms work similar to InfoPath forms, but the forms have to be published every time the form is updated, or the changes will not be visible. Also, standard SharePoint forms will appear different for owners\admin and standard users if the form is not published.

Good luck...
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Assisted Solution

by:acsadams
acsadams earned 0 total points
ID: 41818368
Just wanted to provide a quick update.  I reached out to Nintex tech support on this issue and we discovered that the way the user is copying and pasting information into the list item is causing the problem.  

What the user is doing is copying a column of data from an Excel spreadsheet and pasting the data into a description field in the list item. When the data is pasted into the list item description field, each row of data from the Excel spreadsheet is separated on a different line in the description field. Although the description field is setup to permit multiple lines of text, for some reason when the description is presented on the approval form, all the data is combined into a single string which must be hitting some type of limiter. Even though the character count is less than 255, for some reason when a single string over a certain length without any breaks, the approval form bugs out and is missing the approval objects.

Nintex believe this is not an issue with their form but with SharePoint.
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Accepted Solution

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acsadams earned 0 total points
ID: 41818376
There is a workaround for this problem.  The workaround is for the user to first paste the column of data which he is copying from an Excel spreadsheet into NotePad in order to remove all formatting and then copy the text from NotePad into the SharePoint list item.  This has resolved the issue of the data being concatenated into a single string and thus does not produce an approval form which is missing approval objects.

We are still trying to figure out why SharePoint is concatenating the data into a single string...
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Expert Comment

by:Walter Curtis
ID: 41818387
Good information. Glad you got a work around.
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Author Closing Comment

by:acsadams
ID: 41829522
Worked with vendor on troubleshooting problem. Discovered reason for problem and workaround solution.
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