Workflow that uses the SharePoint 2013 Workflow Platform Type contains blank values in output from the "Multiple lines of text" column


Consider the following scenario:
  • In SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2013, you use the SharePoint 2013 Workflow Platform Type to create a workflow in SharePoint Designer 2013.
  • The workflow is designed to collect information from a column during list item creation or update. The column type is set to Multiple lines of text, and the Append Changes to Existing Text option for the column is set to Yes.
  • The workflow is configured to include the collected information in an action such as Send An Email or Log To History List.  
When you view the output email message or logged information in this scenario, the value is empty and doesn't include the value from the Multiple lines of text column.


To work around this issue, disable automatic updating of the workflow status to the current stage name. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Open the affected workflow in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2013.
  2. On the Workflow Settings page for the workflow, clear the Automatically update the workflow status to the current stage name check box.
  3. Save the workflow, and then and publish it to the SharePoint website.
  4. Run the workflow again.
  • When you clear this setting, you may want to use the Set Workflow Status action as part of the workflow to update the Workflow Status field if that appears to be necessary. Otherwise, the status won't be listed.
  • You may also want to consider saving the value of the Multiple lines of text column in a workflow variable if you plan to update the list item within the workflow logic.
  • In this scenario, the value from the Multiple Lines of text column will be blank if you edit the list item but don't change the Multiple Lines of Text column.


This issue occurs because the Multiple lines of text column that has the Append Changes to Existing Text setting applied to it updates itself internally with an empty value when you update another column in the list item by using a workflow. When the workflow updates the Status column during execution in this scenario, the value of the Multiple lines of text becomes blank in the output.

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Article ID: 3095702 - Last Review: Dec 29, 2016 - Revision: 1