Impersonation Workflow Steps

One common SharePoint request we get is to have a “drop” library or list, where documents/items can be submitted initially before they are immediately moved to a more secure location. Typically, once the item has been moved to the library/list that has more restrictive permissions, it can be reviewed by a manager or some other approver.

Many of our customers are savvy to SharePoint 2007 functionality and are aware that the “copy item” action in SharePoint Designer assumes the identity of the user triggering the workflow (the workflow initiator). Thus, those users must have write (contributor) access to the secure library/list in order to copy or move documents/items to that location with a workflow action. But SharePoint 2010 helps solve that dilemma with the impersonation step, which allows workflow actions to be performed by the user that built the workflow. As long as the workflow author has access to the library/list to which you need to move documents/items, then your content can be reviewed only by those with elevated permissions. There are numerous posts in the blogosphere regarding SharePoint Designer impersonation, as well as this write-up on TechNet. The following figure shows an example of an impersonation step, where an item is copied to the more secure Product Evaluations library before it is deleted from the “drop” library.

Using the Impersonation Step

4 thoughts on “Impersonation Workflow Steps

  1. Hi David,

    I’m also working on a similar requirement to have a drop library in a “Documents” web application where the users can upload documents and then based on appropriate content types these documents should be routed a records center in another web application.

    Could you please share with me how you designed this and how you designed the workflows.

    Best Regards,

  2. Hi, Manu.

    You might want to check out the following…

    The post describes how to move a document to a Records Center. This should help you get started with your specific requirement.

    I hope this helps.


  3. Thanks David,

    It would also be helpful to find ( from somewhere please) a potential similar solution in SP2007 somehow ???

    Setting Item level permissions using SPDActivities on codeplex can do the job but if the item count in a library is increasing, the custom designer workflow starts behaving and failing, as the permissions’ scopes are increasing all the time with more item level permissions.

    Just wondering if there is a similar (like above in SP2010) solution available for some who are still stuck with SP2007?


  4. Hi, Sam.

    Unfortunately, this capability was not available in SPD 2007. Your best bet then would be to develop a Visual Studio workflow that moves documents/items accordingly.


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