Category Archives: Microsoft

Modifying a SharePoint 2010 workflow email

The out-of-the-box SharePoint 2010 workflow approver email notification no longer contains a link to the workflow task associated with the workflow item.  While that’s ok if the approver is using Microsoft Office 2010 and the document is an Office document, if either of those are not the case then there is no easy way for the approver to get back to the task to approve or reject it.  I went out in search of how to fix the OOTB workflow email and having to cull this information from a number of sources, I thought it would be helpful to have it all in one place.


First, you’ll notice an out-of-the-box email references the “Open this task” button, but does not include the link to the SharePoint workflow task. This is fine if the document is a Microsoft Office document and the person approving it is using Office 2010, but there doesn’t work for other circumstances.


To adjust this, we need to open up the site and then workflow in SharePoint Designer. Note that in this case we are modifying the OOTB workflow itself, which will change it for all instances of the site collection. If you want to make a unique instance of this workflow, right click on the workflow and choose “Copy and Modify”.

Click Edit Workflow


Next, click on Approval.

Under “Customization” click Change the behavior of a single task.

Under the “When a Task is Pending” section, find the line that says “then Email task notification to Current Task:Assigned To” and click the underlined link.

The Define E-Mail Message window opens. Insert the highlighted text, select the text you wish to make a link, then click the Edit Hyperlink button.

In the Address field, click the button, then click Add or Change Lookup, and choose “Current Task: Approval” as the Data source and “Form_URN” as the Field from source:

Click OK all the way back out of the dialog boxes, then Publish your workflow back to the server.

Start the workflow on a new document and you should get the modified email.

Click the link and it should take you directly to the task page!

It’s important to note that this is not the only location an email is defined. Overdue notices, for example, are defined elsewhere. You may need to make the same modification to multiple places in the workflow.

Friday Five – January 14, 2011

I also blog at work (internally) and resolved to post more frequently this year.  I figured the best way to keep that up was to institute a regular weekly feature which I’m calling the Friday Five – five technology-related articles I found interesting in the past week.  I work with web, collaboration, and ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems, most frequently Microsoft SharePoint, so some articles I pick are geared toward that, but others are general technology, consumer electronics, or industry-related.  I thought I would share those here as well.  So here you go – the inaugural edition of the Friday Five:

Microsoft estimates that you the customer will spend a total of $6.2 Billion on services related to SharePoint in 2011… According to Goldman Sachs data more than 50 countries have a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) less than what the world spends on SharePoint.

SharePoint is many things, but cheap it isn’t.  Interesting comparison.

#2 – How To Perform Nearly Any Task From Your Browser’s Address Bar

By integrating all of your favorite services into your browser’s address bar, you don’t have to spend nearly as much time navigating their webapps. No matter what you want to do—whether it’s add a task to your to-do list, add an event to your calendar, send a quick email, or even get driving directions—all you have to do is hit Ctrl+L and type in a few choice words.

I admit it – I hate the mouse. I am eagerly looking forward to multitouch monitors, but in the meantime some well-constructed keyboard commands are always welcome.

#3 – Show/Hide [SharePoint] Lookup fields with jQuery

I will show you how to show and hide form fields dependent on the value of a drop-down list field, with a special look at what to do with Lookup fields. I am often given requirements for SharePoint forms that have functionality that isn’t possible with the out-of-the-box controls, this is one such example.

I haven’t had the chance to try this, but our team has had a lot of success in manipulating SharePoint through jQuery.

#4 – Could this be the year we get to ditch the cable box?

Unlike the attempts we’ve seen in the past, at CES this year there were a number of ways TV manufactures and cable companies figured out to bring HD to the TV without a set-top box. The commonality between the methods was that the provider will create and control the user experience on the TV. This means that no matter what type of TV you buy, the user interface will look the same.

Perhaps some of the most interesting news to come out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year is how far along the mainstream cable providers are in being able to uncouple their programming from their physical network.  This would allow, for example, Time Warner to sell their cable TV package over a Comcast-provided broadband connection. Or bundle it with a TV purchase. Or offer their service as an app on your mobile device. We might finally be seeing some real competition in this space, and competition breeds better products for consumers.

#5 – HTML Video Codec Support in Chrome

…we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

With the recent rollout of an internal video management solution we’ve been keeping a closer eye on video technology in our department. Just as soon as you think you have a handle on where the road is leading you, something changes. It was widely assumed that H.264 would be the standard codec for HTML5 native video, but this announcement from Google might change that direction quickly.

That’s all for this week.  Hopefully everyone found at least one article that piqued their interest.  Stay tuned for next week…

Ford developing HAL 9000 nav system

Yes, it’s true. According to Autoblog

In the near future, Ford vehicles may fire back a retort if you get cheesed off enough to yell at the car. According to the details of a patent filing, Ford is working on an Emotive Advisory System (EAS) that simulates emotions when interacting with occupants, and may also use an avatar to express itself.

The EAS also uses sensors to detect the emotional state of occupants and generate responses based on that data. We all tend to forge some kind of bond with our cars, but it’s a little too fantastical and hilarious to imagine rocking down the blacktop in a new Taurus SHO and having the car say “You don’t need to drive like a jerk just because you’re mad at me.”

Personally, I think there is something even more sinister behind this than big brother in your car. Follow this line of thought with me – Ford worked with Microsoft to develop SYNC. Microsoft already rules your home computer and your work computer, so SYNC is Microsoft’s back door into that small portion of your time they don’t own – when you’re in your car. And what will they do once they have their software in front of you 24 hours a day? The unthinkable.

The return… of Clippy.

Clippy does SYNC

Be afraid.

BarCamp Buffalo

Earlier this week I attended and presented at BarCamp Buffalo. You can see a couple quick glimpses of me presenting in this nicely done clip by

Watch Buffalo BarCamp  |  View More Free Videos Online at

It was a fun event, and while I was initially concerned that my presentation (on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) might not be techie enough, it actually ended up being about middle of the pack in geekiness. I had a couple of interested people talk to me about it afterwards.

The presentations from BarCamp Buffalo are available at SlideShare. Looking forward to the next one!