How to Create a Document Set using a Workflow (SharePoint 2010)

I've been working with several colleagues on an internal SharePoint Server 2010 project for a while and we "went live" the first part of February 2012. The site is a place to help our (Microsoft) Premier Field Engineers (PFE’s) build teams for projects and Intellectual Property (IP) creation. Since launch, we have members from North America, Europe, and Middle East! The majority of this site consists of lists where information is entered into the list, either through typing the information, or selecting information from look-up columns in other lists.

We have several lists: Resources, Projects, Regions, Skills, Feedback, Issues, etc.

One of the suggestions that came through was the ability to create a document set for their project. "A document set is a group of related documents that can be created in one step and then managed as a single entity."

A previous post of mine, “How to Create an InfoPath Form to Auto Populate Data in SharePoint 2010”, demonstrated creating the form for our PFE’s to create new projects using InfoPath 2010. By modifying that form, I created a Yes/No value to see if a user wanted to create a document set or not. Next, using SharePoint Designer 2010, I created a workflow based on the projects list to see if the Yes/No column contained a “yes”, and if so, create a document set and set the name of the document set the same as the title of the project. Let’s see how to do this.

Steps we need to do:

  • Create a document set
  • Create a document library
  • Add a column to the list and update the InfoPath form
  • Create the workflow
  • Verify the workflow association & test
  • Troubleshooting

Create a Document Set

1)      Launch the site and go to Site Actions, Site Settings, and choose Site Content Types under Galleries

Figure 1: Site content types

2)      On the Site Content types page, choose Create at the top

Figure 2: Create content type

3)      On the New Site Content Type page, type a name for the Content Type (i.e. ProjectsDocSet), select the parent content type from the “Document Set Content Types” with the parent content type of “Document Set”. You can either leave it in the existing Custom Content Type group or create a new one.

Figure 3: New site content

Create a Document Library

4)      Launch the site and go to Site Actions, More Options. We need to create a new Document Library that will contain our Document Sets. From the Create dialog box, choose Document Library and name the Document Library.

Figure 4: Create document library

5)      Within the document library, choose Library Settings, Advanced Settings. Since document sets are based on content types, we need to allow management of content types. For my purpose, I don’t want to allow new folders to be available so I choose “no” in that section and “no” to the datasheet settings.

Figure 5: Advanced Settings

6)      In the Document Library Settings page, under Content Types, click “Add from existing site content types”.


 Figure 6: Add from existing content types

7)      In the Add Content Types page, select ProjectsDocSet from the Available Site Content Types and click Add, then OK


Figure 7: Add content types

8)      Back at the Document Library Settings page, under Content Types, choose “Change New Button Order and Default Content Type”. For my purpose, I didn’t want anyone to be able to upload a document and only wanted the document set available.


Figure 8: Change new button order and default content type

Figure 9: Content type order

9)     We should now have the Document Set as visible and the default content type.

Figure 10: Content Type

Figure 11: New Document


Add Column & Update the InfoPath 2010 Form

10)  Go to the list properties of the Projects list and create a column called DocSet. Set the type as a Yes/No check box with a default value of “No”.

Figure 12: Create Column

11)  On the Projects list, choose List under List Tools then select Customize Form.

Figure 13: Customize Form

12)  The form will open in InfoPath 2010

Figure 14: Open form

Notice the new DocSet field on the right. We have to add the DocSet field to the form so users can select the form.

13)  Place the cursor at the end of the last line after “semi-colon” (shown by the arrow) and press the tab key. This will create a new row in the form.

Figure 15: New row

14)  Click DocSet on the right and drag the field to the colored column on the new row.

Figure 16: Drag DocSet

15)  Next we need to add some text to the form so it makes sense to the user. Click in the colored area to un-highlight the field name.

Figure 17: Un-highlight

16)  Erase the word “DocSet” and add your own text similar to the following in both columns of the new row.

Figure 18: Add row text

17)   Now we need to publish the form. From the menu bar, click File, Publish, and click the SharePoint List button.

Figure 19: Publish Form


You should get a dialog box (shown above) with your InfoPath form in the background showing the form was successfully published. Click OK on the dialog box and close out of InfoPath. You will be taken back to the list in SharePoint.



18)   Let’s verify the form is correct when opening. From the list, click Items under List Tools and click New Item.


Figure 20: New item

Figure 21: New Item 2


Super! Now, we’re ready to create the workflow that will actually create the Document Set.


Create Workflow to Automatically Create a Document Set


19)   Launch Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 (SPD) and open the site.


Figure 22: Open site


20)   Once the site opens in SPD, click Workflows under Navigation, Site Objects.


Figure 23: Select Workflows


21)   Once Workflows is selected, the Ribbon shows the Workflow options. Click List Workflow and select the list that will be used for this workflow – in our case it is the PFELaunch Projects list.

Figure 24: Select projects workflow

22)   Next, the Create List Workflow dialog box opens. Type a Name for the workflow and (optional) description, and then click OK.


Figure 25: Create list workflow

23)   In the Workflow editor, we need to put in the logic on when to create the document set.


Figure 26: Create workflow 01


Thinking out loud, here’s what we want to do:

IF DocSet from the Projects list is Yes, THEN create the document set using the same name as the title of the project; otherwise do not create a DocSet for the project.

NOTE: You cannot use the following characters in the Project Title or else the workflow will fail.

: / \ : * ? " < > | # { } % & ~ or tab characters and multiple periods.


a)      In the section where it says “Start typing . . .”, type the letter “I” and press <enter>. Listings of all the possible options are shown. Select “If current item field equals value”.

Figure 27: Create workflow 02


Figure 28: Create workflow 03

24)   Click the “field” hyperlink and scroll down and select DocSet.

Figure 29: Create Workflow 04

Figure 30: Create Workflow 05

25)   Next, select the “value” hyperlink and choose “Yes”

Figure 31: Create workflow 06


26)   Remembering our logic from before: IF DocSet from the Projects list is Yes, THEN create the document set using the same name as the title of the project, we have set the first condition – next we need to create the document set.

27)   Below our “If” statement, type create and press enter to see our list of choices – choose “Create List Item”

Figure 32: Create Workflow 07

28)   After you choose “Create List Item”, you screen should look like this:

Figure 33: Create Workflow 08

29)   Click on “this list” hyperlink, select the down arrow next to List and choose ProjectDocuments.

Figure 34: ProjectsDocSet

The “Create New List Item” dialog box will now show the list as ProjectDocuments with the following fields:



Content Type ID


Path and Name (*)


30)   Highlight “Content Type ID” and select “Modify”. Change the value of “Content Type ID” to ProjectsDocSet.


Figure 35: Content Type ID


31)   Select Path and Name (Red arrow) and click Modify (Blue arrow). When the “Value Assignment” dialog pops up, select the function button (fx),(Purple arrow) then choose Title from the Field from source selection (Green arrow).

Figure 36: Create New List Item

32)   Once you have selected “Title” from the “Field from source” selection, click OK to close the “Lookup for String” dialog box, and then click OK at the “Value Assignment” dialog box. Your “Create New List Item” dialog box should now look like this:

Figure 37: New List item

33)   Click OK at the Create New List Item dialog box – the completed workflow is now set.

34)   From the breadcrumb at the top of SPD, click ProjectsCreateDocSet to go to the information and settings page of the workflow.

Figure 38: Create Workflow 10

35)   Select the Start Option of “Start workflow automatically when an item is created” and “Start workflow automatically when an item is changed.”

Figure 39: Create Workflow 11

36)   Click “Publish” on the ribbon to publish the workflow to the projects list.

Figure 40: Create Workflow 09

37)   Close SharePoint Designer 2010


Verify the Workflow Association & Test

38)   Launch the site and go to the projects list

39)   Check to make sure the workflow is associated with the list by going into the List Settings and selecting Workflow Settings.

Figure 41: Verify workflow association

40)   Looks like the workflow is associated with the list correctly – now it’s time to try it out and make sure it works as planned.

41)   Go back to the list and select Items from the List Tools, then New Item. Complete the form and click Save making sure to check the box to create a document set.

Figure 42: New Project 01

Figure 43: New Project 02

42)   We have successfully created a new project with the DocSet set to yes. Let’s check our ProjectDocSets library to make sure the document set was created.


Figure 44: Document Sets Completed


If you are a site and/or site collection administrator, you will need to work with your SharePoint administrators to troubleshoot why the workflow is not working. However, I want to give you some things to look at as this happened to me when I first created this workflow.


If you’re confident your workflow is set up properly along with your document set and lists, then the SharePoint administrator needs to look at the ULS logs. Ask them to check for a category called “Workflow Infrastructure” to see if they can find any unexpected or critical errors.


For example, in my initial situation, I couldn’t get the workflow to create a document set. In looking at the ULS logs, I came across this unexpected error.



04/27/2012 14:23:22.52


 w3wp.exe (0x392C)




SharePoint Foundation


Workflow Infrastructure






Declarative workflows cannot automatically start if the triggering action was performed by System Account. Canceling workflow auto-start. List Id: %s, Item Id: %d, Workflow Association Id: %s

 Workflows will not work if the account creating the project is the SharePoint System Administrator. 

I hope this post helps others out there who are trying to accomplish this task.