How to Create a Three State WorkFlow in SharePoint

There are many different scenarios in an everyday work environment which can benefit from automated SharePoint WorkFlow. If a repetivite task needs to be completed on a consistent and auditable basis, it’s likely to be a good candidate for a workflow process. Some examples include expense approval, form creation, or time approvals. This blog post will delve into the process of creating a three state workflow to streamline daily tasks.

Three State WorkFlow Template

In a previous blog post I wrote about the mechanics of creating a workflow using the Approval template. This post will teach you how to create and implement it by using the Three State template. In this template, there are three configurable list states that will be used in order to accomplish routing of a task, event, document, etc. This may not seem like many states, but it is very powerful.

First, it is important to know that if your work requires more than three states, then this is not your best option and you may need to resort to more complex methods (such as more customized versions by using SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio). 

This blog will show you step-by-step how to create and implement a Three State Workflow, with an example of a bug processing scenario.


  1. Create a column in site settings.
  2. Name the column.
  3. Choose the type (such as single, multiple, hoice, etc).
  4. Fill out the description and all the required fields.

For our example, we will make an event in the calendar. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on new event (as shown in the image below).
  2. Create an event with the title as needed.
  3. Give a time frame.
  4. After filling out all the required fields necessary > hit save.

Now we can see the new event “Finding bugs in system” has been created. Click on the “Calendar” tab and then the arrow down. Choose “Add a Workflow” from the drop down menu.

Next, fill out each field and follow these steps:

  1. Choose the choice field (Find the one you created earlier in the post: ‘Bugs’).
  2. Select the states for initial, middle, and final state.
  3. Enter the details regarding the tasks. You can also enter an email address in order to receive a custom message that will send to either the task assignee or assigner (or even both).
  4. After filling out all the fields, click OK.


Double click on an event in the calendar and it will prompt you with the dialog box. Click on the “Workflow” tab shown below.

Next, choose the workflow from the list. In our example, select “Finding bugs.” 

Now you can see that there is the workflow attached to it called “Finding bugs in system.” Read my next blog post to learn how to implement what we created today.

Should you stay or should you go? You’ve got options! Stay here to read this blog post and understand it more, or read more WorkFlow blog posts.


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