Create document sets and documents via workflow from a list (without code)

At a customer, we had to move a legacy VB application to SP2010.
The application existed of:
– dossiers with about 30 metadata fields
– items in those dossier, some have attachments with about 10 metadata

There are about 20K dossiers, we had to migrate the data and make something in order to do archivation.
Our choice fell on document sets: easy archivation, dossier like behavior and a good look and feel to display information.

(other possibilities were folders and items with attachments, infopath forms or a combination between document sets and lists).

Our biggest problem was that not every item in the dossier had a document..

Converting items and dossiers into document sets and documents

So, after playing around with SharePoint designer, we found our solution.

1. create the content types for the document sets and documents.
2. Create the new document library where you want to store your dossiers and link those document sets.
3. Create a list to import the files (we did it from a sql export to excel)
4. Open the site in SPD 2010
5. Create a new workflow on the old items from the list, that starts when a new item is created
6. Add a task to the workflow: create new item on the document library where you are going to store the dossiers
7. Content Type ID from that new item must be the document set you created
8. Add other metadata you want to take with you.
9. Publish the workflow

Now, all you have to do, is copy the dossier information from the excel to the list via datasheet view.
The workflow will start for all items, creating a document set on the document library where you can add documents.
To move the items in the dossier, simply do the same process but with a document content type.

How to create a new item (which is not a document) in the document setsĀ 
Simply create a workflow, that starts from the document set, and that creates a new item (content type= your document).
Add a link to that workflow on your document set welcome page. Every time you want to add a new item, which is not a document, simply click on the link.

To make matters more interesting, you can add initiation form parameters, so you can fill in your metadata.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

4 thoughts on “Create document sets and documents via workflow from a list (without code)”

  1. Hi, how do you actually create a document set within the workflow? I can create new documents but can't seem to find a way to create a document set?



  2. Hi,

    Thank you for the post really helps, I wanted to find out if there was a way to store the URL of the created document set in a column in the list itself.

    Thanks again

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