Send emails to distribution lists using SharePoint

It is easy to send emails to shared mailboxes or to distribution lists (DL) using your outlook. But have you ever wondered what happens when you try sending email to a DL using SharePoint (workflow).

I had the requirement to send emails to multiple DLs using my workflow and a 2 hours estimated work took me nearly 2 days to complete.

Basically, the email id of the DL won’t appear in your active directory while you search for it. Also, it is fair enough since a DL has no physical mailbox associated to it, just an id. Hence, the email id of the DL won’t be resolved.

Solution – Email enabled security group!!

In order to send emails to a DL from SharePoint, the DL needs to be converted to a security group that is email enabled. The same setting can be done by the exchange engineer either through command prompt or through exchange console. Below steps can be followed

  1. Go to Exchange Management Console -> Recipient Configuration -> Distribution group.
  2. Right-click on the problem group (i.e. the DL or the security group) and choose properties.
  3. On the Mail Flow Settings tab, double click on Message Delivery Restrictions.
  4. Uncheck the check box “Require that all senders are authenticated”.


Once done, the DL’s id can easily be searched in SharePoint’s directory and emails can be sent using workflows. However one thing to be kept in mind, it is the description or the display name that can be searched and not the DL’s email id directly.

Hope this helps!




Publishing a Nintex workflow to lists & libraries in multiple sites

My previous post was how can a Nintex workflow be published to multiple lists in the same site.
This time, it is a slight variation. The question this time is how can a workflow be published to multiple lists that reside on different sites.

Interesting stuff!! Trust me 🙂

Let me tell you how I came to this scenario

I have a site that is saved as a template, and close to 200+ sites have been created out of that template. All worked great until one day when I received this request for a change in one of my workflows in one of the lists of the site.

Also, this change had to be copied to almost 40 out of the 200 sites created.

Of course, I made the changes in the template site, but the challenge was how do I publish my updated workflow to the said sites.

This happened to be a slight extension to the same methodology that was used previously. Continue reading

Publishing a workflow to multiple lists and libraries (in same site!)

Requirement – I have a site that has around 40 country lists which have the same workflow. When there is a change in the workflow, there is a need to update the workflow in all 40 lists; which is practically impossible. Also, it wouldn’t be considered a good practice.

As most of the times, I knew there was a solution using Nintex. And the  moment I found it, I fell even more in love with this workflow tool. It keeps surprising me as always!

Solution – Nintex workflow comes with a web method called PublishFromNWFXML that will do this job for us.
Update your workflow at the parent location and export it. Upload the nwf file to a library (here – Shared Documents) and create the below workflow on this library, that will update it to the multiple lists.

Continue reading

Read the recurring event and calculate the date of next occurrence using Nintex – Part 2

In my previous post Reading the recurring events in a SharePoint calendar using Nintex – Part 1, I discussed how the data gets structured in the XML format when a calendar event happens to be recurring. Now let us focus on how to extract the required information from that XML and calculate the next occurrence of the event. This will enable us to send reminder emails to the users before the event.

You ought to have a lot of patience since there is quite a lot of work posted here. Be persistent!

Continue reading

Reading the recurring events in a SharePoint calendar using Nintex – Part 1

Recurrence in SharePoint’s calendar list is a wonderful feature that allows the creation of events that may be recurring in nature. It could be daily or weekly or monthly or yearly recurrence.

Once a recurring event is created, it is smart enough to update dates in the calendar accordingly.

Amazing! huh!!

Now I am not writing this post to tell you the benefits of recurrence in a calendar list. I have my own reasons.

My requirement was to send reminder emails to the users 4 days in advance from the date the event is to happen. Also, an email should go on the same date of event.

I was under the impression that it should be pretty simple. But my conviction was lost when I saw that the start time is the date of 1st occurrence and end time is the date of last occurrence. Which means the dates that come in between are not logged anywhere for me to do the comparison and send out emails. Although the calendar view of the list shows all occurrences properly.

So the foremost concern was to get the recurring information of the event.

A lot of research led me to my findings which I am sharing here, so that you don’t have to invest your time in it.

Continue reading

Format date to get date components

Many times there is a need to segregate the components of a date column. For instance, the date, month, year or the day of the week.

They are needed to perform multiple calculations and also may be responsible to define some logic. So, here goes my post that gives an insight of how to isolate the date components using Nintex workflows. Continue reading

401 Unauthorized error while calling a web service

I have already written about the 401 Unauthorized error earlier here. But I faced something else which I thought I should write to save someone else’s time.

Being the site collection administrator I didn’t expect this error, however when trying to access a web service from my site’s workflow I encountered it. Twice this has happened to me while moving my applications to the production server and I made it a point to write about it.

Background – My application has a Nintex workflow that uses the “Call Web Service” action. This action made a call to the copy.asmx web service. Worked all good until it was in my development and UAT machines. The moment I moved it to the live environment, it started throwing the 401 Unauthorized error. I ensured that the account accessing the web service has full control (also made it site collection administrator), still the error didn’t go.

Continue reading