Tag : user

Workflow – Useful REST calls – Getting User Properties

This Sharepoint Designer REST call fetches the manager associated with a user (in this case the person who has initiated the workflow), but it can also be used to get any other attribute associated with the user. The statements shown below have all been included in a single app step in the workflow (Make sure you read the Notes at the end of this blog)

Build a dictionary for a REST call

Add a ‘Build Dictionary’ action as show in the image below


(When you add the ‘Build Dictionary’ action, the system will initially have ‘this‘ instead of the bracketed ellipsis ({…}). Click on ‘this‘ to add the Names ‘Accept’ and ‘Content-Type’ both with the value ‘application/json;odata=verbose‘ as shown below


Set the string that you will use for the rest call

Create a string that you will contain the rest call that you will make as follows


For clarity, the String Builder is as follows:

[%Workflow Context:Current Site URL%]_api/SP.UserProfiles.PeopleManager/GetUserProfilePropertyFor(accountName=@v,propertyName=’Manager’)?@v=’[%Workflow Context:Initiator%]’


[%Workflow Context:Current Site URL%]

The URL of your site. This is taken from the ‘Workflow Context’ Data Source but could also be hard-coded


This is the method used to get the properties. Enter this as is


This tells the system that the property we wish to retrieve is the ‘Manager’ (This is what we are retrieving in this example, but this could also be any of the other user properties such as ‘Department’, ‘PreferredName’, ‘PictureURL’ or any of the others. Search on the web for other properties or visit https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh147510.aspx to get a list of a few of the properties)

@v=’[%Workflow Context:Initiator%]’

The user whose manager you wish to get (Note the single quotes). I used the ‘Workflow Context’ Data Source to get the Login name of the user who initiated the workflow, but you can use the ‘Created By’ value or a string value that is defined in the following format:


 Change certain reserved characters in the string

The user name has certain properties that need to be ‘translated’ for the rest call to work properly. Use the ‘Replace’ action in Designer to substitute i:0#.f with i%3A0%23.f in the string ‘String01′ (this is simply replacing the characters with their encoded ASCII value)ip0904

Write the final string to the log

To make sure that you the correct expression has been defined, write the final string to the log as shown below


Call the REST service with the string you have defined

Insert a ‘Call HTTP Web Service’ action as shown below.


Some things about this call.

The original ‘this‘ was changed to the following:


Also, click on the down arrow of the action, select properties and then set ‘RequestHeaders to the dictionary variable you created earlier (Header) as shown below


Get the Managers name (or other property)

Insert a ‘Get an item from a dictionary’ action to fetch the name of the manager (or other data requested) as shown below where I re-use the ‘String01’ variable to contain the result. The result is in the same format as the user login name you used in the REST request (i:0#.f|membership|username@contosa.com)


The actual statement ‘Get‘ statement is ‘d/GetUserProfilePropertyFor‘ if you want to copy and paste.

Display the value that you you have retrieved to make sure it is what was expected 


Display any errors that have been returned (See Workflow – Troubleshooting REST calls  for troubleshooting any issues)



You need to at least have ‘Read’ rights on the social tenant. See Workflow – Scoping the App Step on how to set this up, but in short your ‘Permission Request XML’ should look similar to the following (The second line allows your workflows to update any data in the site collection, while the third line allows you access to the social data):

<AppPermissionRequest Scope=”http://sharepoint/content/sitecollection” Right=”FullControl” />
<AppPermissionRequest Scope=”http://sharepoint/social/tenant” Right=”Read” />

InfoPath – User Information List

You can use the ‘User Information List’ in InfoPath to access details related to the current or other users, such as the users first and last name, email address, title and other useful details.

To get this information do the following:

Add a data connection to the ‘User Information List’

Add a new data connection to Receive Data from a SharePoint library or list106-1

Select the site that that contains the User Information List (iin most cases this is the current site)


The system will display a panel that details current lists and libraries in the site. Scroll down through the lists and libraries and select ‘User Information List’. Click Next


Select the fields that you want to use – mostly this will be the ones indicated in the image below. Click Next


Make sure the ‘Store a copy of the data in the form template’ is unchecked and click Next


Uncheck the box ‘Automatically retrieve data when form is opened’. We uncheck this box because this particular list can be very large and the system would attempt to load all users into the form even though we only require the user information for the person who is currently opening the form. If checked, your form would take longer to open or may even fail to open


The system will default the name. My practice is generally to make two data connections to the UIL – the one to contain the current users information and the other to contain information related to other users. In this case, the second UIL would of course have a different name

Create a ‘Form Load’ rule to read the user information list

In the  InfoPath data area, select ‘Form Load’ to open the pane that shows the rules that execute when the form is opened


Create an action rule with a meaningful name, like ‘Get user details’. This rule should probably be the first rule that executes since you may want to use the information it returns in subsequent rules


We now require two or possibly three separate actions:

The first action specifies the data we are searching on (the query data)
The second performs the search
The optional third action stores the data in another field on the form

Set the Query fields value

The first action of the rule specifies the data we wish to use to query the UIL (If we did not do this, the query data would be empty and ALL records would be returned). Click on the ‘Add’ button and select “Set a field’s value”. A dialog box similar to the one below will be displayed. Click on the ‘Fields’ box highlighted in Red below


A screen like the following will appear. In the top drop-down list, select ‘User Information List’ and then explode the fields below the ‘queryField’ item as shown below. The fields displayed are the fields that you can base your query on.  Since the InfoPath userName() function returns the ‘Account’ data, select ‘Account’ to perform the query based on the current user (In this instance, a single query field is being used, but you can use multiple set field values to query based on any number of fields)


The system completes the name in the Field fill-in as shown below (Do not be alarmed that the system returns ‘Name’ instead of ‘Account’. This seems to be a Microsoft nomenclature problem with the list as the ‘Account’ is the actual field being queried


Click on the fx button to specify a formula to set the Account query field to. A screen similar to the one below will be displayed. Use the ‘Insert Function…’ key to insert the ‘userName()’ function into the formula. Click on the OK button


Your ‘Set a field’s value’ dislog box should now look as follows. This is telling the system to set the Name (Account) in the lists query parameters to the current user name


Perform the query on the User Information List

Now we need to query the data and return the user details to the form.  Select the ‘Query for data’ action from the Add button as shown below


In the screen that is displayed, select the ‘User Information list’ as your ‘Data connection’ as shown below


The system will now query the user information list based on the current user name (account) to make the first name, last name and any other user attribute available to the InfoPath form

Set an InfoPath field to the current users name

Now let’s set a field’s value to the name of the user. Once again choose ‘Set a fields value’ from the ‘Add’ button


 In a similar way to before, click on the ‘Fields’ box highlighted in Red below to enable you to choose a field from the selector


Select the field whose value you want to set, by selecting ‘Main’ and then choosing the field. In the example below I am setting my CurrentUserName (which I subsequently access through a workflow so that I know who the last person was to update the form)


Once again, click on the Function button fx  to open up the formula box and then select ‘Insert Field or Group’ so that we can move the value in the query that was completed previously into this field


A dialog box similar to that shown before is displayed. In the ‘Fields’ section select the User Information List and explode the tree so that you can see the fields under ‘dataFields’ as shown below (The ‘queryFields’ only contains the data you used for the query, while the dataFields contain all the rows returned by the last query)


Select the ‘Name’ of the user. A note on names: In many cases, the SharePoint data comes in the not so friendly format of ‘Last Name, First Name’. You can use the ‘concat()’ function in your formula box with the ‘First name’, ‘ ‘ and ‘Last name’ to create a more user friendly version of the name, but beware: External users (Those signing onto SharePoint through other accounts) will have empty ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’ fields

Your ‘Formula’ box should now look like this (you will notice that the name says ‘Title’ instead of ‘Field’, but don’t be concerned as this is that nomenclature thing again)


Click OK to save your Formula

Notes and tips

  1. Once you perform a Query action, the rows of the list that are returned remain in memory, so you can refer to them directly without having to run another Query action
  2. I suggest that you always use the data connection to return the single row of data based on the current userName(). If you need to select a user from a list of users, I suggest you create another Data Connection to the same ‘User Information List’ (give it a different name of course) and then link your combo-box or repeating table to this new list. Be sure to set your query parameters to only return the rows you want
  3. I believe it is good practice to save the current user name in the form so that it is possible to get the identity of the user who last changed the data, in either the form, workflow, or SharePoint view.
  4. If you require additional user information that is not in the User Information List, you may need to create a User List for those particulars. This would be a standard SharePoint app, keyed on the email address of the user so that it is a simple process to access the user details in InfoPath through a Data Connection to this table

UserName() function

The userName() function returns the identity of the user currently accessing the formExamples of the data format returned:

Internal users: ‘i:0#.f|membership|melsmith@contoso.com

External users: ‘i:0#.f|membership|msmith_gmail.com#ext#@contoso.onmicrosoft.com

In preview:      ‘136909

Note that in preview, this function may return a value in a very different format from the one it returns when not in preview, which means that you will not be able to properly test user related functionality in preview.