Do you know about the Common settings?

I am self-taught when it comes to SharePoint and Nintex. Everything I know has been picked up over the years through a combination of trial-and-error, troubleshooting with coworkers, reading posts online, investigating answers to questions from clients, pushing the limits of the OOB capabilities, and just plain poking around to see what’s available and what can be done. While this process can be fun and fluid, it also means that not all features and functionality are uncovered immediately. I didn’t have someone to walk me through all of the cool, useful, and sometimes discreet settings that were just sitting there waiting to be leveraged. So with that in mind, I want to be that person for you!

One of my goals with this blog is to shed a bit of light onto some of the often overlooked areas of Nintex so that you start to have a full set of tools in your toolbox as you dive into automating your business processes.

It took me awhile to discover the Common settings available in the action configuration dialog of the Nintex Workflow actions and I wish someone had pointed this little gem out to me a lot earlier. So without further adieu, let’s talk through the features available with the Common settings.


Message to log on completion allows you to enter a value which will be logged in the Workflow History. I use this setting most frequently to bring visibility to my Workflow Variables, which allows me to see if the workflow is working with the data that I expect. While you can also use the Log in history list action to log custom messages to the Workflow History, I like using this option because it keeps my workflow cleaner.

Setting an Expected duration comes into play when you leverage the Workflow Reporting capabilities that are available with the Enterprise edition of Nintex Workflow. You will be able to see how your workflow is performing against your expectations.


One of my favorite features of Nintex Workflow is the visual representation of Workflow History. By default, all enabled actions will appear in the Workflow History diagram. However, sometimes you may choose to hide specific actions for one reason or another. Perhaps they are the nitty-gritty bits of your workflow that might confuse your users or maybe there are portions of your workflow that should not be visible for security reasons. In any case, selecting the Hide from workflow status checkbox on any action will suppress that action from appearing in the Workflow History.

Selecting the Disable checkbox will cause the workflow to skip over the action when it the workflow is executed. Note: The option to Disable is also available from the drop-down menu on the action’s title.

The last option we see in the Common settings is Run as workflow owner. By default, the workflow executes all actions under the credentials of the Initiator. However, sometimes the Initiator may not have appropriate access to perform specific actions in the workflow. A common example is creating an item in another list or site. Selecting this checkbox will cause the workflow to execute the action (and any child actions) under the credentials of the workflow owner instead. The workflow owner is the user who last published the workflow. The assumption is that users who have permissions to create workflows would potentially have a higher level of permissions than users kicking off or interacting with a workflow at runtime.

One important note to keep in mind as you start leveraging the Common settings is that not all options are available from all workflow actions. For example, the task actions such as Assign Flexi task, Assign to-do task, and Request data do not have the option to log a message at completion or run as workflow owner.

Also, while the option to run as workflow owner is only available for certain actions, it is only available from the main branch of a workflow.

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