Creating a SharePoint Helpdesk: Part 3

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I know how to create basic SharePoint lists to track information, but I would like create a dynamic workflow application for submitting and tracking helpdesk requests.  This is Part 3 of the series.


This is the 3rd part of a 3 part article in this series on Creating a SharePoint Helpdesk. If you are just joining in, start at the 1st article.

Refining the Helpdesk Initiation list

First, let's go back and make a refinement to the Helpdesk Initiation list. Go to the list settings and click on the "Title" column. In the "Description" area of "Additional Column Settings", add something like:

"The ticket number will be automatically generated in this field. Any updates to this field will be overwritten."

You can optionally turn off the field requirement.

Enter some default text like:

"Do not change"

00 TitleColumnRefinement

Remember all this will get overwritten by the Dynamic String we built in Part 1 of this article series. The purpose of this refinement is to make it clear to the user that they do not need to struggle with labeling their issue. They can skip the field entirely.

Sending Progress Updates to the User

Open SharePoint Designer and create a new workflow in your helpdesk application.

Name the workflow "Progress Updates".

Choose the "Helpdesk Progress" list, and this time check the 3rd checkbox, choosing "Automatically start this workflow whenever an item is changed". This will cause the workflow to run every time there is a "change" to the Helpdesk Progress list. (This is how the requesting user will get progress updates.)

000 ProgressUpdatesDefine

Name the first step "Notify Initiator of Progress".

Add the "Send an Email" action.

010 EmailUpdates

Click "this message".

020 ThisMessage

In the "To" field, click the Address Book icon and select "Workflow Lookup".

Using the "Current Item" as the Source, select "Created By" in the Field dropdown.

Click "OK" twice.

030 ChooseCreatedBy

Enter something appropriate in the Subject, for example "Ticket Progress Notification".

In the body of the message, type some instructions, then identify the request using "Add Lookup to Body", choosing "Current Item" as the Source, and "Title" as the Field.

040 TitleLookup

Now let's go get the URL of a "view item" in the list.

In Internet Explorer, go to the Helpdesk Progress list, hold the mouse over the Title on any one of the items, and select the "View Item" choice. (We don't want the "Edit Item" choice here.)

050 ViewItem

Grab (copy) the URL of the item, pasting it into a text editor.

Notice the ID number (7)...which we'll replace in a minute.

060 ReplaceID1

Paste the View Item URL into the body of the email. Notice I have removed the number from the URL.

Put your cursor after the "ID=" and click "Add Lookup to Body".

Select "Current Item" as the Source and "ID" as the Field. Click "OK".

070 ReplaceID2

Here's what the URL should look like with the lookup in place:

080 ReplaceID3

I'll refine the message a little by adding the content of the Progress Notes field along with a text description of the field so the user knows what they are looking at.

090 AddProgressNoteUpdate

Let's See the Results

Here's a Progress Note from the Helpdesk Progress list being updated by the technician:

100 TechUpdate

When the Technician clicks "OK", the user immediately gets this progress notification.

110 InitiatorEmail

In short, we now have a functioning helpdesk application, built in SharePoint. There are probably some refinements that can be made...and there's no reason why you can't build on this. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rob Fisch Rob Fisch has worked with SQL Server since version 6.5 as a dba, developer, report writer and data warehouse designer.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 6:25:29 AM - shivi Back To Top (68722)

One question I had was is it not creating one request and copying into another list is an expensive process?Many tutorials I referred and all of them are doing the same thing But Why? I understand that the purpose of this article is to get people started on the Sharepoint journey.

What is the drawback of using the same form with two custom views?

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 7:34:25 PM - priya Back To Top (68673)

 Hi Rob,

Thanks for this amazin article.  I understand this was written targetting 2007 Sharepoint but it would be really great if you can add an update of how to use in O365 specially the permission setting part.Because of it I am sure many people will not be able to leverage the utility of this post in new versions of sharepoint.


Looking forward to hear from you and thanks once again.


Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 1:17:21 AM - Robert Fisch Back To Top (51363)

Hi Steve,

I can't tell you how many people have used this solution in some way. I confess that I never intended for it to be used "as is". I always thought people would run through the tutorial as a learning exercise. If you get all the way through it, you should learn enough techniques to create many automated processes. Step by step, it may not work 100% on O365. This was written originally for SharePoint 2007.

Good luck with your project.



Friday, March 17, 2017 - 4:00:34 PM - Steve Back To Top (51346)


I was reviewing your Create a Sharepoint Helpdesk articles.  Good job.   Couple of questions

1. Would there be any changes to the instructions if working in Office 365 Sharepoint with client Sharepoint Designer?

2. I'm interested in being able to have custom ticket "templates" of fields/columns that could be inserted into the main ticket form that would be based on the category of ticket selected.  For instance, an onboarding ticket template would have custom fields in the template that were tied to the onboarding process.  And I would want the ticket to be split into several sub-tickets when saved, that could be workflowed to different groups (HR, IT, Operations, Accounting, Payroll, etc.,) to enable multiple groups to work the sub-tickets.  Have you ever done something like this, and/or know of any shortpoint products that provide this functionality?




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