How create format HTML emails in Nintex Workflow actions

Standard

I will not repeat enough, when it comes to workflow design Nintex workflow is brilliant and save a lots of hassle.

lThis said not everything in this tool is that easy to achieve, today I am going to mention a basic workflow action that everyone will use for sure in any workflow: the “Send notification” action”

 

This action allows you to send an e-mail, a Lync message or even SMS to a user to inform them in the middle of a workflow.

The problem

“Send notification” comes with its own Rich Text editor to format the text and add reference of an item into the subject and body of the message. But very quickly you should realise that the editor has some limitations. In my experience I found it a bit buggy;  for instance : type some text, format it in blue, add field reference to se the values, then save the action and come back to the editor only to find that the 1 carriage return has expanded to 10 and the font you thought was the same in the whole email has change to another in the middle of the body content.

I actually believe that this is not really the problem with the editor itself but just a standard HTML issue: if you check the source of that rich text editor, you will see some characters and font styling that have been added which makes debugging quite hard.

How I do it

Ok, so this is my tip for dealing with HTML email:

1-     Forget about the Rich text editor

2-      Prepare your HTML body away from the workflow action

3-      When ready, paste it into the editor

 

Show me

Here is, in pictures, how I now do my email body content. My method may not be the best one and took a bit of time for the initial setup of the first email body, but the next ones can just be derived from it and then speed up the tasks. Also you will see that every time  you are requested to change a character in an email, it’s a “piece of cake”.

1-      Open NotePad (or already into an HTML editor such as a SharePoint Designer HTML file, myself I prefer to use NotePad++ as it formats HTML best)

2-      Start your email body with the labels and values you intend to display, leave the reference as a placeholder for now

3-      Capture the item values or variables that you need to need to show

In the Nintex “send notification” editor, remove all your Rich Text content and only add the single reference that you need, for instance if I want to display the “Title” field value:

4-      Copy the HTML of that reference

5-      paste it into the HTML file

6-      Start formatting some HTML around the item value

7- repeat step 3 to 6 until your HTML is complete
8- paste the HTML into the HTML editor of the Nintex Rich Text editor to obtain an email looking as:
9- Make sure you SAVE your HTML code into a file for re-usability.
Conclusion
Each time you need to edit a comma on your rich text email you do so in the HTML and paste it again in the editor. This way you won’t have strange behaviour in the editor.
Again: this is my method and may not be everyone’s choice, but since I had a workflow with around 6 different email templates this way was the only way I found to make sure that each email is similar except for a couple of fields, otherwise using the Rich Text editor in the Workflow Action (notification or Flexi-Task) didn’t prove to be formatted the same as another one.

Clever idea : Approve or reject tasks via email WITHOUT Nintex

Standard
Check out this website I found at gallery.technet.microsoft.com

I have to say when it comes to responding a workflow task while being mobile I think of advising my clients to buy Nintex Workflow for their Sharepoint farm as the design and maintenance of those workflows is much, much cost effective in the long term. But this post got me thinking, specially when you have an IT environment locked down where you cannot add third party tools.
I have not implemented it myself yet, but will do in a few weeks.