How to Keep the Previous Value of a Column Using Workflow Conductor

Workflow Conductor, with its large set of widgets and ability to create complex workflows, is a very powerful tool that can help us solve difficult problems and make our business activities go smoothly. It's one of my favorite tools from Bamboo Solutions, so I decided to write about some of the use cases I've come across. Hopefully, it will be of use to you as well.

In this article, I'll demonstrate how to get the previous "Status" of a task to show in a separate column. In order to do this, I first need to create 2 text columns: Temp and Previous Status. The Temp column is used to temporarily store the value of the current Status.

After that, I load the Workflow Conductor main interface and click Settings to enter the workflow name and choose the workflow start options. 

This workflow needs to first copy the value from the Temp column to Previous Status. To do this, I drag the "Update Item" widget under "List and Items" menu to the main workflow board. 

Then, I click the settings icon […] for Item and choose which column I want to update. Here it is the "Previous Status" column. It gets value from the "Temp" column. Save the widget with the name "Copy Temp to Previous Status". 

Similarly, I drag another "Update Item" widget under the first widget to copy the value from  the "Status" column to the "Temp" column. This should happen after the first action. 

The workflow is completed, so click "Save" and enter a name to save it (optional, in case you want to make future edits). Then click "Publish to List" to publish the workflow.

Here's how the workflow works: Every time a new item is added to the Tasks list, it triggers the workflow (item created) and first copy value from "Temp" (initially blank) to "Previous Status" (initially blank). Then, it continues to copy value from "Status" (initially "Not Started") to "Temp". After the workflow completes, "Temp" has the value "Not Started" as current "Approval Status".

When a user changes the "Status" of this task, the workflow is triggered again (item changed). After it finishes, "Previous Status" will have value "Not Started" (copied from "Temp"), and "Temp" will be updated with new value of "Status". And so on. 

In this example, I show the Temp column for demonstration purposes. In real situations, you can hide it from view and also the new/edit form to prevent confusion.

The method applied in this blog can be used for different types of columns, just to ensure you create new columns of appropriate type.

If you have a problem that could be solved using a workflow but don't know how to implement it, feel free to leave a comment.

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