Involving users in processes

Processes that involve users typically require the users to review information or provide information, or both:

  • The User service creates tasks that appear in users’ To Do lists in Workspace. Users can review information that is presented in a form, Guide, or document, enter new information, attach files, add notes, and submit the task.

  • Workspace endpoints enable users to open tasks from the Start Process page of Workspace and submit them to invoke a process.

If PDF forms are used, task forms can also be sent to users in email. Users can open and complete the form by using Acrobat Professional and Acrobat Standard or Adobe Reader.

When a user completes a task, all the information about the task is submitted to the LiveCycle Server:

  • Information that was entered in the form or Guide

  • Attachments and notes

  • Task metadata, such as the task ID, when the task was assigned and completed, and who completed the task

When the information is saved in process variables, you can use it later in the process. For example, you can use submitted form data in another task so that a different user can act on it. Typically, information is also used to make routing decisions. You can use XPath expressions to retrieve an item of form data for use in a route condition. For example, in a purchase order example, the cost of the purchase is used to make routing decisions. Low-cost purchases are made automatically, and high-cost purchases require approval.

Note: The User service can be used only with Workspace and email. To use a different application for enabling users to receive, open, and submit forms, create a custom service for assigning tasks to users.

Enable users to start processes

Workspace start points enable users to start processes from Workspace. When you add a Workspace start point to the process diagram, a process card appears on the Start Process page of Workspace. When users click the card, a form or Guide opens. When they submit the form or Guide, the process is started.

The properties of the start point determine the form or Guide that appears in Workspace. Also, you specify rendering properties, as well as which Workspace features can be used.

Workspace start points cause the creation of a corresponding TaskManager endpoint on the LiveCycle Server. When you save a process that includes a Workspace start point, endpoint properties that were modified using Administration Console are overwritten.

For information about how to add and configure Workspace start points, see Starting processes using start points.

Send a task to one user

The Assign Task operation of the User service creates one task that is assigned to one user or group.

Task creation

The Assign Task operation is useful when a succession of people capture or consume information. For example, an employee submits a purchase order request. The request is then routed to a person in the procurement department for review. For more information see Assign Task operation.

Send tasks to multiple users simultaneously

The Assign Multiple Tasks operation of the User service creates several tasks that are assigned to multiple users or groups (or both) at the same time. The tasks are identical in that they all present the same information. You can create lists of users and use the lists to assign multiple tasks. User lists are useful when a specific group of people are involved in review activities across several processes.

Information that is submitted with each task is stored in a Task Result Collection variable. You can use XPath expressions to retrieve and process information from individual tasks.

The Assign Multiple Tasks operation is useful when a process requires that several people provide similar information. For example, at the end of each fiscal quarter, a process assigns a task to the vice president of each geographical sales group of your organization. To complete their tasks, each vice president attaches their quarterly sales report and then submits the task. The process retrieves each attachment from the collection of task results, which can be sent to the senior vice president at a later point.

Similarly, the Assign Multiple Tasks operation is useful when the process requires that several people review the same information, such as in document review and approval processes. For more information, see Assign Multiple Tasks operation.

Document review and approval processes

A common business process requirement is that several users review information and provide feedback on it. The User service supports the review of information by multiple people in parallel or in series:

The Assign Multiple Tasks operation assigns tasks to several people simultaneously. The tasks require each user to review the same information.

For example, a change-management committee of a manufacturing company reviews proposals for improving existing products. The members of the committee vote to decide whether to approve or deny proposals. The Assign Multiple Tasks operation creates tasks that display the change proposal. Each committee member receives a task in their To Do list in Workspace, and either approves or denies the proposal.

Several Assign Task operations execute in series, and each operation assigns a task to a user. For each task, the results are used as input for the next Assign Task operation.

For example, in a purchase order process, large purchases are ultimately approved by executive-level managers. Before the executive reviews the request, it is first reviewed by one or more lower-level managers according to the organizational hierarchy. An Assign Task operation is added to the process diagram for each level of management that performs a review.

Process Management provides the following features that are useful for review and approval processes. Some features are not available for both Assign Task and Assign Multiple Task operations.

Workspace approval tools

When users open their task, they can add comments to it and see the comments that other reviewers added. Users can also see what action other users selected when they submitted their task.

Collection data and XPath functions

The information that is submitted for each task of an Assign Multiple Tasks operation is saved in a collection variable called Task Result Collection. XPath functions can be used to evaluate the results. For example, you can determine how many people selected a specific action or what percentage of people submitted the action. These functions are useful when assessing results of document reviews that occur in series. For more information see Assessing review and approval results.

Completion policies

You can complete an Assign Multiple Tasks operation before all of the generated tasks are completed. This feature is useful when a decision can be made about a review without a response from every reviewer. For example, the acceptance of a proposal requires a majority of approvals from committee members. You can complete the Assign Multiple Tasks operation immediately after more than 50% of the tasks are completed when the Approve action is selected. See Adding completion policies to Assign Multiple Tasks operations.

Electronic signature processes

Electronic signatures are useful for validating that a specific person has read a particular piece of information. Processes can incorporate electronic signatures that can be used with tasks. (See Signature.)

Digital signatures

Digital signatures on PDF documents can be used to verify that a person has read a specific document:

  • Users can be sent a PDF in a task that they sign with their own credential. When submitting the task, the document is submitted and remains unchanged to preserve the signature.

  • The LiveCycle server can be configured to sign a PDF document that a user submitted.

Click-through electronic signatures

Confirmation messages can be displayed to users in a dialog box when they submit a task. The message can be used to establish a contractual agreement.

Alternate tools for interacting with processes

Although Workspace is the primary tool for interacting with processes, email messages and certain mobile devices can also be used.


In addition to receiving notification messages about new tasks and the occurrence of deadlines and reminders, users can complete tasks using email:

Reply to task assignment notifications:
You can include links that users can click to reply to task notification emails. (See Enable task completion by replying to notification email.)

Submit PDF forms:
PDF forms for a task can be attached to task notification email messages. Users can open the form and submit it using email. (See Creating email templates.)

Mobile devices

Applications can be obtained for certain mobile devices for interacting with tasks. Users can complete tasks from their mobile device, and, for PDF forms, open the form for viewing:

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