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Knowledge Base / FAQs / Workflow

What happens if I delete a step from an active workflow?

Created on 16th September 2015 at 13:05 by Jamie O'Connell

It is possible to delete a workflow step from an active workflow.

However, you should be aware of what will happen to the status of each element in that workflow. Specifically, that any active items in the deleted step will be returned to the edit/translation step (i.e. the first step), regardless of any workflow steps in between. This is because the status of each active item is no longer valid (the step no longer exists), so they are assigned to the default 'needs edit/translation' status.

Therefore, if you must delete a workflow step, it is best to ensure that there are no items still active at that step. Either commit the items to the following workflow step, or reject the items to the previous workflow step.

This lesson will demonstrate the above in more detail.

It is only the element status that changes. Any editing that has previously taken place will not be undone.

Running workflow

We are going to delete the 'External Review' step from the above workflow.

This means that all active job items at the 'External Review' step (1) will be returned to the 'Edit' step (2).

These items will need to (once again) be marked as 'Done' in the 'Edit' step, and go through the 'Internal Review', even though they may not have changed since they last went through that same step.

Every active items at the 'Internal Review' (3) and 'Final Review' (4) steps will retain its status. It is only those items which are active in the deleted step that will have their statuses reset.

Pause workflow

A workflow must be paused before making any changes to it.

Click the 'Pause' button to pause the workflow.

Delete workflow step

In this example, we are going to delete the 'External Review' step.

To do this:

  1. Click the minus '-' button beside the step title.
  2. Click 'Yes' in the 'Question' window that pops up to ask if you are sure that you wish to delete the step.
  3. All of these active job items will now be pushed back to the 'Edit' step (even those marked as 'Done' but not yet committed to the 'Final Review' step).

The user assigned to the deleted workflow step is not informed of the deletion. They will simply no longer see any job in their 'Jobs' tab for this document.

Items are not reassigned until the workflow is restarted

The 'External Review' step has been deleted. Only 3 workflow steps remain.

However, the status of the job items will not be updated until the workflow is restarted. This is why there is a discontinuity between the progress bars at this time.

Click the 'Start Workflow' button to restart the workflow and assign a 'needs translation' status to the items which were active in the deleted step.

Job items are updated

The status of each job item is now updated to reflect the changes that have taken place.


  1. Every item that was active in a workflow step that still exists retains its earlier status.
  2. Every item that was assigned to a now-deleted workflow step has acquired the default status of 'needs edit/translation', and is thus returned to the 'Edit' step.

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