February 26, 2013

Lookup Selected boxes: how to get "is empty" or "is not empty"

Whilst using SharePoint Designer to create a workflow I needed a way to check if a lookup column value was 'blank' or 'not blank'. This is not possible with Lookup type columns, but annoyingly and confusingly it is possible with other data types.
Figure 1
SharePoint only provides two operator options on lookup columns "Equal" or "not Equals". The problem is SP Designer will not allow you to simply enter a comparison value of "" or "blank" or "null".

This trick is to convert your Lookup value into a different data type, a string variable.
Example: I have a List containing a column called Projects, which is a lookup to another List (of projects info).
Figure 2

As you can see in Figure 2: First put your lookup value into a string variable.

Then use the string in your 'if' statement. You can now check if you value 'is empty' or 'is not empty'.


  1. I have a look up column in my library, i want to set the column default value as "-----" (blank nothing empty). How can we achieve this. Please suggest me.

  2. Thanks for this, I spent a good day in the hunt as to understand why it wasnt working. Many thanks

  3. Man! I like what you do from your shed. Thanks!!

  4. That is beautiful, I spent a whole afternoon trying to create ways of comparing to lookup table. Thank you

  5. Thank you , I spent a whole afternoon trying to do comparisons on a lookup column.

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  7. that's not possible with multi select lookup field , Is there similer way to do it
    Thanks in advannce