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Former Member

How to find cause too many workflow items in inbox


I'm new to SAP and have been tasked with trying to identify the cause of an issue in a non-production environment as a learning exercise

A couple of users complained that they had many thousands of workflow items in their inbox and they needed them all deleted just to clear their inboxes out

Trying to do this via SWWL timed out when trying to do this for all workflow items for any one of the users. I managed to delete them by running SWWL for different date ranges for each user separately, but this only found and deleted about a hundred in total per user

When checking via SWI5 I could see a few thousand items for one user but still could not find most of the items they were complaining about. SWI5 could only find 1/3 or less of the total

A colleague resolved the symptom by deleting the relevant records for the users using SE16 for table SWWUSERWI in another enviroment, however we still don't know what caused the issue.
Also I'm not sure if deleting the workflow items in this way will result in orphan records being left behind in other tables

So I've been trying to find the cause in an environment where they haven't been cleared out yet

Trying to track back the workflow items to find a cause, I found the following post by searching Q and A:

  • How to get the event id, starting from the workitem id. Go to SE16 and do a query on table SWWWIHEAD, filling the workitem id into the WI_ID field. In the record that's returned, look for the value in the TOP_WI_ID field. That is the workflow id. Go to SE16 and do a query on table SWFREVTLOG, filling the workflow id into RECKEY (padded to the left with zeroes till a length of 12). Maybe also fill 'WORKITEM' into field RECTYPEID and/or the workflow name ('WS....') into field RECTYPE, if you want to be sure. This should return a record with the event id that you want, in field EVENT_ID.

    Rick Bakker
    Hanabi Technology

But when I try to search for the RECKEY in table SWFREVTLOG using the TOP_WI_ID I looked up from table SWWIHEAD, it returns nothing

Any ideas on what I should look at next or possible causes of the issue?

Let me know if anything is unclear or if I'm missing something obvious or going about this in the wrong way

Thanks for your help

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2 Answers

  • Best Answer
    Jun 14, 2017 at 11:39 AM


    another approach would be to execute transaction SWI2_FREQ there you can see all dialog workitems (i.e. workitems in inbox) grouped per type. From there you can determine if this problem has a single cause or if it is more complex.

    In my experience these kind of cases were caused by the Idoc feedback upon error using workitems as a notification. If this is the case then google on how to fix this ( transaction is WE46 and blogs are available ).

    Kind regards, Rob Dielemans

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    • Former Member

      Thanks, I tried using this but the date range didn't go back far enough when it returned a response, if I tried to look back further it would time out

      In the end I used to the t-code swi5 for the users who complained of this issue and found that they all had thousands of work items which were returned when searching for work items to completed for that user but came under the heading "Not reserved by an agent" along with useful error messages that indicated the source

  • Jun 14, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    You're going way too technical with tools that most of us rarely touch.

    Firstly, SWWL is a development tool that should not be used in production anyway. It's handy when you have an infinite loop accident and want to get rid of the 50,000 work items you just generated.

    Use SWIA and logically delete the top-level workflows (status CANCELLED).

    As to the cause, use the work items to determine the cause from a functional perspective. Look at the WF log (from the inbox or from SWI1 / SWIA). The WI description should give you a clue. If it's "Purchase order approval" then look at Purchase Order approval config in SPRO, I think you should get the idea.

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    • Former Member

      Thank you, I changed my approach and tried using the transactions you mentioned, it was a step in the right direction