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Background documentation Substitution  Locate the document in its SAP Library structure


      You can assign another user to manage your tasks in case of absence or unavailability.

      You can designate an assignee to receive your tasks or you can set an assignee to fill in for you.

      You can create several substitution rules to cover all cases.

      You can also take over other user’s tasks (if assigned by the user).

The assignee can then view and manage the task substitution rules.


Substitution is supported with some restrictions within the Collaboration rooms. For more information, see the section below, Substitution Within Collaboration Rooms.

Tasks an Assignee Can Perform

An assignee taking over as a substitute is a portal user who is allowed to manage and work on the work item of a user in his / her absence.

The assignee can:

      Receive and work on your work items

      Monitor all incoming tasks (without acting on all of them)

      Work on more than one of your items


Portal user mapping must be unambiguous. A back-end user must have only one portal user mapped to it, not multiple.

Creating Substitution Rules


       1.      Click on the icon This graphic is explained in the accompanying text and choose Manage Substitution Rules.

       2.      On the My Substitution Rules table choose Create Rule.

Step 1: Define Rule

You can define which tasks you want to assign to an assignee. You can either make the assignee receive your tasks (for example, when you go on vacation), or you can allow the assignee to fill in for you (for example, in case of your absence).

                            a.      Choose or enter the assignee from the people picker option. Choose Pick.

                            b.      Select what types of tasks you want to assign this user.

Default: All (The assignee substitutes for all tasks).


Professional covers functional tasks, Disciplinary HR-related tasks. These options are not supported by collaboration tasks.

                            c.      The assignee can receive your tasks or fill in for you.

                                                  i.       To send the work items on the assignee’s list, select Receive my tasks.

                                                ii.       To add a user as a substitute for your tasks in your absence, select fill in for me. This requires one more step from the assignees to make the items visible in his / her tasks list.


Assignee must click Take Over (on the Other Users' Substitution Rules table) to display the work items in the task list.

                            d.      Choose Next.

Step 2: Set Rule Activation

This step provides an option of turning on or off the rule.

                            a.      To enable the rule select on. More options available to turn the rule on immediately (upon save) or at a later time (choose date from the calendar).

                            b.      Choose Save.

       3.      Items now appear in the assignee’s task list.

Managing Substitution Rules

Once assigned as a substitute, you see the My Substitution Rules table. From here you can manage the substitution rules.

The following are the links / options available for managing the substitution rules:

Links / Buttons


turn on

Activates the substitution status.

turn off

Deactivates the substitution status. This action will remove the work items from the assignee’s list.


Removes the selected rule.


Sync-up with the data from the providers, in case there are any changes on the rules from the provider system and changes in system configuration.


Tries to define the rule again for a particular system.

Problems reported (appears as a link)

Displays errors during the rule creation.

Substitution Status

Displays connection errors or information about connection status. For more information on these messages, see the section below, FAQs and Error Messages.

Other Users’ Substitution Rules

This table displays all the substitution rules for your assignees. You see the Take Over option if Fill in for me was selected when you defined the substitution rule.

The following are the links / options available for managing substitution rules created for other users:

Links / Buttons


Take over

Substitute user can take over the items of the original user. Work items of the original user will not show up in the substitute’s work list until the substitute explicitly takes over (adopts) the items of the original user. This is mainly for a scenario when there is an unexpected absence of the original user, especially for a long period. 

Substitution Within Collaboration Rooms

A substitute user, who is not a Collaboration room member, can view only those tasks (created within a room) assigned to his assignee.


User A assigns user B as a substitute.

User A is a room member, user B is not.

User A has tasks within the room and outside the room (general tasks).

User B (the substitute) can view and work on the tasks of the assignee (user A), including those created within the room. However, the substitute cannot view the other tasks existing within the room.


      All substitution rules created have no expiration date (end date)

For the back end Workflow system:

      Multiple tasks cannot be assigned to the same assignee

For Collaboration Tasks:

      There is no support for a future start date of a substitution

      Substitution only supports All tasks


FAQs and Error Messages

Some FAQs on Substitution

Possible Questions


How do I distinguish the items belonging to the user?

See the items under Items on behalf of drop down selection.

Is substitution transitive? (for example; if the assignee will be absent, will his/her assignees receive my task?)


What is the difference between Substitution and forwarding a task?

In the case of substitution, both the original user and the assignee can still see the tasks and work on them; however, a forwarded item will only be visible as a task for the recipient.

Can an assignee decline a substitution assignment?

No, especially for receive my tasks type.

For fill in for me type, the assignee can choose not to take over.

Is the assignee notified when he / she is being assigned as a substitute. Is the original user notified when an assignee is taking over?

No (for both questions).

One of the systems is down at the time when I created a rule, can I include it when it is up and running again?

Yes, using the retry feature.

Why is the turn-off feature disabled?

This feature is supported by Collaboration Task engine. Make sure the Collaboration Task is deployed.

Can I define the same rule for the same assignee for different time periods?

No. This is not allowed.

What happens if I turn off or remove a fill in for me  rule when an assignee has already taken over?

The take-over will be terminated as well. When the rule is turned on or created again, the assignee will need to take over again.

What happens if I turn off or remove a rule while an assignee is trying to work on my items?

Resulting behavior depends on the restriction enforced by the provider.

Does assignee see assigned rules for the future time?

No. Only the assignment that is effective at the current time when assignee logs on will be visible (and thus can be taken over).

What happens if a system does not support Substitution?

You get an error message describing the status.


Common Error Messages

Error Messages

Possible Solution

System does not support substitution methods

For older workflow systems (below 6.40 SPS12) which does not have substitution API opened.

Connection problem to the system

Connection problem maybe due to a system being down, or a logon security issue (for example: User mapping).

Retry is available.

System does not support this task

System does not support substitution for a particular task, for example: Collaboration Task only supports All tasks.

Internal error returned from provider

General error from the provider, for example: Invalid user Id.

Retry is available.

Substitution rule is not defined in the system

Upon retrieving existing rule definition (refresh), a rule already defined in another system is not available in this system. For example: this system is a new addition or was down previously.

Retry is available.

System does not support date range definition

System does not have time range support for rule, for example: rule in Collaboration Task cannot be defined to be effective at a future time.

Substitution rule already exists and is effective for assignee

User is not allowed to create the same task for the same assignee. Turn the rule on or off, or simply remove the existing rule.

System does not support multiple tasks assignment for the same assignee

For example: User can only assign one task to an assignee at a time in workflow.

Collaboration Task does not support other tasks at all.

Invalid portal user id for system (Less common)

Check if user mapping is required or the length of the user Id is too long for the system.

Internal error / Unknown task (Less common)

Task selected for the rule cannot be resolved.

Time out connecting to system

Configurable timeout value which is always there in the UWL Administration screen.


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