Workflow progress column missing in a document library

Problem:

Workflow progress column is missing even though workflow instances have been started for many documents.

Case:

There is a document library with a workflow associated with its content type. Even though there have been workflow instaces started there is no workflow progress column created for the list.
The missing column doesn’t affect the work of the workflow itself. The workflow can be started, completed and it is working without problems, only the progress column is not available.

Elaboration:

Workflow progress column should be created when the first workflow instance is stared on a document. It turns out that if for some reason has failed to be created when the first workflow instance is started then it will not be created with next new instances of the workflow even if the problem that caused the failure the first time is fixed.

In my case the workflow progress column is not created because of the lookup threshold. Workflow progress column is lookup column. If the default view has more lookup columns than the lookup threshold (by default 8) then the creation of the workflow progress column fails.

By removing lookup columns form the view or increasing the lookup threshold in Central Administration then start another workflow instance the problem was not fixed. I had to remove the original workflow and add another identical workflow to the list. When starting the first instance of the new workflow the workflow progress column was created successfully.

Solution:

To fix the problem of missing workflow status column follow the steps below:

  1. Remove lookup columns for the list’s default view so its number is below the lookup threshold for that web application, or increase the lookup threshold for that web application in Central Administration.
  2. Remove the workflow from the content type when there are no running instances
    Important: With this action workflow history is lost for this workflow
  3. Add new workflow to the content type. Start a workflow instance on a document so the workflow progress column is created.
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