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Posted 25 Nov 2011
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8 Steps to Create Workflows using SharePoint Designer

, 25 Nov 2011
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8 Steps to create workflows using SharePoint designer

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Workflows are now an integral part for any project. You can build a SharePoint work flow using the available templates, SharePoint designer and Visual Studio 2005 / 2008. This tutorial will mainly concentrate on workflow creation using SharepPoint designer. We will walk through the basic 8 steps needed to create workflows using SharePoint designer.

I have published some videos on SharePoint, WCF, WPF, WWF, design patterns, UML, FPA, Enterprise blocks, etc. You can watch the videos here. You can download my 400 .NET FAQ EBook from here.

For more resources on sharepoint tutorial videos visit

8 Steps to Create Workflow using SharePoint Designer

SharePoint designer helps us to create workflows and attach the workflows to a content type like list, document, etc. In other words, SharePoint designer creates workflows and publishes the workflow on the SharePoint server site.

To understand it better, we will build a simple workflow of completed and incomplete tasks. We will create two lists, one is the incomplete tasks and the other the completed tasks. The workflow will flow something like this:

  • User will create a task and enter the status of the task.
  • If the task is incomplete, nothing will happen.
  • Once the task is marked as complete, the task will be copied from incomplete task list to completed task list.
  • The task will be deleted from the incomplete task list.

So let’s understand the eight important steps we will need to create the above workflow using SharePoint designer.

Step 1

Create a team site using the SharePoint team site template.

Step 2

Create two task lists, one is incomplete task list and the other completed task list.
To create task list, click on site action -> Create: Add a new library list -> create a task.

Step 3

Start the SharePoint designer.

Step 4

Open the site in your SharePoint designer using click on file -> open site.

Step 5

Go to workflows by clicking on file -> new -> SharePoint content and click ok as shown in the below figure:

Step 6

This is an important step. In this step, we define two important things. The first is this workflow will be attached to which list. Currently we have attached the workflow to incomplete tasks list. Second we need to define the events on which the workflow should be activated. For the current scenario, we have considered two events; one when the item is created and the second when the item is updated.

Step 7

This is one more crucial step where we need to define on what condition the workflow will execute and what action should take place if the condition is true. So when a task status is completed, two actions will take place. First the task will be copied from the incomplete task list to the completed task list. Second the task is deleted from the incomplete task list.

Once you click finish, you can see the workflow created in the SharePoint designer. This workflow is also published to the SharePoint server,

You can see if the workflow is associated with the incomplete task list. Go to incomplete tasks -> Settings -> List settings -> Workflow settings. You can see that the workflow is attached to the incomplete task list.

Step 8

Ok, now it’s time to see the workflow in action. So go to incomplete task list and create a task with status completed.

Once you click ok, you see the task for some seconds in the incomplete tasks list and then the task is copied to the completed task list and deleted from the incomplete task list.

Previous SharePoint QuickStart FAQ

  • Quick Start FAQ Part 1: 11 basic FAQ questions, a must for every new comer. It's the basic Quick Start FAQ tutorial which talks about what is SharePoint, WSS, MOSS, Site/Site collection, Virtual Path provider and then ends with explaining SitePages and Application pages.  
  • Quick Start FAQ Part 2: This is the second part in the series which explains the ready made functionalities, custom pages, deploying/activating/deactivating features and lot more. 
  • Quick Start FAQ Part 3: This is the third part of the series in which we have explained page templates, page instances, WSS model, understand safe mode processing and deploy custom controls. 
  • Quick Start FAQ Part 4: This series is all about webparts, webparts and webparts. 
  • Quick Start FAQ Part 5: This series will mainly concentrate on custom columns, content types and document list library. I am sure once you read this article, your thinking of how SharePoint organizes document centralization will change.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.

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