SharePoint Designer Tutorial

Here in this SharePoint designer tutorial, we will discuss what is SharePoint designer? What can we do using SharePoint designer? How can we use it in various versions of SharePoint like SharePoint 2016/2013 or SharePoint online etc?

We can also see how we can use SharePoint designer 2013 to create workflows in SharePoint.

What is SharePoint Designer?

Microsoft SharePoint designer (MSD) is a free tool from Microsoft to create and customize SharePoint sites, pages, etc. The tool can be used by advanced end users or SharePoint developer for rapid development. This is popularly known as a no code tool. First Microsoft released designer for MOSS 2007 sites known as SharePoint Designer 2007.

One very important thing we have to remember that, you can download and install SharePoint designer in any operating system like Windows 8 or 10 or any server editions like windows server 2012 or windows server 2012 r2 or windows server 2016. You do not need a SharePoint installed server to install or use SharePoint designer. Even if SharePoint is not installed in the machine, you can install SharePoint designer and open any SharePoint site.

What can you do using SharePoint Designer?

  • You can use SharePoint designer to create sites, subsites, list, libraries, list forms, site columns content types, etc.
  • We can also use SharePoint designer to develop workflows and external content types to connect with external sites by using Business Connectivity Services (BCS).
  • For every organization, branding is very important. While developing any SharePoint portal, you can use SharePoint designer to create master pages and page layouts for branding.
  • We can not write any code in the designer like we can write using visual studio.

Different Versions of SharePoint Designer

Microsoft has already released various version of SharePoint designer.

SharePoint Designer 2007

Microsoft released SharePoint designer 2007 to connect with MOSS 2007 sites. You can download from below URL:

Download SharePoint Designer 2007

Once you download and install SharePoint designer 2007, you can open the designer and then click on File -> Open Site. Then you can provide the site URL and click on Open to open the moss 2007 site in designer 2007.

Another way to open the SharePoint site in the designer is, Open the site in Internet Explorer and then go to the page and then File tab and click on Edit with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer. This will open the site using the designer.

Remember you should have at least the View permission for that site using the designer.

SharePoint Designer 2010

Microsoft released SharePoint designer 2010 to work with SharePoint 2010 sites. We can not able to open SharePoint 2010 sites using SharePoint designer 2007. Because SharePoint Designer 2007 is not compatible with SharePoint 2010.

But you can use both designer 2007 and 2010 on the same computer, provided you have to install 32-bit versions. And also you need to install SharePoint Designer 2007 before SharePoint Designer 2010.

SharePoint designer 2010 comes with 32-bit version as well as a 64-bit version.

SharePoint Designer 2013

Microsoft release SharePoint designer 2013 to connect with SharePoint 2013 sites. The same way, you can not connect SharePoint 2013 sites using SharePoint designer 2010 or 2007. There are various new features came in SharePoint designer 2013 compared to SharePoint 2010. You can check out an article on New Features in SharePoint Designer 2013.

This also comes in 32-bit and 64-bit version.

After installation, to open the SharePoint 2013 site, open SharePoint designer 2013, then click on Open SIte button and give the site URL to open the site. It will ask for credentials to connect to the SharePoint 2013 site.

SharePoint designer tutorial
SharePoint designer tutorial

How to connect to SharePoint 2016/2019 or SharePoint Online site using SharePoint Designer 2013?

The latest version released from Microsoft is SharePoint designer 2013. And we can use SharePoint designer 2013 to connect with SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online sites. Microsoft already announced the next version of SharePoint on premise will be SharePoint 2019. But there is no update about SharePoint designer yet.

To open the SharePoint Online site using SharePoint designer 2013, Open SharePoint designer 2013, then click on Open Site button and give the SharePoint online site URL to open the site. It will ask for credentials to connect to the SharePoint online site.

Once it is connected you can see the online site opened like below:

SharePoint designer 2016/2013 tutorials
SharePoint designer 2016/2013 tutorials

The same way we can connect to SharePoint 2016 sites also from SharePoint designer 2013.

How to restrict SharePoint Designer?

We can restrict SharePoint designer access from our site from the Site collection administration level.

Open SharePoint 2016/2013 site, go to the Site Settings page. And then click on “SharePoint Designer Settings” which is under “Site Collection Administration”. And then uncheck “Allow Site Owners and Designers to use SharePoint Designer in this Site Collection” option like below:

how to use sharepoint designer
how to use sharepoint designer

Exactly the same way you can restrict designer access in SharePoint online site also. The option is the same for SharePoint 2013/2016 and SharePoint Online.

Sometimes cache creates some problem while you are working with SharePoint Designer. You can check out an article on How to Clear Your SharePoint Designer 2010 or 2013 Cache?

What can you do using SharePoint Designer?

You can read a few SharePoint designer 2013 articles:

We can also create workflows using SharePoint designer, you can check out below two SharePoint designer workflow tutorials:

You can also check how we can create an external content type and how we can use in Business Connectivity services.

You do not have permission to do this operation SharePoint designer 2013 error

Recently when I tried to change the title of a list view through SharePoint designer 2013, I got the error message saying “You do not have permission to do this operation. Ask your website administrator to change your permissions and then try again, or log on with a user account that has this permission. To log on with a different user account click OK”.

Here the list is presented in the subsite and I have full permission to the sub site (presented in the Owner group).

But when I followed this Microsoft KB article which says a user needs to be a member of one of the following groups at the site collection level to be able to use SharePoint Designer and modify SharePoint content:

  • Site Collection Administrators
  • Designers
  • Owners

So modify through the designer, a user should be presented in any of the above group.

After the user presented any of the groups, the error You do not have permission to do this operation will not come.

I hope this SharePoint designer article will help you to learn SharePoint designer 2013/2010/2007.

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