Want to check more on SharePoint designer 2013? Check out this SharePoint designer 2013 tutorial.
Here, I am going t explain about the SharePoint designer tool, what kind of customization we can do by using the free SharePoint designer 2013. Also, we will know how to download and install various versions of SharePoint designer.
We can also see how to 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 developers 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, lists, 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 versions of SharePoint Designer.
SharePoint Designer 2007
Microsoft released SharePoint designer 2007 to connect with MOSS 2007 sites. You can download from the 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 a 32-bit version as well as a 64-bit version.
- Download Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 (64-bit)
- Download Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 (32-bit)
SharePoint Designer 2013
Microsoft release SharePoint designer 2013 to connect with SharePoint 2013 sites. In the same way, you can not connect SharePoint 2013 sites using SharePoint designer 2010 or 2007.
There are various new features that 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 versions.
After installation, to open the SharePoint 2013 site, open SharePoint designer 2013, then click on the Open SIte button and give the site URL to open the site. It will ask for credentials to connect to the SharePoint 2013 site.
New and Deprecated Features of SharePoint Designer 2013
Let us see the new and deprecated features of SharePoint designer 2013 in this sharepoint designer 2013 tutorial.
SharePoint Designer 2013 New Features
Here are some new features of SharePoint designer 2013:
- No Design View: The popular SharePoint 2010 design view is not there in SharePoint 2013 designer now.
- Workflow Improvements: SharePoint 2013 designer now becomes a very powerful tool for building, packaging and installing workflow. You can create SharePoint 2013 as well as the 2010 workflow using SharePoint designer 2013. Whenever you will create a workflow, it will ask you the platform type (SharePoint 2010/SharePoint 2013).
- SharePoint 2013 workflow is built using Windows Azure Workflow services. So the SharePoint site that you connect SharePoint Designer with must-have Windows Azure Workflow services installed prior to creating SharePoint 2013 workflows.
- SharePoint designer 2013 comes with new shapes like Stages, Loops, and Steps. So without using visual studio now we will be able to use looping.
- Visual designer views now in SharePoint designer so that we will get the same experience provided by Visio. But to get the same experience Visio 2013 installed on the same machine as SharePoint Designer installed.
- Copy and Paste workflow steps now possible in the SharePoint designer workflow. You can Ctrl-C and then Ctrl-V just in your workflow Step to copy conditions or actions etc. The good thing is it is available for both 2013 and 2010 platform type. The bad thing is you can not use CTNL+Z to undo the last command.
- To pass data around the workflow, SharePoint designer now introduced to use Dictionary type variable, in which you can store in Name/Value pair.
- SharePoint designer 2010 comes with new actions, like Call Web Service Action and this action is used to make an HTTP web service call and return the data in the JSON format. Another workflow action name as Start Workflow is introduced to allow SharePoint 2013 workflows to start SharePoint 2010 workflow’s direction from the workflow.
SharePoint 2013 designer workflow discontinued features
Below are some of the Actions that are not there in SharePoint 2013:
- Stop Workflow
- Capture a Version of the Document Set
- Send Document Set to Repository
- Set Content Approval Status for the Document Set
- Start Document Set Approval Process
- Declare Record
- Set Content Approval Status
- Undeclare Record
- Add List Item
- Inherit List Item Parent Permissions
- Remove List Item Permissions
- Replace List Item Permissions
- Lookup Manager of a User
- Assign a Form to a Group
- Assign a To-Do Item
- Collect Data from a User
- Start Approval Process
- Start Custom Task Process
- Start Feedback Process
- Copy List Item
Below are the Conditions which are not there in SharePoint 2013:
- If current item field equals value
- Check list item permission levels
- Check list item permissions
Below Steps is not there in SharePoint 2013:
Below Data sources is not available in SharePoint 2013 designer workflow:
- User Profile lookup
Few Other features which are not available in the SharePoint designer 2013 workflow.
- Visio integration
- Association Column
- Content Type Association for reusable workflow
- ‘Require Manage List/Web Permission’ feature for list/site workflow
- Globally reusable workflow type
- Workflow visualization option
SharePoint 2013 Designer Keyboard Shortcuts
Now we will SharePoint 2013 designer keyboard shortcuts.
Using the keyboard shortcut is always effective than using the mouse, especially if the graphical designer of the page moved and you are unaware of that. Keyboard shortcuts can help you find what you want and where you want to go.
To use the keyboard shortcut combinations, you must press several keys at the same time. After pressing a certain key combination you must release the keys before pressing another.
You can see which key is assigned to the options by pressing key Alt+ tab.
Open SharePoint Site using SharePoint designer 2013
Let us see 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 the SharePoint designer yet.
To open the SharePoint Online site using SharePoint designer 2013, Open SharePoint designer 2013, then click on the 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:
In the same way we can connect to SharePoint 2016 sites also from SharePoint designer 2013.
Create a workflow using SharePoint Designer 2013
In most cases, companies use SharePoint designer 2013 to create workflows, I have written a complete tutorial on how to create a workflow using SharePoint designer 2013.
- Create workflow using SharePoint Designer 2013: This article explains step by step, how to create a SharePoint list workflow using SharePoint designer 2013.
- SharePoint reusable workflow example: This tutorial explains, how to create a reusable workflow using SharePoint designer 2013.
- document approval workflow in SharePoint 2013: In this article, you will check step by step how to create a document approval workflow using SharePoint designer 2013.
- Deploy SharePoint designer workflow to other sites: This article explains the SharePoint designer workflow deployment steps, step by step explains, how to deploy SharePoint 2013 designer workflow to a different site in SharePoint 2013.
- App Step in SharePoint 2013 Designer Workflow: App Step in SharePoint 2013 Designer workflow is an alternate to Impersonation Step. This article explains, how to use the app step in SharePoint designer 2013 workflow.
- Send email using SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow: This sharepoint designer 2013 tutorial explains, how to send an email using SharePoint designer 2013 workflow.
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 the “Allow Site Owners and Designers to use SharePoint Designer in this Site Collection” option like below:
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?
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 subsite (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
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 2013 tutorial helps you to learn SharePoint designer 2013/2010/2007.
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After working for more than 15 years in Microsoft technologies like SharePoint, Office 365, and Power Platform (Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI), I thought will share my SharePoint expertise knowledge with the world. Our audiences are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, etc. For my expertise knowledge and SharePoint tutorials, Microsoft has been awarded a Microsoft SharePoint MVP (9 times). I have also worked in companies like HP, TCS, KPIT, etc.