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Steps to create deploy and Associate reusable workflow using SharePoint designer 2013

sharepoint online reusable workflow

This SharePoint workflow tutorial explains, how to create a reusable workflow using SharePoint designer 2013. Reusable workflows are not bound to any particular list, rather you can associate with one or more than one list or document libraries.

We can use SharePoint designer to create a reusable workflow, apart from reusable workflow we can also create list workflow and site workflow using SharePoint designer 2013. One advantage of SharePoint designer 2013 is that now you can Save any workflow (SharePoint 2013 Workflow platform type) as a template and you can deploy that to other sites.

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Reusable Workflow using SharePoint Designer 2013

– Open your SharePoint 2013 site using SharePoint designer 2013, Then from the Ribbon click on Reusable Workflow button presented in the Ribbon. This will open the Create Reusable Workflow dialog box. Type a Name and Description. Remember to choose the SharePoint 2013 Workflow from the Platform Type.

reusable workflow in sharepoint
reusable workflow in SharePoint

– This will open the workflow text-based designer, you can add your logic in the workflow. Here I have just added a Log to History List Action to the workflow. Once you add click on the message link in the action which will open a dialog box to choose the fields from the Current Item. Since it is not attached to any list or document library, not it is a list workflow, only the defaults columns will appear as shown in the fig below. Here I have to log the Current Item Title field to the Workflow history list.

reusable workflow in sharepoint
reusable workflow in SharePoint

– In the Transition to the stage, End the workflow. The workflow will look like below:

how to associate a reusable workflow to a list
how to associate a reusable workflow to a list

Now Save and Publish the workflow. After successfully published, the workflow will be available in the site to associate to various list or library.

Attach SharePoint Reusable Workflow to a List or Library

– Now to associate the reusable workflow to a list or document library, open your list or library in the browser. Then go to the List or library settings. In the settings page click on “Workflow Settings” under Permissions and Management tab.


– This will open the Workflow Settings page. Here select This List from the Show workflow associations of this type. And then click on the Add a workflow link as shown in the fig below:

reusable workflow in sharepoint 2013
reusable workflow in SharePoint 2013

– This will open the Add a Workflow page. From the Workflow select the Reusable workflow which we have created in the previous section. Give a name for the Workflow. Then in the Start Option select the “Creating a new item will start this workflow” checkbox. see the fig below:

sharepoint 2013 reusable workflow content type
SharePoint 2013 reusable workflow content type

This will associate the reusable workflow to the list. Now if you will add one item to the list and then check the History List then the Title of the item has been logged.

Associate Reusable Workflow from SharePoint Designer 2013

– You can directly associate to a list or library from the SharePoint designer itself. Open the click on the Workflows from the Site Objects in the designer. This will open the list or workflows presented in the site.

– Go to the Reusable section and then select the Reusable workflow which we have created earlier.

– Then from the Ribbon, Click on Associate to List button as shown in the fig below:

sharepoint online reusable workflow
SharePoint online reusable workflow

– Once you select the list, this will open the Add Workflow page in the browser. Follow the above steps to associate the workflow.


You may like following SharePoint workflow tutorials:

Hope this SharePoint workflow tutorial will be helpful to create, deploy and associate a reusable workflow to SharePoint list or document library using SharePoint designer 2013.

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About Bijay Kumar

I am Bijay from Odisha, India. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies in Bangalore, India. I am Microsoft Office Servers and Services (SharePoint) MVP (5 times). I works in SharePoint 2016/2013/2010, SharePoint Online Office 365 etc. Check out My MVP Profile.. I also run popular SharePoint web site SharePointSky.com

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