SharePoint Designer (discontinued)

SharePoint Designer (discontinued)

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Score 6.6 out of 100
SharePoint Designer (discontinued)

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2 out of 10
August 30, 2021
I occasionally use it on old sites because they're harder to manage than modern pages. It's my last resort when I can't find something on …
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What is SharePoint Designer (discontinued)?

Microsoft's SharePoint Designer was a tool for developing SharePoint applications that has been discontinued.

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Product Details

What is SharePoint Designer (discontinued)?

Microsoft's SharePoint Designer was a tool for developing SharePoint applications that has been discontinued.

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Reviews and Ratings

 (65)

Ratings

Reviews

(1-16 of 16)
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August 30, 2021

Outdated

Score 2 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I occasionally use it on old sites because they're harder to manage than modern pages. It's my last resort when I can't find something on a Classic site that I didn't build. It is at its end of life, and I can't imagine anyone would use it for any other purpose, save those so resistant to change that they will keep it until it's deprecated.
  • Shows hidden lists
  • Shows sharing links so I can delete them
  • Easier to navigate from one list or library to get a quick comparison
  • The interface is really dated
  • Preview in Browser doesn't work half the time
  • There's no help or tooltips
  • Easy to go down a rabbit hole, but not always easy to revert back
  • Product is obsolete and will be deprecated.
To me, it's the most helpful on Classic sites, which is what it was designed to design. Modern pages are easier to edit and audit, so it really isn't any help. I can't see any point in recommending an obsolete product to a colleague that hasn't used it, unless they are needing to find, document, or replace old sites and workflows.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are using SharePoint Designer to create specific customs for our Intranet and Extranet platforms.

We have been using SharePoint Designer 2013 with both SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2016.

It is used by several departments in our organization :
- IT services
- BU like Data Center, DevOps, etc

How are we using SharePoint Designer ?
- Update specific pages
- Create workflows
- Access libraries
- Publish pages
- Update master pages
  • Workflows
  • Editing master pages
  • Publishing features
  • Synchronization
  • Application's size
  • Application's speed
SharePoint does not provide, out of the box, a tool to create / update workflows from web. You have to use SharePoint Designer in order to create them.
If you need to implement custom workflows for specific business processes, then SharePoint Designer is well suited.
SharePoint Designer allows you to create workflows with task approval, email notifications, assign variables and update SharePoint Lists / Documents properties.

In our company, we have created specific workflows for :
- Purchase order
- RH forms validation like annual employee review
- Dematerialized existing forms and validation
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SharePoint Designer is now only used for older SharePoint farms (2010 or 2013 generally). We use it at my company to view old workflows and SharePoint content (on old farms) to prepare for migrations to SharePoint Online (Microsoft 365). We don't recommend companies use it for new work at this time. It is being phased out by Microsoft and replaced by new tools in SharePoint Online such as Power Automate. If you do have old SharePoint farms you can use it, but again, I would not recommend using it to create new workflows.
  • Reviewing Workflows - but again, don't create new ones
  • Reviewing content on old SharePoint farms
  • It is being phased out by Microsoft so they are not improving it anymore.
We don't recommend companies use [SharePoint Designer] for new work at this time. It is being phased out by Microsoft and replaced by new tools in SharePoint Online such as Power Automate. If you do have old SharePoint farms you can use it, but again, I would not recommend using it to create new workflows.
July 21, 2021

Decent product

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use it for workflows that do not require cross-site lookups.
  • SP2010 workflows are the easiest way to get a text from a lookup field.
  • Workflows are free.
  • Fairly easy to use, intuitive interface.
  • Branding and CSS styling on the master page.
  • Cross-site and cross-site collection lookups.
  • Get text from lookup fields in 2013 (or next release). It is cumbersome to need multiple workflows for one task.
  • No ability to edit DispForm.aspx, etc.
Well suited for simple workflows and easy conversion of lookup fields to text. Not well suited for complex workflows. Not well suited for cross-site lookups. The issue I am facing is that we have a list of all shop locations. The list lives on the root site of one of our 3 site collections and has many details about each shop. There is also managed metadata with just the shop location name to be used as a lookup field in many lists in all three site collections. This can't be accomplished in SharePoint Designer.
Krishn Garg | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are using SharePoint Designer to customize SharePoint sites, and developing and deployment of custom solutions on SharePoint. It's the best tool for designing site pages and developing workflows. We are resolving business requirements of creating different levels of approval workflows and providing custom solutions.
  • Customization of SharePoint.
  • Deployment of workflow solutions.
  • Tool itself needs improvement as it sometime crashes.
  • SPFX page modification.
SharePoint Designer is well suited to develop custom workflow solution and deploy on SharePoint sites. It is also used to customize site master pages and template modification along with custom search.

It is not suited for designing site pages and for developing highly customized solutions, as it will crash.
Support is good from Microsoft. They are quite responsive when we raise a ticket but SP Designer support will be ended by Microsoft in the near future as they have got new techs like PowerApps and Flow to achieve the same functionality SP Designer does and even more than that.
September 11, 2019

SharePoint Designer Novice

Doreen Giles | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Currently, I am using SharePoint Designer to manage apps, edit HTML pages and manage files. I thought I would use it more to edit forms but I prefer InfoPath. I find it more useful to edit. When I want to get a clear picture of the hierarchy in SharePoint, I use SharePoint Designer. I find it difficult at times to navigate the breadcrumbs to get to what I want. It does not seem to be too forgiving when you want to navigate from one subsite to another.
  • Allows me to go directly to the file structure I want to examine.
  • Allows me to move files from one area within a site to another.
  • Good for editing the HTML code within a page.
  • Navigation between sub-sites and beyond the entry point is not seamless. I find it difficult to get to the root of a directory structure if I have not started there.
  • Would love to be able to do WYSIWYG in some form. I have only used it for a year but I have not found anything fancy to do.
  • I would like to be able to work in a development site and easily move to the production site.
SharePoint Designer is good if you want to do a custom page design—editing the master page in SharePoint. I have never done this. I like to use SharePoint Designer for moving pages around within a site. It is not as easy if you want to move pages between sites. If I am looking to edit HTML or apps, I am able to track down code through the SharePoint Designer interface. It is useful for locating all the files that make up pages. It is not my go-to for design because I would rather use an interface where it is WYSIWYG and not bounce from one screen to a browser to view the results of changes made.
Melissa Kattke | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SharePoint Designer offers a variety of options when implementing this tool in SharePoint itself. It allows SharePoint developers to create workflows, customize SharePoint sites and create forms using InfoPath. For the customer I was serving, I was using SharePoint Designer for a custom workflow and form to solve a business problem where previously, the customer used Outlook emails to send and receive, approve or reject, edit and archive privacy documents. The customer realized that this was a poor approach for their business process and wanted a better way of managing privacy documents. Using SharePoint Designer gave our team the tools it needed to craft and maintain an autonomous workflow of sending, receiving, assessing and archiving government documents.
  • SharePoint Designer offers more granularity of customizing a workflow that is more sophisticated solution that can effectively delegate tasks to responsible parties and reflects status updates of task status.
  • SharePoint Designer allows SharePoint professionals the ability to customize a SharePoint site with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript that can be integrated in .ASPX pages.
  • SharePoint Designer offers form customization where Office products such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint cannot meet specific government requirements and or expectations.
  • Microsoft will be deprecating SharePoint Designer in 2023, forcing organizations and developers to either start using SharePoint Online or invest in compatible third-party applications.
  • SharePoint Designer is not user-friendly for new developers. The learning curve is moderate, depending on the background of SharePoint developers. Albeit, there are YouTube videos on how to configure a workflow, create an InfoPath form and manipulate a SharePoint site, but be prepared to invest time for training if someone has never seen nor used SharePoint Designer before.
  • Deprecation of SharePoint Designer is indicative by the unavailability of SharePoint Designer 2016, because Microsoft will stop supporting it.
  • One limitation I had to deal with when working with IP forms was the limited set of controls. Compared to ASP.NET, the IP control are very limited. Many times I had to find workaround. If you design the IP form to open up in the browser you will get more restrictions.
SharePoint Designer is a great HTML web page designer that allows customization of master pages, page layouts, CSS, and JavaScript. SharePoint Designer can also add KPI elements to your List Views through the creation of Conditional Formatting (i.e. having the font display in Red for any overdue tasks). It can also create a web part connection that allowed you to connect web parts across pages, like the ability to create a connection that allowed you to select an item in a list on one page and open another page to view data that was associated with the selected item.

If you opt to use SharePoint Designer, latest version 2013 for SharePoint Online or on-premise, here is what you can do with a SharePoint list: Custom list, Permissions, Columns, Views, Forms, Content Type and set Custom Actions.
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
[It's] Used for workflow design and page customization.
  • Workflows
  • Page customization
  • Light BCS
  • Workflow connectors to other systems would be useful.
  • Page design can be made easier with WYSIWYG rich text edit capabilities.
  • Workflow scheduling capability that ties in to something server-side - perhaps a timer job - would be very useful.
Good for: simple to medium complexity workflows.
Weak on: scalability, portability, easy connection to other systems.
Scott Rawls | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
As a SharePoint designer, and developer, I use SharePoint Designer to edit, configure and create workflows in SharePoint Online and on-premise.
  • Workflows
  • List and Library configuration
  • Permissions
  • GUI Interface editing pages
Cost efficient way to create custom workflows.
Matt Finley, MSIT | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use SharePoint Designer to build complex business workflows to solve real business needs. It is being used at the department level to solve and automate department business needs. It allows SharePoint admins and site owners to easily see all site content, lists and libraries and manage them from the SharePoint Designer application. It also saves countless hours of document management and other tedious tasks by allowing the automation of many actions in SharePoint.
  • Easily Manage Site Contents.
  • Manage lists and libraries.
  • Build useful and powerful workflows.
  • Has limited workflow features when compares to other tools such as K2 and Nintex.
  • Crashes frequently.
  • Needs more integrations.
SharePoint designer is good for building out of the box SharePoint workflows. It is also good for managing site content and site lists and libraries. It can also be used as a source code editor for front end development. SharePoint designer is not appropriate for full stack SharePoint development. Does not have the capabilities that Visual Studio offers for developing SharePoint sites.
Nicholas Miller | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SharePoint Designer is only used by the SharePoint and Business Intelligence teams. Since this program is a very difficult to learn to use, and give the ability, depending on permission access in SharePoint, a typical end-user, or even power-user can make great and terrible changes with just a couple clicks of the mouse. As the SharePoint architect and developer, I am the primary user of SharePoint Designer (SPD) and I use it mainly for developing 2010 (client-based) and 2013 (server-based) platform workflows. I pride myself as being a "no-code developer" meaning, my highest priority is NOT to write any custom code (C#, .NET, PowerShell, etc.) to automate business processes and applications. There is a lot of POWER in the SPD Workflows, especially the 2013 workflows to allow for error checking, reminder systems, data automation, access to external data via REST HTTP Calls from the workflow itself, which opens a whole new world to build and develop, as you can now use the REST API to do various actions in SharePoint without having to write a custom action.
  • 2013 Workflows - Loops: You can build loops to work while a value (not) equals something, or N number of times. You can insert Parallel Blocks to do multiple things at once, or to watch for multiple things, and when 1 thing finishes, cancels the others and moves to the next step or stage.
  • 2013 Workflows - Stages: Previously all we had were steps, which worked sequentially. With the Concept of Stages, we can create blocks of steps and based on the data collected during those functions, we can tell the workflow to go to a different Stage in the workflow based on a set of 1, or multiple, Conditionals in a transition area after each Stage. Giving you the power to develop multiple entire processes and skipping to the correct part of the workflow, rather than going through 20 conditionals to find out you needed to do action 31.
  • 2013 Workflows - REST API: the "Call HTTP Web Service" is a very powerful tool, but hard to understand if you have never seen it done, or have a guideline. It works very similar to the requirements in PowerShell to connect and get and post data to SharePoint using the Rest API. You can also use this to manage permissions on List Items, Lists, Sites, and Site Collections. Best part is when developed correctly, it is SUPER FAST!
  • Intentionally Building Infinite Loops: I have built multiple review process from Managing Certifications to Updating Published Documentation, that monitors when an Item, based on provided approved metadata, when the "Author" needs to review the document within the given amount of time. They will get e-mails with links asking if changes are needed. If not, it is routed to the Approving Executive, and the Workflow Automatically updates the Metadata to push out the review dates to the next date, based on metadata provided on how how often the document should be reviews. By using conditionals in the transition of stages, it basically starts over, and goes into a parallel block to allow the monitoring of multiple values of metadata to move to the next stage. Very Powerful when you want to automate these types of process. It truly is a "Set It and Forget It" process.
  • If you have never used SharePoint Designer, everything about this program is very hard. It looks like a cross between the old Microsoft FrontPage, Notepad, Visual Studio, and Visio. All of you know how to use right? No. Most people now days, do not know what FrontPage is, but it was an HTML WebPage editor, and SharePoint Designer 2010 had a GUI (Drag and Drop to build) interface, but they did away with it in the 2013 version, which made making Page Layouts, Custom WebParts, and editing Master Pages nearly impossible without knowing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and .Net.
  • How to build the workflows is not apparent. Even the books out there published on SharePoint Development or Administration using SharePoint Designer tell you minor things; how to start, how to stop, how pause, etc., but nothing really defined as a Standard Best Practice to build (Insert Business Process Here) workflow. For example, a detailed explanation of how to use the action "Start an approval process". There are 3 different states in this workflow, and there are so many options in each state, and there is not a clear path. That is just one out of the box action that has 3-4 Levels of detail, without any direction. Your only hope is Google Searches, YouTube Videos, and if you are luck, there is a local college or university with Computer Education Training that focus on specific specific programs and teach you the in's and out's of the program, such as the University of Missouri - St. Louis. They have an entire division dedicated to the use of these types of applications such as SharePoint Designer, with actual Certificate Programs, of which I obtained (http://www.cetc.umsl.edu/). The classes there on SharePoint Designer gave me the knowledge to become the Architect and Designer I am today.
  • The number of actions available out of the box are limited. Granted the 2013 platform workflows do have a larger number of actions available, but still they are limited. One of the things I have done is develop custom workflow actions for SharePoint Designer. Sadly this only works with SharePoint on Premise Systems and you have to develop it in Visual Studio, and that program is as intuitive as learning a new language. The workaround I have used to add nearly 40 additional actions, with AMAZINGLY DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS with examples is the Workflow Actions Pack by Plumsail.com. This $500 annual investment has elevated the level of development with SharePoint Designer to outer space. The best part, it is not difficult to use, and makes creating workflows exciting.
  • The absolute worst thing about SharePoint Designer is that Microsoft is not releasing another version after the 2013 version. Microsoft will support SharePoint Designer 2013 for SharePoint 2013 & 2016 on Premise systems until 2026 (https://blogs.office.com/2016/01/20/sharepoint-server-2016-and-project-server-2016-release-candidate-available/). However, for the SharePoint Online (Office 365) environment may not support it for that amount of time. Microsoft may cut the time shorter due to SharePoint Online being a Multi-Tenant Environment.
Well Suited - WORKFLOWS!
To a SharePoint Developer, workflows are like a hammer to a carpenter. If there is a business process that needs automation, the first thing I look to is what are we automating? What/where is the data? How can we minimize the number of keystrokes by end-users to get from the start to finish? The answer to all of these is "build a workflow". With the introduction of "Call HTTP Web Service" action, you can now access data anywhere in a site collection and consume it in any site, on any list, for any form. SharePoint Designer Workflows makes the SharePoint world go round.

Less Appropriate - Building SharePoint Pages
I have attempted to use SharePoint Designer to build custom pages, but it just is the worst tool to use. There are many other tools to use to develop customized pages. The techniques of designing custom page layouts, CSS files to populate in pages, JavaScript Snippets for pages have changed so much over the years, and SharePoint Designer did not change with them. In fact, it is my opinion the 2013 version made it 100 times more difficult than the 2010 Version.
April Dunnam | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We utilize SharePoint Designer across our own organization. We also install it for our clients and use it for them as well. SharePoint Designer is currently a necessary evil for our SharePoint clients. The biggest business problem that it addresses is the need to create custom workflows for SharePoint which is mostly what we use it for.
  • Workflow Development - SharePoint Designer is currently the go-to tool for creating custom workflows in SharePoint.
  • Allows you to easily upload resource files.
  • It crashes...a lot! Be prepared to be making back-ups and hitting save frequently if you don't wan to loose your work.
  • The HTML Editor is sub-par. I use other tools such as Visual Studio or Sublime for HTML Editing and just copy the code to Designer.
  • It's being phased out. Microsoft announced that no new versions of SharePoint Designer will be released.
I would say that most developers such as myself are not big fans of SharePoint Designer. With that said, there are a couple things that you can't deny it is still well suited for. The biggest is workflow development. Microsoft is pushing Flow as a workflow tool more and more but it still has a way to go and is only available on O365. So, for workflow development, SharePoint Designer is your first stop. It is actually pretty end user friendly for developing workflows. The other thing it's well suited for it uploading resource files. Rather than mapping a drive to upload files, you can easily open it up in Designer and copy and paste.

Lorraine Marrero | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use SharePoint Designer in the IT department. It is used primarily to edit/create page layouts, display templates, master pages and css.
  • Integrates very well with SharePoint, allowing you to change page layouts, display templates and css.
  • Very easily allows you to create/change workflows.
  • Would like the design view to come back, so I can see the changes I have made without having to preview them on my page.
SharePoint Designer is very well suited for designing/modifying workflows. It is very easy to use for this purpose. I also find it easy to create page layouts and display templates, which if used together with search queries and content queries, can take the place of having to create web parts.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SharePoint Designer is currently being used to provide custom solutions to end-users. It is currently only being used by the SharePoint Team. SharePoint Designer helps automate business processes by sending notifications through custom workflows and by creating custom reports using web part pages.
  • Helps developers create a custom look and feel for new, edit and display forms.
  • Gives user the ability to create parameters and connect web parts.
  • Gives users the ability to create custom workflows.
  • SharePoint 2010 is very buggy and it often crashes.
I would have to say no. Most out of the box functionality can be done in SharePoint Designer as well as within SharePoint. I think it's okay to use both if you have the permissions to do so. If you aren't a power users or developer I would recommend not using SharePoint Designer because you could easily make modifications that weren't intended.
Kristina Geiger | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SharePoint Designer was used at the company for increased flexibility of workflows, full customization ability for our sites/site pages, and used for pieces of larger scale application development. While a majority of the use is from the IT team responsible for maintaining the company's SharePoint site, there were a select few other individuals that would be provided with SharePoint Designer to further expand on their department's SharePoint site. It addresses business problems such as custom workflows to meet business needs, editing master/site pages to provide the exact information, or customizing forms to provide only critical business information in certain areas to certain users.
  • Allows ease and flexibility of creating custom workflows specific to the business needs. Emails can be configured to easily be sent based on specific conditions, and the inclusion of workflow variables allows increased functionality.
  • It gives a quick interface to add, edit, and remove site pages as well as the ability to edit list item pages creating a custom look and feel for every business need and increasing the functionality of SharePoint lists.
  • Allows a nicer user interface for the additions and management of the external content types linked to the specific sites.
  • In the newest version of SharePoint Designer, they have gotten rid of the Design view which makes what used to be quick and easy changes much more code-intensive. This makes it harder for non-IT users and is more risker for all SharePoint Designer users.
  • SharePoint Designer workflows have a lot of functionality, but there are also some crucial limitations, such as not being able to put lookup fields in email subjects or using parenthesis to separate/group logical conditions.
  • Although this goes along with the Design view, there really isn't a good user interface anymore for adding conditional formatting and styles in views/pages.
It is very well-suited and efficient for workflows, item/page views (as long as you aren't afraid of and are well-versed in the page code), and ease of creation for pages/sites/etc. If you need something extremely customizable with the least amount of limitations, you may be better off creating a custom solution in Visual Studios, but if your solution needs to go a bit larger than standard out-of-box functionality, SharePoint Designer would be a good tool to use.
Mary Kay Scott | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Our company uses SharePoint Designer for ad-hoc customizations to its SharePoint 2010 intranet. My team, which is the web development team, is the only group allowed to use Designer in the production environment. Anybody who requests it can use it in the test environment. We have a deployment tool that facilitates deployment of sites from test to production.

I jump into SharePoint Designer whenever a one-off customization to an intranet site is requested, such as adding conditional formatting to a list view, or making visual adjustments to a form. I also use it for creating workflows, adding Javascript to a page, or creating custom CSS for a specific site.

  • Designer is great for creating and applying custom master pages to sites. A custom master can be created anywhere, uploaded to a site, and applied to individual pages (rather than to an entire site).
  • Designer is also really easy to use when I need to apply conditional formatting to a list, such as color-coding items needing attention.
  • If you're not afraid of XSL, Designer is also a decent environment for customizing a page's layout by altering XSL templates.
  • I also use Designer for building quick one-off workflows. The workflow building interface is easy to use and very powerful - much easier than getting into Visual Studio workflow and then deploying it.
  • Most people don't choose whether or not to use SharePoint Designer - we are somewhat of a captive user group. If you want to customize SharePoint pages without building custom solutions every time, then Designer is your only option.
  • Designer can be unstable. There is not a lot of room for error in playing around with the XSL it creates -- errors will often cause the application to crash. The code view is not particularly good at dealing with XSL either -- it doesn't group by tag, and XSL error messages are not informative. I have taught myself to look closely at the line numbering -- If I make a change to XSL, refresh the Design view, and get a vague XSL error message, having a line number reference to my last change saves me a lot of hunting, because Designer will not tell you where the error is.
  • Designer has a variety of bugs, some more annoying than others. For instance, it gives you the ability to create a data source from SharePoint's web services (very handy for referencing data in a separate site collection), but the data source seems unable to use Windows authentication, and I am forced to hard-code an account name and password. Certainly not ideal.

Designer 2010 is a huge improvement over Designer 2007. I'm just now installing Designer 2013 for my next upgrade environment, and I hope it is similarly improved. Given that there aren't any easy alternatives to Designer, it is worth putting up with its idiosyncrasies in order to get quick results for my end users.

But it is a powerful tool, so I will not make it available to the various power users who have requested access to it in production. We can restrict what site(s) Designer users can change, but within those sites, everything becomes up for grabs. Since my company wants to (a) maintain consistent user interfaces, and (b) restrict the number of unghosted pages overall (for performance reasons), we opt to let users from outside my team create their designs/customizations/workflows in the test environment, then we vet them before moving them to production.