How to create a reusable workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010 (All Steps)

(c) Sean Bordner
(c) Sean Bordner

Using SharePoint Designer 2010 to create sophisticated reusable workflows is so easy, even a… Let’s just say it’s pretty easy. This post aims to walk you through the steps of creating a reusable workflow in SharePoint Designer 2010 and point out some pretty cool things as we go. First of all, when would you bother using SharePoint Designer 2010 to create a workflow, vs. just using the SharePoint 2010 provided browser interface? Well, that’s an easy one – the answer is: You would use SharePoint Designer 2010 to create a workflow when the workflow you wish to create involves conditions and is NOT as simple as just a basic review/approve process. Here are the steps involved in creating a reusable workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010. 

1. Create your new approvers group and populate it with the desired users.
Click “Create Group” in the ribbon
clip_image003Fill out the form
Click the “Create” button
clip_image008Add the desired users to your new group

2. Open the site/sub-site using SharePoint Designer 2010

3. Once the site is opened in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create a new workflow by selecting File/Add Item/Reusable Workflow.
Choose reusable workflow if you wish to use this same process in other areas.

4. Provide a meaningful name to your new workflow, and select the appropriate content type. For this example, we will name it “Josh and Jim Approval” and use the “Document” content type.
Provide meaningful workflow name and specify the appropriate content type, click the “Create” button.

5. You may receive the following pop up dialogue in SharePoint Designer 2010, just let it do its thing.

6. Now we get to define the steps to our new workflow (the fun part). You will see the following in SharePoint Designer 2010:

Note: One pretty cool feature is the ability to insert an “Impersonation Step.” The contents of an impersonation step will run as the auther, not as the user who started the workflow.

7. For this example, let’s say we want Josh and Jim to be notified when large files are uploaded to the site. We will start by defining the condition which triggers the workflow, and then we will specify the corresponding action.
Since we want to fire off this workflow when a large file is uploaded, we will select “The file size in a specific range kilobytes” condition from the dropdown.

8. This site is configured to reject files larger than 2GB, so we will specify a file size range between 1-2GB, which will catch all files 1GB and larger in size.

9. Now we specify the action. For this, we need to insert a new step.

10. Select “Send an email” for this action.
Note: the example is a very simple conditionally driven workflow, however for a more sophisticated workflow, use SharePoint Designer 2010 to build in nested steps:

11. Your screen should look like this:
clip_image022Click “these users” 

12. See this screen:
Click the Lookup book icon to the right of the “To” field so we can locate the approvers group we created earlier. 

13. Now select the “People/Groups from SharePoint site…” and click “Add>>”

14. The below dialog pops up, if you know all or part of the group you want to use, type it in the search box and click the search button, select the correct group in the results (in the example, it’s “Approvers – HR Docs”), but it could be any group you wish. Click the “OK” button.

15. Click the “OK” button for all dialogs until you are back to the orginial one. Specify the Subject, and Body of the email.

16. Click the “Publish” button in the ribbon and you are done!

Now you have a workflow which was created using SharePoint Designer 2010 and is also reusable (not possible with previous versions of SharePoint. Again, this was a very, very basic kinda situation, but you should get the point. It’s super easy to create workflows using SharePoint Designer 2010, including pretty sophisticated ones. Have fun playing around with this and don’t forget to share your experiences with the SharePoint community!


About Sean Bordner

CEO, Solution Architect, Co-Author of SharePoint for Nonprofits, Contributing Author MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCP, MCAD
This entry was posted in SharePoint, SharePoint Designer, Workflow. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to create a reusable workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010 (All Steps)

  1. Pingback: Five Best Improvements in SharePoint 2010 | StoverEffect

  2. Hi Sean, is it possible to edit SP Foundations ‘three-stage’ workflow? It should make for a good starting point, but it doesn’t show if you select ‘Workflows’ in Designer.

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