Create a Custom Workflow with SharePoint Designer

How to Create a Project Report Workflow with SharePoint Designer

December 16, 2019 by

SharePoint includes five out-of-the-box workflows for collecting signatures and feedback, managing processes, and getting approval for documents.

If you need to create custom or more complex workflows to support project management processes, you’ll need to use SharePoint Designer.

Start managing projects on SharePoint with a free, no-code template


This free tool is used to manage SharePoint sites, including lists, libraries, and workflows, without the need to write code.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a custom workflow for project reporting using SharePoint Designer 2010.


What is SharePoint Designer?

As mentioned above, SharePoint Designer is a free, web-based tool used to manage and enhance SharePoint sites.

SharePoint uses the database application, SQL Server, to store data and configuration information.

SharePoint Designer allows users to work with these files to create data-rich pages, build workflows, and customize the style of a site.

You can download SharePoint Designer 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2013 for free from Microsoft.

Once installed, you’ll need to connect SharePoint Designer with a site in your SharePoint environment.

Access to and usage of SharePoint Designer is based on permission levels. End-users will be need to be a member of one of the following groups at the site collection level:

  • Site Collection Administrators
  • Designers
  • Owners.


It’s worth noting that Microsoft is no longer making this application, with support for SharePoint Designer ending in 2026.

However, you can continue to use the 2010 version with SharePoint 2010, and the 2013 version with SharePoint 2019/2016/2013/2010/Online.


Components of SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Designer uses several common elements in a workflow.

  • Events: How the workflow is triggered, for example, when a new item is added to a list.
  • Conditions: A clause that determines the action, for example, if a new document is uploaded to the library, send an email to the project manager.
  • Actions: Tasks that do something, such as send an email. Tasks can be serial (completed one after the other time) or parallel (completed at the same time).
  • Variables: A way to store values, like a name of the project manager, in a workflow.
  • Steps –SharePoint 2010: Steps are used to group conditions and actions together. The rules in one step are applied before moving to the next step.
  • Stages – SharePoint 2013: In SharePoint Designer 2013, stages replace steps.
  • Forms: Workflows often use forms to collect information, for example, updating the status of a task.



SharePoint Designer 2010 Interface

SharePoint Designer Interface



For BrightWork customers, your Customer Success Architect can create custom workflows using SharePoint Designer as part of your deployment.

BrightWork also includes Workflow Sync, which allows users to apply updates to multiple SharePoint 2010 and Nintex List workflows in a single interface.



Video: Project status reporting using SharePoint Designer 2010

In this training video, you’ll learn how to use SharePoint Designer 2010 to build a custom workflow to:

  • Email relevant individuals when a new project status report is posted in a project site.
  • Update the project statement with comments from the project status report.


Grace Windsor

Grace is a content creator within the marketing team at BrightWork. She loves creating actionable content in different formats to help others achieve more project success. Grace spent far too long at university studying English literature, which instilled a life-long love of learning and upskilling.

In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.
Grace Windsor

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