With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can build complete, rich, reusable, process-centric applications on the SharePoint platform that integrate external data. SharePoint Designer 2010 makes it possible to build composite applications by configuring or designing components such as data sources, lists, content types, views, forms, workflows, and external content types — all without writing any code. Further, SharePoint Designer 2010 now provides tools for all of the important components in a SharePoint solution: “You don’t have to leave SharePoint Designer to build your solution.”


SharePoint Designer 2010 includes major improvements to workflows. You can now rapidly design workflows that facilitate a wide range of business and human processes. And many new building blocks means that workflows are more flexible and powerful and capable of modeling more complex business logic and process

Reusable workflows

With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create workflows that are easily reusable. You can create a reusable workflow in the top-level site in the site collection, and that workflow is globally reusable — meaning that the workflow can be associated to any list or library in the site collection. You can also create a reusable workflow in any subsite in the site collection; this workflow is available for reuse in that particular subsite

Export workflows

Now you can export a reusable workflow from one site collection and then upload and activate that workflow in a different site collection. SharePoint Designer 2010 supports exporting a workflow as a solution package or .wsp file

Association columns

If your reusable workflow requires certain columns to be present in the list or library that it is associated to, you can add those columns as association columns. Association columns get added automatically to a list or library when a reusable workflow is associated to that list or library

Associate workflows with content types

When you create a reusable workflow, you can choose to filter your reusable workflow to a specific content type. Then, in the browser, you can associate your reusable workflow either to that specific content type or to any content type that inherits from that content type. If you associate a workflow to a site content type, you make that workflow available for all items of that content type in every list and library to which that site content type has been added

Site workflows

You can think of a site workflow as a general site-wide process. A site workflow is associated to a site — not to a list, library, or content type. So unlike most workflows, a site workflow is not running on a specific list item. In the browser, you can start a site workflow or view the status of running site workflows by clicking Site Workflows on the Site Actions menu

Edit the workflows included with SharePoint Server

The three most popular workflows in SharePoint Server — the Approval, Collect Feedback, and Collect Signatures workflows — have been completely rebuilt as declarative workflows, meaning that they are now fully customizable in SharePoint Designer 2010. These workflows are event-driven, and all of the important events in the workflow are surfaced in the workflow editor, both for each task in the process and for the process as a whole. For example, you can easily add conditions and actions to define what happens when each task is assigned, expired, or completed.

Design a custom approval process

SharePoint Designer 2010 includes three new approval actions: Assign Item for Approval, Assign Item for Feedback, and General Task Process. The “big three” workflows included in SharePoint Server 2010 — the Approval, Collect Feedback, and Collect Signatures workflows — are built with these actions. The approval actions surface all of the important events in an approval process, making it easy for you to design a human workflow process where many people interact or collaborate on a specific document

Impersonation steps

In the previous version of SharePoint Designer, a workflow always impersonated the user who started the workflow and ran with that user’s permissions. Now, in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can now use impersonation steps to have the workflow perform actions by impersonating the workflow author instead of the workflow initiator. Impersonation steps are very useful in approval and publishing scenarios, where the people submitting content for approval and the people approving content have different permissions

Visio integration

Suppose that your organization has a business analyst who best understands the process that a workflow needs to capture. With SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio Professional 2010, a business analyst can now sketch out workflows graphically in Visio. Visio Professional 2010 includes a Microsoft SharePoint Workflow template that includes shapes for all of the workflow conditions and actions. You can start in Visio and then export to SharePoint Designer, or you can start in SharePoint Designer and then export to Visio, or you can iterate on a workflow design with many roundtrips between both programs without losing any of the workflow settings

Workflow visualizations

You can easily view the status of any running workflow on the Workflow Status page. With a workflow visualization, a Visio diagram of your workflow is automatically created and displayed in a Visio Web Part on the Workflow Status page. The workflow visualization shows a “live” view of exactly where a specific workflow is at. Workflow visualizations require Visio Professional 2010 installed on your computer and Visio Graphics Services running on the server

InfoPath forms

If your server is running SharePoint Server 2010 (not SharePoint Foundation 2010 alone), all of the workflow forms — the association form, initiation form, and task forms — are now InfoPath 2010 forms. It is easy to change the appearance and layout of InfoPath forms, and you can add validation rules to an InfoPath form. To edit a workflow form in InfoPath 2010, just click the form and InfoPath opens directly from SharePoint Designer 2010

Substeps & new workflow actions

SharePoint Designer 2010 includes many new building blocks such as substeps and new workflow actions. For example, if your workflow is associated to a document library or if it is filtered to the Document content type, a group of contextual Document Set actions appear. A document set is a new feature in SharePoint Server 2010 whereby a group of documents are treated as a single unit, so a workflow action for a document set will iterate on all items in that document set. Other new workflow actions include utility actions to manipulate strings and dates; a new relational action that uses Active Directory to look up a person’s manager; and new list actions that a workflow can use to set permissions on a list item

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