Visual Designer in SharePoint Designer 2013

This is the biggest implementation done by SharePoint Designer team in this 2013 version. Visual Designer (Visio Diagrams) is directly integrated in the SharePoint Designer. Means we can draw the Visio diagrams for workflows directly in the SharePoint Designer. Who have worked with SharePoint Designer 2010 to create Visio workflows, The process we have to follow is

  • first build the workflow in Visio,
  • then export it to file system
  • then import to SharePoint Designer 2010.
  • And publish to a list/library.

That was a lengthy process. With Visual Designer we can directly build the Visio workflows in SharePoint Designer 2013.

The limitations with earlier approach are:

  • No way to parametrize the different actions within Visio.
    • You would always have to switch to the Text-Based Designer to set the action parameters.
  • When exporting from SPD, you had no idea how your diagram might have been changed
  • No way to show/use custom actions within Visio

How to enable Visual Designer?

This is the out of the box feature, but we need both SharePoint Designer 2013 and Visio Pro 2013 installed side by side in the same machine to enable it.

Visual Designer can only be usable with SharePoint 2013 sites. Thus said, we can create/edit the workflows which are created in SPD 2013 and we cannot edit the 2010 workflows through Visual Designer.

Where you find the button to enable it?

In Workflows tab, under “Views” section you will see the option for “Visual Designer”.

For all features and more explanation please go through the SharePoint Designer blog.


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