Develop workflows in SharePoint

Published: 3 June 2017

I will be sharing series of posts on how to develop workflows in SharePoint. These posts are applicable for on-premises and SharePoint Online. This series we start with SharePoint Designer then we will get into Microsoft Flow. 

This post is first installment of how to get started with setting up the environment required to develop workflows using SharePoint Designer. In this post you will learn how to set up office 365 and creating a test site collection required to develop the workflows. You will also learn how to download the SharePoint Designer 2013, Installing it and open sites using SharePoint Designer 2013. 

We will be to covering Microsoft Flow in parallel to this so you can compare what can be achieved in Microsoft flow at this point of time, then you can decide what to use based on your requirements. I am still seeing lot of workflows are build using SharePoint Designer 2013 though this will get deprecated in 2026 which will be 10 years from now.

Please refer the statement below from Microsoft about the SharePoint Designer 2013.

"InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will be the last versions of those products. SharePoint Designer is not being re-released with SharePoint Server 2016, although we will continue to support custom workflows built with SharePoint Designer and hosted on SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. Support for InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will match the support lifecycle for SharePoint Server 2016, running until 2026."


These articles is more of how to guides so you can simply follow them to practice or build developing workflows in your own time. In this how to guides you will step by step on what are the things that you need to do. You can also download these guides and go through them when you have time.

Lets start..

Setup Office 365 and Create Site Collection

Lab Exercise 1: Set up Office 365 and Create Site Collection.

Task 1: Set up Office 365

 Step 1. Search for Office 365 E3 trial subscription.

Click appropriate link (It will be first link max) and go to Microsoft products page.

 Step 2. Click on the Free Trial button that as you see in the screen below.

 Step 3. You need to go through the verification process by email and phone number, so, provide correct details. 

Fill country, first name, last name, business email address and phone number, and your company name and size.

 Step 4. Click Next à

 Step 5. And then you need to complete Create your user ID. 

This page allows creating login user ID for your company.

Here the important thing is, Microsoft following different format to create user id. For that, it takes unique company name.

User id format: Username + Company name       +

Example:          Devendra  + SharePoint-Journey +

Your login id will be

Enter company name till it’s available with Microsoft.

 Step 6. Once completed user id creation enters a strong password.

 Step 7. Click Next à

 Step 8. This takes you to verification page Prove. You’re. Not. A. Robot.

You have to go through mobile number verification. So keep mobile with you.

 Step 9. Select Text me, and enter phone number

 Step 10. Click Text me à

 Step 11. Check your mobile for the verification code. If hasn’t got, wait for 10 mins.

Still, you don’t get Click on Try again.

 Step 12. Enter verification code

 Step 13. Microsoft provided few options to communication their updates, select whichever the option you want or left unchecked

 Step 14. Click Create my account à

 Step 15. You finished all the steps. Finally,

Bookmark from Browser or click Bookmark the sign-in-page

 Step 16. Click You’re ready to go… à

 Step 17. It opens Office 365 home page.

If you see the home page its mainly contains icons, from here, you can go to different pages.

Task 2: New Site Collection Creation

Before continuing this task complete Task 1 (nothing but setting up office 365).

Here we are going to create a new site collection using OOB (out of the box) feature of office 365.

 Step 1. Login into office 365.

 Step 2. From home page click on Admin icon to go to Admin center.

It may ask to verify contact information, verify and go to next step (Simply repeat step 10 to 13 from the above).

Once verification was done, it takes you to Admin home page.

 Step 3. To go to SharePoint admin centre page directly go to the bottom of the page and focus on admin icon or Expand left navigation. 

a)    To expand left navigation click as shown below.

Go to Admin Centers à SharePoint

It opens SharePoint admin center home page.

 Step 4.  Click New and select Private Site Collection from Site Collections list.

Enter all the information and click OK button. 

 Step 5. You can see the newly created Site Collections in the Site Collections list.

 Step 7. Click on your site collection link it open site collection properties page.

Click on Web Site Address. It opens site collection home page.

You completed Setting up Office 365 and created a new site collection. Do what can be done with your site collection.

Lab Exercise 2: Install SharePoint Designer 2013

In this exercise you are going to do

Task 1: Downloading SharePoint Designer 2013

Task 2: Installing SharePoint Designer 2013

Task 3: Open site from SharePoint Designer 2013

Task 1: Downloading SharePoint Designer 2013

Here we are installing SharePoint Designer 2013. It’s free from Microsoft.

Separate files available for 32bit and 64bit.

System Requirements:

Supported Operating System

Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

Microsoft .NET 4.0 Framework or higher

 Step 1. Search for SharePoint Designer 2013.

Click appropriate link (It will be first link max), takes you to Microsoft products page.

 Step 1. Click on the Download button. 

 Step 3.  Takes you to next page, here select your system compatible version and click Next to download.

 Step 4.  Click on Next. We are in final page. If your download does not start after 30 seconds, please click on the provided link as shown below.

 Step 5.  Check your local folder for downloaded files.

Task 2: Installation

Before continuing this task complete installing Microsoft .NET 4.0 Framework or higher.

 Step 1. Double click on the downloaded file. System extracts files ad open following window.

Step 2. Click on Install Now. If everything goes well thank you page will appear. 

Step 3. Click Close button. Installation completed 

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Office 2013 or whatever you installed on your machine and open SharePoint Designer 2013.

Task 3: Open site using SharePoint Designer

Step 1. Go to Microsoft Office 2013 or whatever you installed and Open SharePoint Designer 2013. 

Step 2. It will prompt for username and password. Enter your credentials for that site and click Sign in button.

It opens the site as below. You can start work now.

Video References:

Installing SPD 2013:

Open site from SPD 2013:


In this post you will learned how to set up office 365 and creating a test site collection required to develop the workflows. You will also learn how to download the SharePoint Designer 2013, Installing it and open sites using SharePoint Designer 2013. 

In the next post we will be creating prerequisite to start developing the workflows. I will be taking one of real world application and explain the workflows so this will help you in your projects.

Your Turn

Do you have any specific things related to workflows that you want me to cover as part of this series?. Please leave a comment below, so i can include those as part of this series.

About Author

Devendra Velegandla is a four-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award (2014-2017) for Office Servers and Services MVP and  SharePoint Server.He received the MCC award for his contributions in Microsoft MSDN/TechNet forums.He loves sharing articles, videos and tutorial on SharePoint and Office 365.

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