Package and deploy SharePoint designer workflows

Posted on July 25th, 2014

In this video learn how to Package and deploy SharePoint designer workflows in SharePoint 2013 online.

Use Case:

Workflows developed in SharePoint designer developer machine need to be deploy-able across the environments like Dev, UAT and Production.

To learn more about Building workflows, click the image below and enroll in the FREE course.

Whenever we move the workflow across the environments you need to have all the dependencies like lists, libraries etc. available in target environment before we activate the workflow feature. The naming convention also should be the same

In SharePoint 2010 workflow, this feature was available only for Reusable workflow, but now in SharePoint 2013 you can package and deploy all three types of workflows, List workflow, site workflow and reusable workflows.

Steps to Package and deploy SharePoint designer workflows

  1. Let us open the SharePoint designer 2013.
  2. In this video, we are exporting a Log to History workflow attached to Product list.
  3. Select workflows from left navigation.
  4. Choose the workflow which you want to package and deploy across the environments.
  5. Click Save as a template, you will get a pop-up saying that, template has been saved to site assets library.
  6. Click on Site assets from left navigation and you can see that wsp package has been created for that workflow.
  7. Select the wsp file and click on Export file option from the ribbon and save that to your local drive.
  8. Go to destination site in different environment, In this case I am deploying to different site collection.
  9. Go to site settings, open solutions under web designer galleries.
  10. Click on upload and upload the WSP which we have exported from designer and activate it.
  11. This solution is having a feature at site level which will deploy the workflow. To see the feature, go to site features under site action and you can see that a feature created “Workflow template "Log History list" from web template "Workflows".
  12. If you click on activating this you will get an error, because it is having dependency of Products list.
  13. Let us go to source site now and save list as list template. Down load the list to local machine.
  14. Comeback to target site and go to site settings, Open List templates under web designer galleries and upload the list template here. In your case you might have build the list using Visual studio, in that case you need to make sure the WSP related list is deployed and corresponding feature is activated for the list to be available in the target site.
  15. Now let’s go ahead and activate the workflow feature, this it will get activate successfully.

Let’s test the workflow:

  1. Now we can test the workflow, you will still don’t see the complete the workflow working.
  2. Let’s go ahead add a new item.
  3. Go to item menu and open the workflows. Click on Log history List to start the workflow.
  4. In this case, it started but you will get a message that workflow history list not found.
  5. Let’s go back to List and open workflow settings and click on workflow and you can see here, workflow is pointing to new workflow history list, change that workflow history list, if you want to change the start options you can change it.
  6. Now retest it to add a new item and click on the workflow status to see workflow completed successfully.


In this video you have learned how to Package and deploy SharePoint designer workflows in SharePoint 2013 online.

To learn more about Building workflows, click the image below and enroll in the FREE course.

› Package and deploy SharePoint designer workflows

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About Author

Devendra Velegandla is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award (2014-2019) for Office Apps and Services, 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.