This is all Visual Studio related (no SPD).

  1. I created a SharePoint 2013 farm solution containing one custom workflow activity (declarative, no code). The solutions is called "ResuableWorkflowActivities.wsp".
  2. Next I created another SP 2013 farm solution and added a reference to my ReusableWorkflowActivities project.
  3. In the toolbar I can see my custom workflow activity. Unfortunately I cannot drag it onto the designer surface. It won't allow me to :(

The question is: Is it possible to create a "reusable workflow activities" SharePoint solution? Or do activities need to be placed in the same project as the workflow consuming them?

I have no doubt it does work with coded workflow activities. If I can avoid it I'd rather use declarative actions though.

Edit: I added an answer and would be glad to receive any feedback as I cannot tell if this is just working for me - hopefully not :)

2 Answers 2


Try adding ResuableWorkflowActivities project assemly to GAC.

Take the assembly from bin\Debug\PartitionedWorkflowBuild\ResuableWorkflowActivities.dll

Not from bin\Debug Folder.

Also check: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/73c4e1bf-e54b-4d6a-b0d3-896bbba96c83/tfs-2010-custom-workflow-activity-cannot-add-activity-to-workflow?forum=tfsbuild

This might help you as i was facing the same issue.

  • Interesting. I'll look into that. I wonder why my declarative workflow activities rely on a assembly at all.
    – lapsus
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 6:03
  • Unfortunately that didn't solve my problem. Neither the bin\debug (v1.0.0.0) nor the bin\debug\partitionedworkflowbuild (v0.0.0.0) assembly worked. By the way - by default the toolbox referes to the bin\debug\partitionedworkflowbuild assembly doesn't it?
    – lapsus
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 6:29
  • Did you perform iisreset after adding the assembly?
    – Aanchal
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 6:31
  • what is path shown in toolbox? bin\debug\partitionedworkflowbuild or bin\debug\partitionedworkflowbuild (v0.0.0.0)
    – Aanchal
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 6:32
  • I guess iisreset helped. Still this is confusing. My manually GAC-added and manually toolbox referenced assembly points to my local workspace instead of GAC (where I added it from)... but I can drag it onto the designer surface now. Still I wonder if that's the way it is meant to be... considering the manual "v0.0.0.0" assembly deployment.
    – lapsus
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 6:49

While @Aanchal's solution is working I couldn't make any sense of it. Looking at the two different assemblies revealed that one of them has an Activity in it - the other one (bin\debug) hasn't.

So apparently there's some special code generation taking place. And once you have the "empty" assembly in your GAC you are out of luck...

So I went forth and disabled the automatic assembly packaging (it's a property on project level) - I didn't understand why declarative activities need an assembly in the first place. Now I can use my custom activities right from the toolbox.

The only important thing to take care of is that you deploy your "reusable activities project" before your custom workflow project consuming any of these activities. Otherwise you will get an "activitiy not found exception" upon (you workflow) feature activation.

I'd be happy to get any feedback on this.

P.S.: Also make sure you don't have any artifacts left in your GAC.

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