On my Office 365/SharePoint Online tenant, I’m trying to create a Workflow with SharePoint Designer 2013. This has worked before, but today I get a strange error:

Server error: The version of Microsoft SharePoint Foundation running on the server is more recent than the version of SharePoint Designer you are using. You need a more recent version of SharePoint Designer

enter image description here

Searching for the error I get a suggestion to remove the SharePoint Designer node of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office – but after a restart it still doesn’t work. To add further info, which may or may not be relevant I have several Microsoft Office Professional Plus Updates that cannot be installed, and the suggestion is to remove the entire Office installation and start over. I’m reluctant to do so, before I know It’ll solve the problem.

What causes the error, and how can I open my SharePoint Online tenant (E3 license) using SharePoint Designer?

  • Interesting, do you have multiple versions of Office or Designer installed? – Christoffel de Gruyter Aug 21 '14 at 8:34
  • @ChristoffeldeGruyter I have a SharePoint Designer 2010 installed as well, but don't think it shoul interfer with me trying to open a web in SPD 2013? Or it may do...? I'll uninstall SPD 2010 as well. – Benny Skogberg Aug 21 '14 at 8:35

There may be a couple of possible issues and solutions here.

Solution 1

I think that SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2013 is getting confused with your Office versions after and office update. I presume the possible solution would be not to change the registry.

SPD2010 and 2013 on the same machine shouldn't interfere with each other.

What you would need to do is uninstall SPD2013 and reinstall SPD2013. This will re-associate to the correct version of Office that it requires.
It could be that an update messed up the office dependency where it's getting confused with the multiple versions of Office after update (even though it shouldn't).

Solution 2

I presume you're getting this error when connecting to the site, and this issue may have something to do with your account. Could you try and connect with a different user and password?

Go to SPD2013 > Account > Switch Account and enter username and password and restart SPD.


  • You should add an account from the Tenant you are connecting to.
    • If you are connecting to multiple SharePoint Online (SPOnline) tenants, you'll have to have at least one account associated in SPD from every tenant.
  • Don't forget to restart SPD after adding the new account.
  • 1
    After Uninstalling SPD2013 and re-install with a fresh download - I got the same result. Uninstalling MS Office Pro Plus and SPD 2013, and re-install Office and SPD - I got the same result. Wrong version. Next step - uninstall SPD 2010... – Benny Skogberg Aug 21 '14 at 9:12
  • 4
    i presume your getting this when connecting to the site, could you try and connect with a user and password? spd2013 -> Account -> Switch Account and enter username and password. – Ali Jafer Aug 21 '14 at 9:17
  • 3
    Damn you're good! I used the wrong account, but would expect an "Access Denied" intead of "Server Error" message. Thanks a lot Ali! – Benny Skogberg Aug 21 '14 at 9:23
  • 1
    gotta love microsoft! glad to see it solved your issue! – Ali Jafer Aug 21 '14 at 9:25
  • 1
    your right tho it should of shown an access denied rather than version error.... that said i think microsoft are lazy and dont throw proper informative errors but rather throw a general error that is unrelated. You could use fiddler and it would of shown a 403 forbidden error within the http request but how was you suppose to know it was related to that issue ;) – Ali Jafer Aug 21 '14 at 9:31

Using IE, I logged into the site with my windows credentials. Keeping IE open, I re-opened SharePoint Designer and then was then able to access the site.

I've noticed this behavior seems to exist if you use multiple authentication providers (i.e. forms authentication with windows authentication).

  • That did the trick! – Mikael Svenson Feb 9 '16 at 8:06
  • This does the trick if your issue is that you're logged-in into SPD with the incorrect account. Try "Solution 2" in Ali's answer also to refresh the accounts. – Möoz Jul 10 '17 at 23:21

Could you please try the following steps to see if it works? But this worked for me.

  1. Open SharePoint Designer 2013 then click Account.
  2. Sign out and sign in again with the right account to access the SharePoint site.
  3. Restart SharePoint Designer 2013.
  4. Open the SharePoint site again
  • It worked for me without reinstalling anything, I had sp2010 designer installed + sp2013 designer installed. I just had to sign out in sharepoint designer, 3 or 4 times. Sign in with the office 365 account, then restart SharePoint designer.... Then it worked. Thanks you – Jeff Mar 20 '18 at 16:42

Just click account in the left hand bar and sign in using your site collection admin credentials, this fixes the issue in most cases. If it does not, then clear your designer cache. Here is a link that will direct you step-by-step how to do this:


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.