My workflow is too big and SharePoint Designer constantly throws following error when publishing the workflow:

Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The workflow files were saved but cannot be run. Unexpected error on server associating the workflow.

Server admin refused to change anything and told me to split the workflow into smaller ones.

Is it somehow possible to duplicate or split a worfklow? I tried copy + paste feature, but it corrupted the conditions based on other than actual list.

I'm using SharePoint Designer 2013.

1 Answer 1


I found the solution - works for the same site as well.

Copied from the site:

  1. Open the site you want to copy the workflow from and click Workflows under Site Objects from the left navigation
  2. Select the workflow and click Export to Visio from the designer ribbon to save the file. Note that the default file extension is .vwi
  3. Locate the exported file and change its extension from .vwi to .zip
  4. Open the .zip file and remove workflow.xoml.wfconfig.xml file
  5. rename .zip file back to .vwi
  6. Now open the new site (or same site) where you want to move the workflow and click Workflows under Site Objects
  7. Click Import from Visio; browse to select the file and click Next (The wizard will ask you to associate the workflow with a new list of this site)
  8. Select the list name from the drop down list and click Finish. Note that you can change the name of the workflow at this step if you with. Also, you may have to update the workflow to associate previously used field names if there were any used.
  9. Click Save to complete the move.

Steps 3, 4 and 5 are important else you will get this error: This workflow cannot be imported because it was created in SharePoint Designer for a different site, or the original workflow has been moved or deleted…


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