I have a Reusable Workflow that is associated to a List. I would like to tweak this workflow and continue using it. Solutions that require a one-time migration (e.g. using a different type of work flow) are acceptable IF they provide this functionality in the future.

If I edit the Reusable Workflow and Publish it, the changes are not propagated to the associated list. If this "just worked," that would be the ideal solution. [A] Is there any way for Publish to propagate Reusable Workflow changes to an associated list?

There are various articles listing these solutions, but they are all for SP2010:

  1. Wait for all workflow items to end. Delete existing workflow. Re-associate workflow.
  2. Terminate all workflow items. Delete existing workflow. Re-associate workflow.
  3. Version workflows (wf_v1, wf_v2) and continue adding a new workflow for every change.
  4. Update/replace workflow file directly using PowerShell.

None of these 4 solutions seem feasible except #3. Manually versioning the workflow is possible, but it means losing the workflow history & tasks for each item. This also lends itself to the Approval Status being spread across 3-4 different columns. [B] Is there a way to preserve Tasks, History, and Status Column when versioning a workflow?

  • Have you found any solution?
    – dbardakov
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:06
  • I could never find a solution to this SharePoint bug. We ended up using a List Workflow instead of a Reusable Workflow. The List Workflow can be updated simply by Publishing.
    – Dan
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


Opening and saving the settings for the workflow association seems to update the workflow to the latest published version, when re-publishing the reusable workflow isn't working.

To do this:

  1. Open the Workflow Settings page for list or library you're having problems with
  2. Choose the name of the workflow from the list
  3. Click OK at the bottom of the Change a Workflow page

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