i created a reusable workflow using sharepoint designer, and then i created 2 custom site columns to associate in the workflow. Then i published it and tested on the same site where i had it created. it works. And then i exported it as a template so i can deploy the wsp to other site, but it doesn't work for other sites.

the 2 site columns are with Choice data type. At first I thought maybe it was the associated columns, so I created them using powershell so they have the same name and guid, i just deployed it to a different site collection.

but my approval workflow doesn't work on the list where I attached it to in another site collection.

it is just a simple approval workflow i just added a condition before the approval starts.

thank you.

  • Have you got it working?
    – Hardik
    May 19, 2016 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


SharePoint Designer workflows can be exported to solution files and then imported in a different Site Collection or a different SharePoint Farm.

Now they can even be opened in Visual Studio, although it’s not a reversible process and once opened in Visual Studio they can’t be changed using SharePoint Designer anymore.

you can save the workflow as a .wsp file using SharePoint Designer 2010, then deploy the solution into the new site collection.

You can check the steps which you had followed to export the workflow to other location using below mentioned link.

Move Copy a Designer Reusable Workflow to a new site farm

  • Hi Thank you for your reply. Yes I found the same link you gave to the other threads and it works that way. Thank you :) I was wondering why it doesn't work when I import the wsp to visual studio and then deploy it via visual studio. and also i haven't tried deploying the wsp in powershell though, i am not sure if it will behave the same way because our deployment process is that wsps are deployed by powershell.
    – Icee8123
    May 17, 2016 at 12:43
  • Please check here if you can get something for you...sharepointyankee.com/2010/12/11/…
    – Hardik
    May 17, 2016 at 12:53
  • Have you got anything working for you?
    – Hardik
    May 17, 2016 at 14:54
  • Hi, yes. I used the method of activating the wsp in the site collection. It works fine that way. :) Thank you. :)
    – Icee8123
    May 30, 2016 at 13:06

I have never seen a solution move perfectly between environments. Even with columns provisioned via PowerShell using the same GUID between environments, SharePoint Designer workflows are notorious for breaking upon deployment.

Once the workflow is imported into the target destination, be sure to open up the workflow and look for any strange things. Namely variables that look askew or interactions with columns. There are some detailed steps here: http://community.rightpoint.com/blogs/viewpoint/archive/2013/07/09/the-quasi-definitive-end-to-end-infopath-deployment-guide-act-3.aspx

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