First, thanks for the help. I have looked, but cannot seem to find a solution. I figure this question has been asked, so I apologize for asking a repeat.

New to SharePoint, so here's my best description.

Office 365, SharePoint 2013. In SharePoint Designer I have created a new, very simple workflow that sends an email to the AssignedTo: person. My email works, looks very nice and has all the information (including Description, CreatedBy, and a link to the task).

However, the workflow only fires after I go in and press "Publish Workflow." I have the following checked; "Manually start this workflow," "Start workflow when item is changed," "Start workflow when item is created."

UPDATE - Here is where the problem occurs. After Publishing, the workflow fires one time, then notifications stop. Example, I create a new task and the notification does NOT occur. If I publish the workflow, the notification email is sent properly. However, subsequent emails for new tasks or updating of tasks are never delivered (until I publish the workflow again, then they all go out).

It's got to be a setting somewhere or I'm missing something. I appreciate the help.

  • Ugh...bad description. I have updated the original post
    – NWHikerOR
    Sep 8, 2016 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


This is by design.

While you are working on your workflow and creating it, it is not available for the list/library. Publishing it saves your changes and makes it available. After you click that button:

  1. you should see the workflow under Ribbon>List>Workflow Settings.
  2. the workflow should start automatically on every created item
  3. the workflow should start automatically whenever you change an item
  4. when you go to an item>...>workflows>you should be able to see the workflow and start it manually

What effect did you want to achieve before publishing the workflow? Did you want to test partial functionality?

  • Hi Grisha, I want the workflow to send an email when a person assigns a task. This does NOT occur. It only occurs when I publish the workflow (i.e. I have to go and publish the workflow each time a new task is created to get the emails to go out).
    – NWHikerOR
    Sep 8, 2016 at 15:33
  • Ok, that is definitely NOT by design :) It looks rather like a bug than a missing setting. Does it send the notification when you apply the workflow manually? What is the status of the workflow for the 2nd, 3rd, etc. item? Is it started? Does it occur for every workflow or just this one? Every list/site or just this one?
    – grisha
    Sep 8, 2016 at 15:43
  • Well, now the workflow appears to be working. I created a step to introduce the workflow history log and it appears to be working as expected. It even sends emails to each person assigned. Maybe I was bitten by the dreaded "office365 delay"
    – NWHikerOR
    Sep 8, 2016 at 16:24

That is exactly how it is supposed to be.

See it as two stages:

Stage 1: "Save" only (development)

While you develop your workflow you want to save it as often as possible so that you don't lose what you have developed in the case that SPD or your computer crashes. But you also don't want that items trigger your unfinished workflow. Saving the workflow really just saves it but won't attach it to the items.

Stage 2: "Save & Publish" (ready for testing or production)

You have developed your workflow and now you want to deploy it, either for testing or production. Once you Save & Publish your workflow, the items in your list will be able to trigger your workflow.

  • Thanks Daniel for the information. This is great. However, my description wasn't very good. I have updated the original post
    – NWHikerOR
    Sep 8, 2016 at 15:31

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