When I try to open a workflow using Designer 2013. I get the error "Unable to load workflow actions from the server. Please contact your server administrator".

I did a lots of digging and not able to find a good solution for this.

One option was to see if there's a solution deployed in both the farm level and site collection level. But there's nothing.

I checked the logs but I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. Can anybody help me?

2 Answers 2


When we try to open the workflows in the SharePoint Designer, sometimes we receive the below error:

enter image description here


You can access the workflow from the SharePoint UI. Other workflows in different web applications are editable.


Cannot be same in all the scenarios but should be specific to the features

Capture a fiddler trace while opening the SharePoint designer and you should see a 505 error with the below error tag:

<errorstring xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/">Failed to find the XML file at location
     '14\Template\Features\custom solution\feature.xml'</errorstring><errorcode

This is due to the feature which is not available at '14\Template\Features'. If you have a custom solution whose web parts are placed in a web site and the solution files are missing or the solution is retracted, you see this error.


Remove the web parts that the solution adds to a site collection using PowerShell/code or deploy the solution back to the farm to get the feature.xml.

Read more about this:

Unable to load workflow actions from the server. Please contact your server administrator

SharePoint Designer 2010 - “Unable to load workflow actions from the server…”


Your issue looks similar to another post: SharePoint Designer 2010 - "Unable to load workflow actions from the server..."

The gist of it is to check the ULS logs for "FetchLegalWorkflowActions" to help identify why you're getting the issue.

  • yes I read that post but that wasn't the problem with me. I finally figured it out and one of the installed features is missing a .xml file. After I copied that .xml file, everything is back to normal. Thanks.
    – dkorra
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:43

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