SharePoint Designer tends to behave itself and function as well as it is supposed. That is until yesterday. In the contents of the Lists and Libraries tab for the main/top level site shows nothing. There are supposed to be a whole bunch of lists and libraries there, but instead it only shows a message saying, "There are no items to show in this view." It's a similar situation for the Workflows tab as well. Refreshing the lists, resetting IIS and rebooting the server has done nothing to improve the situation.

The View All Site Content option in the Site Actions menu for the top level site displays all the lists, libraries, etc. All other tabs in SharePoint Designer display everything they're supposed to display, such as Content Types, Subsites, Files, etc. The Lists and Libraries tab, as well as Workflows and all other tabs for all the Subsites seem to work fine and displays everything they are supposed to display. It's just the top level site that seems to have this problem.

I'm not sure what has happened here, nor do I know how to approach this issue. Any help and advice is most welcome.

3 Answers 3


It might be late, but here it goes for those who experience the same problem in the future:

On the site for which SPD is bugged (e.g. not showing the existing lists), locate a list that does not work and delete it. Broken lists actually cause this problem.

If you have no broken lists on your site, see if you can locate a list that has previously been created by a .wsp solution/feature that has been disabled. This is also a common cause for the issue.

  • Thank you for the info @Dimitrij. I eventually found this out through another thread as well as a lot of time using my "Google Fu". Basically, if it's broken in the web interface and breaks SPD, then delete it using PowerShell. After doing that a few times, I actually decided to start spending more time learning PowerShell. Thank you again.
    – rx3r0
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 17:44
  • Furthering Dimitrij's good answer, see sharepoint.stackexchange.com/a/74234/6471 for an excellent method to do this. [Why not include this as a comment? I don't have the required reputation.]
    – mcook
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 4:50

Chances are you have a deprecated template, such as the Project Document, from a FAB40 deployment back in SP2007. When you look at the list with SP2013 UI, you may see just a dot "." in the icon area. Suspect lists would be Deliverables, Risks, Issues and Project Documents.


When we had this error is was due to a ListTemplate in use that was no longer installed on the site collection or subsite.

The easiest way I found to quickly identify the troublesome lists was to run some powershell and compare them in excel.

add-pssnapin microsoft.sharepoint.powershell
$web = Get-SPWeb "<YOUR SITE URL>"
$web.Lists | Format-Table {$_.Title, $_.Template}

Copy this list into excel then run the next powershell to find the list of templates installed:

$web.ListTemplates | Format-Table {$_.FeatureId}

Copy this list into another column in excel.

Run a VLOOKUP on the two lists into a 3rd column. Any rows that come up "#N/A" that dont have a FeatureId of 00000000-0000-0000-0000-00000000000 are safe to assume that they are not installed on the site. Verify that these lists fail to load and then delete them or install the ListTemplate.

Sharepoint Designer will then show Lists and Libraries properly.


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