Whether are some restrictions about numer of variables and actions in SharePoint Designer Workflows?

I'm asking because I have to create workflow with a few hundreds of variable and actions and I'm thinking if do it in a few workflows?

Thanks for advice. Regards,

3 Answers 3


According to the section Workflow limits in Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint 2013

For variables

Maximum workflow definition (xaml) size

Description: Attempts to publish xaml files that exceed the size limit will fail.

Max value: 5,120 KB

Limit Type: Boundary

Workflow variable value size

Description: The maximum amount of data that can be stored in a single workflow variable is 256 KB. Exceeding this limit will cause the workflow instance to terminate.

Max value: 256 KB

For Actions

Maximum depth of a workflow sub-step in xaml (workflow complexity)

Description: here is a hard limit of 125 for node depth in xaml. The maximum value of 121 levels accounts for the default activities (stage, sequence, etc.) that SharePoint Designer inserts automatically.

Max value: 121 levels

Limit type: Boundary

  • Thank you for answer it's important for me but I'm wondering about size of variable. You wrote that max size is 256kb but how many KB can have variable Date/Time and List Item Id? eg if all variables would have max size 256KB so one workflow would have only 20 variables - 5120/256=20?
    – Wilon
    Apr 11, 2014 at 11:04
  • Not exactly i guess, since XAML file contains workflow activity tree declaration (including variables declaration), variables data are not stored in XAML file. It basically means you could predict how much activities your workflow could contain using Maximum workflow definition (xaml) size parameter Apr 11, 2014 at 11:27
  • 1
    Ok, thanks. It's good, So far I will have 120 variables and over 200 actions, I hope it will be work ...
    – Wilon
    Apr 11, 2014 at 11:52
  • Unfortunately it doesn't work, I'm able to save workflow if I check error there is no error but when I try to publish it I get error that "Found an error when compiling. Files workflow was saved, but can not be run" Can it be because of to many variables and actions?
    – Wilon
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:21
  • Just tried to create workflow that contains 50 variables (string) and was able to publish it. Could you please verify ULS log otherwise it would be not easy to find out the root cause Apr 11, 2014 at 14:10

Also - on the topic of splitting in multiple workflows. I find it easier to keep most things in a single workflow. I try to use the same one for new and modified (you can check on the version number if versioning is on to check to see if it's a new record). Workflows don't always start properly so you run into less risk that way. Also, if the multiple workflows must fire in a particular order, that is a bit sporty to do but it can be done using auxiliary lists. Do not use the 'pause until a field changes' action - it is very spotty on it's execution. Plus, you want workflows to finish as quickly as possible so they don't conflict with someone editing a record (or their edits will error out resulting in angry customers). Also, if you have multiple workflows triggered on modification then they can cross trigger each other. SP 2013 workflows can invoke 2010 workflows as sort of subroutines but you have to do some fancy footwork if you want to reliably know if the subroutine workflow has finished - which doesn't always work even on O365.


I've run into workflow vars limits myself in terms of the number. For SP 2010 workflows, I run into problems right around 100 workflow variables. So I just reuse variables whenever I can. 200 actions shouldn't be a problem however.

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