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June 17
SharePoint Designer 2013: Going, Going, Gone – Missing Features in the 2013 Workflow Framework

Last week I was working on a new workflow for a SharePoint Online site. The workflow was to simply apply permissions to a bunch of tasks at a time, since the 300+ tasks were bulk uploaded from Excel.

 ​Of course, this cannot just be done through “multi-clicking” tasks and using the ribbon. Sad as that is, I understand that it would be a technical and UI challenge.

 ​So, I of course turned to SharePoint Designer to create a workflow that would set permissions based on another column in the task. So if Department = “IT”, assign permissions to the IT group. I opened up Designer, went to click “Impersonation Step” and then “Replace List Item Permissions”.

 However, I came upon a horrible realization. All of the buttons and menu options I needed to perform this were GONE! I was using the new 2013 workflow framework, and they were all gone.​

The prospect of manually changing 300 tasks permissions was grim. So I looked for the next possibility: use the 2010 framework instead. Even if you have a SharePoint 2013 site (or SharePoint Online) you can still create a New Workflow using the SharePoint 2010 Framework.​ 

Once I did this, the options I needed to create the workflow were available to me. After a brief moment of panic, I was able to create the necessary workflow.​ 

Hopefully this will save you some time and energy if you run into this issue! 

Other weird things to note:​

After I created a 2010 workflow, I flipped back to look at another 2013 workflow I created. My loop conditions had gone blank and I couldn’t reset them. Crazy right?​

So, I exited out of Designer, opened a “New Workflow” and selected 2013, then opened my original 2013 workflow. It had fixed itself – I believe there is a strange issue with framework compatibility, so beware – just because you CAN flip between 2010 and 2013 frameworks, doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.

Bonus Tip: 

Another great timesaving workflow tip, courtesy of the SharePoint community, is a workaround to not being able to automatically kick off a workflow for an entire list of tasks. You simply create a yes/no column, put the list into Edit Data Sheet and change the value by dragging “Excel style” down the entire list. If your workflow is set to automatically kick off when an item changes. Detailed steps can be found here:​

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