Moving SharePoint Designer Workflows

So I decided to make the move and promote my site to a site collection because they were getting a little big and put that site collection on it’s own content database. I used purchased 3rd party tools, so don’t ask me how I did that. šŸ˜‰ Anyway, I had these nicely developed Sharepoint Designer workflows that I have in the mix and I definitely don’t want to recreate them and I don’t want to lose them. How about moving them? Can I do that? I did some research and I’ll post how I did that successfully here.

(It’s been awhile huh?)

First, go to the site you have the workflows on. The source site if you will. From here, Click Site Actions -> Edit in SharePoint Designer.

From there Click the “All Files” in the Navigation, then click “Workflows”


Right-Click the workflow you would like to copy. And go to “Copy”


Don’t close SharePoint Designer. Go to your destination site (wherever you want to move these puppies to). Go to Site Actions -> Edit in SharePoint Designer.

Go to All Files -> Workflows (**If you don’t have “Workflows” available to you, you can make a quick SharePoint Designer workflow on a random list and publish it, then restart SharePoint Designer.)

Right Click and choose “Paste”. The workflows should be there, but they are not associated with the list that you want since SharePoint recognizes and attaches workflows to Lists and Libraries using their ListID. We can change that through the .xoml.wfconfig.xml

In SharePoint Designer, go to “Lists and Libraries” in the navigation, then select the list or library you want to associate the workflow with. This should bring up the List/Library settings.


The ListID is what you are looking for. Copy this. Ignore the brackets, Mine will be:


Now let’s go back to the workflow you copied over earlier. Click the “All Files” again in the navigation, then click “Workflows”, then click the workflow name. This should bring you to the files associated to that workflow.
Right-Click the .xoml.wfconfig.xml and select Open With -> SharePoint Designer (Open as XML). This is what you get.


The highlighted part is what you are pasting that ListID to. Delete the ListID, and paste the ListID you copied earlier here. Save the file and close down out of SharePoint Designer completely. Then start SharePoint Designer back up and you should see the Workflow available in the “Workflows” section in the navigation. Open the workflow up and hit Publish to publish it to the destination site. You should be good to go from there! Enjoy!


12 thoughts on “Moving SharePoint Designer Workflows

    • I did try doing this with the content type but when I open try to edit the workflow in SPD, all my promoted fields are missing (they all just say “field”). Isnt that because each field has a GUID associated with it from the other server (or public key?). Is there a remedy???

  1. Hello Mike,
    you’re doing an awesome job here. I have a project on SharePoint 2013 and need some advices related to a problem with my workflows. They’re actually not sending mails but alerts are working…

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