Sunday, November 6, 2011

SharePoint Designer cannot display the item

Recently i developed a workflow in SharePoint Designer 2010 which includes a custom activity in it.

It worked well and suddenly after making some changes to the custom activity code, i got an error "SharePoint Designer cannot display the item" and from then i am unable to open the workflow.

Obviously, its because of code error in Custom Activity. But I cannot directly remove the reference to custom activity since I am unable to open the workflow in designer.

The workaround for this problem which i found is that simply edit the Workflows XOML file and remove the custom activity reference from it. Thats it !

Remember, SPD caches the workflow files. Hence, restart your SharePoint designer and you can open the Workflow in Designer :)


  1. Another workaround that may help (if you have altered the .xoml file and don't want to delete the action you've adjusted)

    Change SharePoint Designer 2010 settings - open Application Options and untick 'Cache site data...'

    1. Corry..I tried that but in my case, the problem was with custom action. So had to delete the action. Thanks for your workaround :)

    2. Can someone please advise how to find this "custom action?"

  2. Same question : what are the "custom actions" ? I think I've only used the regular workflow actions...

  3. Here's what worked for me: I found the xoml file, right-clicked on it, and from the version history went one version back (the current version and the first version back were the same date/time). It fixed it and I had my most current version of the workflow back.

    I'm not sure what caused it, but it works now.