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Laura Rogers @WonderLaura > Posts > SharePoint Designer - Restore Previous Workflow Version
May 02
SharePoint Designer - Restore Previous Workflow Version

Have you ever published changes in a workflow in SharePoint Designer and wish you hadn't? There is a little known way to go in and restore a previous version of your workflow. This uses the same versioning capability that lists and libraries have. By default, every time you publish changes to a workflow, they are saved as a new version.

This solution applies to all versions of SharePoint 2010, 2007, and SharePoint Online with Office 365.

Here's how to revert to a previous version:

  1. In the left pane of SharePoint Designer, click the little pin icon next to All Files.

  2. Once All Files is expanded, scroll down and expand out your folder called Workflows. Note that if you have not actually created any workflows yet, you will not have this folder. Each workflow will be a "subfolder" under workflows. One weird little thing to point out also is that if you changed the name of any workflow after you created it, that new name will not show here, only the original name of each workflow will show in this list.

  3. The workflow that I want to restore a previous version of is called "Check Audit Month", so I'll expand out that folder. Now I can see all of the files that my workflow is comprised of.

  4. Each of these files has a set of versions. Right click on the XOML file, and choose Version History. I want to get rid of all the changes I made today, and revert back to the 4/12 version which I know worked correctly. I scroll down and click on the most recent 4/12 version. (I've blurred out the domain name I'm working in)

  5. Click Restore.
  6. Right click on the next file, the XOML.rules. Go find that exact same date/time of the file as the one in the previous step, and restore it. Note that the version number may NOT be the same.
  7. Right click the next file, which is xoml.wfconfig.xml. Do the same thing by finding that same date/time that matches the one you restored at step 4. Restore it.
  8. In this case, I don't need to change anything about my InfoPath XSN file, which is the task form as part of tasks that are assigned in the workflow. I'm skipping that one.
  9. Important step after you've restored the old versions… EXIT SharePoint Designer. This is because of a cached version of your workflow needing to be refreshed.
  10. Re-open your site in SharePoint Designer. When you open your workflow in the normal way now (as opposed to the funky way we did in step 2), you will see that good old version that you just restored.
  11. Click Publish. Now your restored workflow is live and in use on the site.

Comments

Sushrut

Thanks for sharing this way! This will be helpful.
 on 5/2/2012 11:01 PM

Tunde

Thank you. Very helpful post. What's the best practice to backup/restore my sharepoint designer workflows, incase of a system crash?
 on 5/2/2012 11:52 PM

Jasper Oosterveld

This is a great article and really helpful! Thanks for this, I learned something new today :-)
 on 5/3/2012 7:25 AM

Erich O'Donnell

I'm assuming you wouldn't want to do this if your previous workflow version still has running workflow instances, correct?
 on 5/3/2012 12:29 PM

Brad Saide

@Erich - This only allows NEW workflows to use the workflow that was republished, and does not affect existing workflows.
 on 5/3/2012 6:19 PM

nfatima

Thanks for sharing a wonderful update. To restore previous  workflow versions must visit dshift.com/sponline
 on 5/7/2012 4:31 AM

Laura

Tunde,
You'd rely on your SharePoint server-level or database level backups for that type of situation.

Erich,
Brad's right.
lauraNo presence information on 5/25/2012 11:55 AM

meena

hi laura,

can you please tell how to restore the infopath forms the same way ? I got an orphaned field in my infopath. because before removing the field from content type i deleted teh site column. now am unable to add any new fields.

thanks,
mee
 on 6/19/2012 7:16 AM

Laura

Meena,
For that, there's a free tool on Codeplex.com called SharePoint Manager.  You'd have to run that on the server, and dig in to (carefully) find those orphaned fields.  Either that, or get someone who knows PowerShell to get rid of them that way.
lauraNo presence information on 6/27/2012 9:10 PM

Shivaji

very Helpful !! Thanks Laura !!
 on 7/6/2012 6:43 AM

Boris

Hi laura,
wonderful ! Thank you for the tip to restart the SPD.

Regards
Boris
 on 10/18/2012 11:39 AM

Dorothy

Hello Laura,

I am new to Sharepoint and i found i dont find "all files" button... you know how can i enable it? And is there anyway to restore my global reusable approval workflow? I've made some modification and published.. :( really want to reset and get the original workflow back...
 on 10/29/2012 10:16 PM

Laura

Dorothy,
In SharePoint Designer 2010, as soon as you open your site, you have a navigation pane down the left side.  All Files is there in that navigation pane. I can't think of why you wouldn't have one.  Do you have full control permission on the site?  Maybe it's permisison related?
lauraNo presence information on 12/10/2012 11:26 AM

Andy

Laura,

I know this is kind of an old article.  I am trying to restore a workflow version and that particular one is missing from the All Files > Workflows folder.  The workflow still shows up under the normal Workflows.  Any idea why that would be gone or how to get it back?
 on 10/30/2013 7:49 PM

Chris

As Andy mentioned above, i am also missing the workflows from "All files" in Sharepoint Designer 2013.
They appear under the "Workflows" site objects however.
Anyone has an idea how to do this in SD 2013?
 on 1/15/2014 1:58 AM

Laura

Andy and Chris,
Sorry, I've never seen that happen.  All I can think is it may be related to permissions.  Make sure you're a site collection admin and see if that makes a difference.
Laura RogersNo presence information on 2/3/2014 2:08 PM

Nik

This is a great tip and would be great, but it doesn't seem to do anything with workflows in SPD2013/O365. I can click on version history all day and nothing happens - no restore window opens - SPD goes about it's business as if that button wasn't eve clicked. Have you run in to that before with SPD?
Thanks!
@NikYsambart
 on 2/26/2014 6:55 AM

Laura

Nik,
No, I haven't run into that, and haven't tried it in 2013, but it wouldn't surprise me if that doesn't work anymore, since 2013 is a completely separate workflow engine.
Laura RogersNo presence information on 4/2/2014 3:43 PM

Richard

I am trying to open a old version of a workflow (SPD2010) but, when I do it doesn't open. Do you know of settings why this cannot be displayed or could you be any help for this issue? I think the version history only exist and the versions are not actually being stored anywhere. Is this the case? if so how do I turn the versioning for the workflows?

Thanks in advance!

 on 5/28/2014 12:10 PM

Laura

Hi Richard,
I'm not sure why that wouldn't work, but one thing you can try would be to clear the SharePoint Designer local cache on your computer.  Here's someone's blog about it http://spandps.com/2010/10/13/clearing-the-sharepoint-designer-2010-cache/  
If you see the list of versions, I'm pretty sure that means versioning is already turned on.  I don't know how you'd edit/fix that default setting.
Laura RogersNo presence information on 5/29/2014 8:44 AM
 

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