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SharePoint Designer Erasing If Conditions

After working with SharePoint Designer 2013 for about 3 years (in the context of Project Server Workflows), there are some undeniable issues that every developer should know. This blog covers the issue with missing If conditions.

If Statements Vanish

Note: I have experienced this issue on multiple computers pointing to different environments (both on premises and Online). This issue is not caused by some quirk on my local computer, it is a bug in SharePoint Designer.

This is the most common issue I have come across with SharePoint Designer 2013. When you first create your workflow everything goes smoothly. To give an example, for one client a workflow stage had this If structure in the Transition to stage.

When I created it, I had no issue. I saved and published the workflow and then moved on to my next task.

The next day, when I open SharePoint Designer and the workflow this is what I see instead:

The conditions I had before were erased! So I had to manually put back what I had entered the previous day.

This kind of thing with If statements happens all the time when the condition is not “equals”. Whenever I put an If condition with a comparison of “Not Equals” or “is empty” this is what happens.

Before

After (publishing and re-opening)

To make this even stranger, the published workflow works perfectly on the Project Server instance. If I were to create a project and take it through the workflow everything would function as expected. It seems like the issue is that SharePoint Designer cannot load what it saved.

Suggestions

To start, please verify that you have the latest version of SharePoint Designer. The last update as of writing this was SP1 http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42009.

Next, try to use “equals” conditions instead of the other options wherever possible. For one client, I had this condition after an approval:

That if condition would always get erased. To avoid having to redo this If condition every time I opened the workflow, I changed it to this:

Instead of “Not equals” Approve, I put an “Equals” for each of the other two options. Yes, this is more work at the beginning of the workflow, but it’s better than having to re-enter your work each time you open the workflow.



 
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