Designing with Purpose: Unleashing the Potential of SharePoint Designer for Your Business

Efficiency and collaboration are key to staying ahead of the curve. SharePoint Designer, a specialized web development tool from Microsoft, offers just that.

Designing with Purpose: Unleashing the Potential of SharePoint Designer for Your Business

Designed to enhance SharePoint's capabilities, it helps businesses tailor their SharePoint sites to meet specific needs, streamlining workflows and boosting productivity. This post delves into why and how to use SharePoint Designer in more detail.

Understanding SharePoint Designer

What is SharePoint Designer?

At its core, SharePoint Designer (SPD) is a free, robust tool for developing and customizing SharePoint applications and sites. It allows users to manipulate the layout and content without deep programming knowledge, making it an ideal choice for businesses looking to enhance their internal collaboration tools without extensive technical overhead.

Key Features:

  • Customized Pages: Quickly modify the look and layout of your SharePoint sites.
  • Data Management: Easy integration with external data sources.
  • Automated Workflows: Create workflows to automate business processes.

Setting Up SharePoint Designer

Getting Started

Before diving into customization, you'll need to set up SharePoint Designer. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

  • Download and Install: Download SharePoint Designer from the official Microsoft website. Make sure to choose the version that corresponds with your SharePoint deployment.
  • Access Your Site: Open SharePoint Designer and connect to the SharePoint site you wish to customize.
  • Familiarize Yourself with the Interface: Spend some time navigating through the menus and options. Understanding where things are will make your job much easier.

Customizing Your SharePoint Site

Enhancing Site Layouts

One of the first steps in customizing your SharePoint site is enhancing the visual layout. Here’s how you can make your site not only functional but also visually appealing:

  • Modify Master Pages and Page Layouts: Change the overall look of your site by altering the master pages. This can define a new visual identity for your platform.
  • Create Rich Content Pages: Use the built-in WYSIWYG editor to design content pages that include text, images, and videos, tailored to your business needs.

Integrating Data

SharePoint Designer excels in its ability to integrate external data. Here are a few tips on how you can leverage this feature:

  • Connect to External Data Sources: Link your SharePoint site to SQL databases, REST APIs, or other online services to pull in necessary data.
  • Create Data-rich Views: Display this data in easy-to-read lists and grids on your SharePoint site.

Automating Workflows

Workflow automation is one of SharePoint Designer’s strongest features. Automating repetitive tasks can save time and reduce errors. Here’s how to set up basic workflows:

  • Define Your Workflow: Start with a clear understanding of the processes you want to automate. Map out each step that the workflow will cover.
  • Use Built-in Actions: SPD offers a variety of pre-programmed actions that you can use to assemble your workflows.
  • Test Thoroughly: Before going live, make sure to test your workflows extensively to avoid any disruptions in your business processes.

Best Practices for Using SharePoint Designer

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Plan Before You Implement: Always have a clear plan before you start making changes to avoid complications.
  • Keep It Simple: Over-complicating your SharePoint site can make it difficult for users to navigate.
  • Focus on User Experience: Design with the end-user in mind. A functional site that’s easy to use will see much higher adoption rates.


  • Over Customize: Adding too many custom features can slow down your site and complicate maintenance.
  • Forget About Mobile Users: Ensure your site is responsive and mobile-friendly.

Advancing Your Skills in SharePoint Designer

Continuous Learning and Improvement

To truly harness the power of SharePoint Designer, continuous learning and improvement are essential. As SharePoint evolves, so do the tools and techniques available in SharePoint Designer. Here are some strategies to keep your skills sharp and your SharePoint sites cutting edge:

Stay Updated

Microsoft frequently updates SharePoint and SharePoint Designer. Keep an eye on these updates to ensure you're using the latest features and security enhancements. Many SharePoint experts share their knowledge online. Reading blogs, participating in forums, and joining discussions can provide new ideas and solutions to common problems.

Expand Your Skills

There are numerous online courses and webinars available that focus specifically on SharePoint and SharePoint Designer. These can range from beginner to advanced levels, helping you to continually advance your skill set. Consider obtaining certifications in SharePoint design and development. These not only deepen your knowledge but also enhance your professional credibility.

Experiment and Innovate

If possible, set up a test or "sandbox" environment where you can experiment with different features without affecting your live site.

Use what you've learned to try new things, such as integrating advanced data analytics into your site or creating more complex workflows to automate business processes.

Collaborate with Peers

Collaborating with other SharePoint users can provide insights and creative solutions that you might not have considered.

As you grow your skills, share your findings and projects with your team or through blogs. Teaching others is a great way to solidify your own knowledge and establish yourself as a SharePoint expert.

Final Words

Embrace the full potential of SharePoint Designer and watch your business operations transform.