How to solve the most common issues on SharePoint Designer

If you work with SharePoint at this point you’ve probably realized that SharePoint Designer is one of your best allies but still is a bit temperamental and sometimes it just refuses to work properly.

In this article, I’ll cover the most common issues and how to fix them.

Fix SPD issues

Unable to open a site

…the version of Microsoft Foundation on the server is more recent than the version of SharePoint Designer you are using…

Usually when SharePoint Designer (SPD) is not able to open a site it displays a message telling you that the site is not compatible with the version that you have installed.

If you are using SharePoint Designer 2010 you will see this message in all the most recent versions of SharePoint including SharePoint Online.

Microsoft didn’t release a new version of SharePoint Designer with the SharePoint 2016 however SPD 2013 can work with all SharePoint versions.

So why this message still happens if my version is supported?

This is a common problem with SharePoint online and Office 365, like all other Office apps SPD has the option to sign in with a live or corporate account and this will save some of your settings.

SharePoint Designer

If you are using your corporate account in SPD and a different live account on Windows is possible that after installing a Windows update your corporate account on SPD will be replaced by the Windows account.

This message will be also displayed if you manually switch accounts.

To continue to open your SharePoint online site do the following:

  1. On SPD go to File Account
  2. Click on Switch Account
  3. Sign in with your corporate account
  4. Open your SharePoint site

Unable to check in file

…the file is no longer checked out…

This is another common issue and it is caused by the settings that are save in the SPD cache. Unfortunately, this issue only goes way after cleaning SPD cache and this procedure will wipe all your sites history.

How to clear SPD cache

  1. Make sure SPD is closed
  2. On your keyboard press + R
    Open SPD folder
  3. Paste the path bellow in the text box
  4. %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WebsiteCache

  5. Delete everything in the folder
  6. On your keyboard press + R again
  7. Paste the path bellow in the text box
  8. %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Web Server Extensions\Cache

  9. Delete everything in the folder
  10. Open SharePoint Designer
  11. Go to File Options General
    SPD Options
  12. Click on Application Options
  13. On the General tab uncheck Cache site data across SharePoint Designer sessions
    SPD cache

After clearing the cache, you will be able to check in your file using SPD.

Unable to see list and libraries on SPD

This happens because you have a corrupted list in your site or because you have a list that was deployed by a feature that no longer exist.

Open SPD Lists

To fix this you will need to delete the corrupted list, if you don’t know what is the list causing the list you will need to open the lists in your site one by one until you find the typical error message Something went wrong.

After deleting all faulty list instances refresh your SPD.

I hope this can help you with SPD, if you have any suggestion to add to this list feel free to add it in the comment section.


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Web developer focused on SharePoint branding, blogger, tech enthusiast. Traveling and sports are my addictions, knowledge and success are my daily motivations.