Walkthrough SharePoint 2010 Workflow Visualization


SharePoint 2010 is a powerful platform that provides many useful features that help us in our day to day activities. As I was working in one of the projects I came along a challenge of implementing out of the box workflows, so I considered to explore the option of using one of the new features in SharePoint 2010 called Workflow Visualization.

Workflow Visualization in SharePoint 2010 (Using Microsoft Visio 2010)

Workflow Visualization utilizes SharePoint 2010 capabilities with the power of Microsoft Visio 2010 as an authoring tool. To activate this feature you must use the following:

  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 with SharePoint Designer
  • Microsoft Visio 2010 Premium Edition (and activate Visio Services on SharePoint)
  • Silverlight 3.0

Usage Scenario

You can use Microsoft Visio 2010 (Premium Edition) to create all kinds of sequential workflows (state machine workflows are not supported yet), all you have to do is:

1.     Create a New Visio Workflow

  • Launch Visio, and then click on the File tab.
  • Click on the Flowchart Template Category, and then click on Microsoft SharePoint Workflow to start authoring a SharePoint workflow.



2.     Authoring Your Workflow

There are three stencils available for SharePoint Workflow:

  • SharePoint Workflow Actions
  • SharePoint Workflow Conditions
  • SharePoint Workflow Terminators

Use the above to create your own workflow

3.     Validate Your Workflow

The next step is validation your workflow so that we are able to successfully export it  to SharePoint 2010. To validate the workflow, users can click on the Process tab, and click on the Check Diagram button.

In the event that your workflow has issues, an Issues window will pop up, and the shape having the issue will be highlighted.


There are rules that you need to consider during the validation of the workflow, for more info go to:


4.     Exporting Your Workflow to SharePoint Designer 2010

To export, simply go to the Process tab and click Export:

Visio will automatically validate the workflow first to make sure the workflow can be exported and consumed by SharePoint Designer.


You can also import the workflow using SharePoint 2010 designer Import option shown below:


5.     Test Your Workflow using Visualization in SharePoint with Visio Services

To do so, go to the Workflow Summary page, and check the “Show workflow visualization on status page” box (note that the checkbox is only available if the SharePoint server has Visio Services enabled and if Visio Premium 2010 is installed in the same machine as SharePoint Designer 2010):

As a result, the workflow is not only being executed, but users can easily track progress of the workflow through visualization! For example, in the diagram below, there are icons indicating tasks “in progress” or “completed”. People assigned to the tasks are also displayed clearly within the Task shapes:

This is made possible by Visio Services, which enables viewing of Visio Web Drawings on SharePoint without requiring the Visio client to be installed for viewing.

 Additional Information:

This post used the “SharePoint Workflow Authoring in Visio Premium 2010” document as the primary source of information, you can find it under:




Comments (6)

  1. Ahmad Shahin says:

    Hi motionpotion,

    Here are some general guidelines that you need to follow:

    – Create a new Visio Diagram that matches your WF

    – Upload the newly created Visio Diagram to SharePoint (check the article)


    You need to create a custom code that will update the status on the Visio Diagram you created.


    you need to follow some rules related to creating Sequential Workflow on Visio and you can find these rules here (visio.microsoft.com/…/SharePoint-Workflow-Authoring-in-Visio-Premium-2010.aspx)

  2. motionpotion says:

    How to do this visualisation for a pre-existing 2007 custom visual studio 2010 sequential workflow that has been upgraded to SharePoint 2010?

  3. Alexander says:

    Unfortunatelly, Visio is not development tool, it is only the tool for documentation. Good article on this topic: http://www.harepoint.com/…/VisioWorkflows.aspx

    WBR, Alexander

  4. Teena Morais says:

    Thanks for this information. Can you throw some light on SharePoint 2013 three-state workflow? I have just signed up for a free SharePoint site with http://www.cloudappsportal.com.

  5. Yogesh Sharma says:


    My digrame is not properly visible in workflow. could you please assist me in troubleshooting.


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