SharePoint Designer 2013’s Missing Design View – Still

1 minute read

Here is a question that came in from my blog today.

My company is starting to plan to migrate to SP 2013 and I just found out that the design and split view is not included in SP Designer. This is going to be absolutely devasting for us as this is really the only way we do development. We have so many items created with XSL that I can’t imagine what we are going to do when we migrate. Can you update me on if MS has reconsidered adding that back and if not, where do I go to post my comments and to add my voice to those that are not happy?

Unfortunately, questions about the missing Design View in SharePoint Designer 2013 are fairly commonplace and sadly I have no good news. Those views are gone and as far as I know are not coming back. Any uproar that occurred due to my earlier posts like SharePoint Designer 2013′s Missing Design View – It’s Official fell on deaf ears.

I tend to write my own XSL, and one can certainly continue to do so using SharePoint Designer 2013. The Design View was always inexact, but since it was where we saw any error messages, I find that is why I miss it the most.

Display Templates – which are built of markup and script – are worth looking at, as are frameworks like Knockout or AngularJS. Yes, new things to learn, but more the way Web development is headed.

I also don’t know of anywhere to go to register complaints about this. I find that the MSDN Forums may make you feel better, but are rarely monitored by Microsoft people who can push for changes. Microsoft Connect is supposed to be the place to report bugs and give feedback, but things seem to languish there as well.

None of this is much solace for people who need to maintain existing XSL-based solutions. Bottom line: we all need to learn new tricks and/or rewrite our older XSL-based solutions.



  1. Marc,
    Don’t you know everything is solved in Design Manager ;-) Start with an Html files that knows nothing about SharePoint and end with a Master Page that doesn’t have a clue to what SharePoint does.

    Unless you are a SharePoint Developer and Designer in which case you can apply ugly code snippets to obscure locations. And even then you’ve got to go a long way to build the preview.

    • I often describe Display Templates as the new Classic ASP — just mix your logic and UI together. Additionally, you loose all IDE support the minute you begin a comment block to start writing that code. It’s almost like the SharePoint team couldn’t go out there to see what everyone else was doing before creating their own engine.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the ability gained from display templates. However, there has to be a better way that doesn’t include mixing all of your logic and UI in a single place.

      • Yes, Chris, the editing story with Display Templates is pretty ugly. With everything enclosed in comments, no IDE knows what you are doing. I’m not a Visual Studio guy, and I’ve wondered if even VS knows what’s going on in there. I’m guessing not.


  2. We’ve already looked and found better alternatives – preferred so far is Alfresco – very competent and better results out of the box. You can FEEL the user level community dying out now because they are unable to deliver what MS promised.

  3. Microsoft has screwed the pooch so many times lately it’s a wonder how they stay profitable…. oh wait are they even, we don’t actually know. Some good things they’re doing, but it’s ASTONISHING and EMBARRASSING almost DAILY coming across these “wtf are they thinking” moments. Honestly it’s ridiculous.

  4. Marc, You mention that you’re “not a Visual Studio guy”. What tools would you recommend for a non-developer for form editing and simple stuff like conditional formatting which SPD 2010 did with a just few clicks.

    • Mike:

      You can really use any text editor or IDE you happen to like. By opening a Document Library or mapping a drive to it, you can edit files in place.

      It really depends most on what type of work you are doing, though. If you’re on SharePoint 2013 and working with JavaScript, any good JavaScript IDE will do. If you’re building aspx pages, few IDEs will understand that structure.



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