One of my team mates was busy creating workflows when he hit a road block. He could not save a brand new SharePoint designer workflow. When trying to publish he got access denied errors.

Quite odd as he had site owner rights. Not wanting to redo the tedious workflow design again (I hope there is a way to save workflows from the workflow dialog via Ctrl-C in vNext) he asked me have a look and lucky for him, it was not too hard to figure out what might be going wrong. In 5 minutes he was up and running.

The solution is pretty simple, as we know all SPD workflows are saved at the root of the web they are created under. These workflows live in a special folder called drum roll… ‘workflows’ – it turns out this object under some scenarios won’t inherit permission from the parent site.

How can one fix that?

·         First open up the site in another instance of SharePoint Designer.

·         Then as the image shows – right click on the workflow object and select ‘Properties’.


·         Once the properties dialog box , click on the ‘Security’ tab and click on the ‘’ link at the bottom. This opens the object using the SharePoint web UI.

·         You should be able to add and remove users. Or simply toggling Inheritance on.



  • Voila, go back to the old SPD Instance and hit Publish!