Problems with SharePoint Designer 2013 and Check In Check Out Actions for Current Item

Problem – I want to check out the “Current Item” in my SharePoint Designer 2010 (using SPD2013) workflow, but the “Current Item” property isn’t available to select. I either have a blank list to choose from, or the lists in the root website to choose from. My workflow is associated with a site collection content type.

I had to use the a cached copy for the solution (original article here) so I’m re-printing it here. Following is the text from the original article:

The Requirement:

Create a workflow that will make field updates to a document or page that requires check-in / checkout. This workflow must be able to work on any page or document library in the site collection.

The Solution:

A modification to the .xoml file that tells the workflow to use “this item” regardless of the list.

Disclaimer: If you want to model an out of the box workflow, always copy and modify…it is never a good idea to modify the out of the box global workflows directly.


  1. Set up your workflow with placeholders for your check-in and checkout actions.
  2. Add “Check out item in this list” and “Check in item in this list with Comment” actions to the appropriate steps on your workflow.
    1. Do not select a List. Leave the “this list” as is.
  3. Save your workflow.
  4. Go “All Files”, “Workflows”, click on the workflow name in the window below “All files” so that your workflow displays it’s files in the window on the right side of the screen.
  5. Right click on the .xoml file and click “Open With”, “SharePoint Designer (open as XML)”
  6. Save this file.
  7. Click on “Workflows” and click on the workflow name to open the workflow file as you normally would.
  8. Do not make any changes but click “Save”
  9. When Designer pops up to say that a different version of the .xoml file was saved, and politely asks if you want to replace that file with this one click “No”.
  10. Close Designer and re-open it
  11. Click on “Workflows” and click on your workflow to open and edit it.
  12. Find the step where you checked out and checked in the item.
  13. The action should say “Check out item in Current Item” and “Check in item in Current Item with comment: xxx


I’m not sure why you have to close Designer and re-open it before you can see your changes, maybe it’s just my wonky machine, but I have to follow these steps exactly on order for the change to “take”.


Make sure that you do NOT have “end on change” feature turned on, or your workflow will stop immediately after making the change without checking the document back in.


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