Microsoft SharePoint Designer: Features and Facts
As a product name, Microsoft SharePoint Designer has been able to confuse many regarding its functionalities when they first hear or come to know about it. For many, the connotation of the term "designer" refer to a product that helps in executing branding work or styling of features created in SharePoint. While a part of the meaning is true, however, Microsoft SharePoint Designer offers much more than this.

SharePoint Designers from helps in building rich, comprehensive, reusable and applications that are process-centric on the SharePoint platform to aid in integrating external data. People have been using this unique and interesting feature from the world of SharePoint for non-branding purposes as well such as to create complete solutions for designing a workflow, to create layouts for a page and to develop external content types and many more activities. 

Microsoft SharePoint Designer is a great tool that helps in building applications by designing various composite components like workflows, content types, forms and many more without even writing a code. This has been a great help to the non-technical users who, for developing such items, depend mainly on the programmers and coders.

The user interface that is used in Microsoft SharePoint has been entirely put into Microsoft SharePoint Designer. Thus, it now contains all the significant components such as views, lists, forms, content types, data sources, external content types, workflows, page layouts and master pages.

Workflows are an important part and feature of Microsoft SharePoint. These can be designed at a much faster pace and with many new features such as reusability (making the workflows available for reuse worldwide and can be accessed or associated with any list or library created in the organisation's SharePoint platform); export or transfer a workflow for reuse to be presented or integrated with any other workflow and activate the same in a different location; additional columns can be added to the reusable workflows to make it a part or associate with other libraries or lists; specific content types can be integrated depending on the reusability nature and integration or association with other lists or libraries; a site workflow can be created to be used as a general site-wide process that is related to a site and not a list or a library; editing of workflows that are included within the server of SharePoint; design an approval system or process for the workflows. There are many other features such as impersonation steps, visio integration, workflow visualisations, InfoPath forms, substeps and new workflow actions that are part of SharePoint Designer.

The latest version of SharePoint Designer has also introduced new features in Views and Forms. They are the XSLT List View Web Part and the InfoPath forms. These are far more flexible to use for people who work with data using views and forms to create business solutions.

Usage of data in a business involves integrating data collected from clients every now and then. It is an important process. In the recent version of SharePoint products, data from external content types and processes can be integrated successfully through Microsoft SQL Server, .NET or other web services.

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