Some people could until death stick to the opinion that SharePoint Designer is the work of some dark destructive power and that if you even consider using it ever, you are too. The cute nickname SharePoint Destroyer, is it well deserved or is it just a cool sounding name?
But, if we think about it, is SharePoint Designer really that bad? I would compare the discussion to the one about Folders vs. Metadata, it brings a lot of heat and not a lot of people are neutral. You love or you hate, intensely.
So, if we look at the product from an objective point of view, what is it good for and why would we need to nuke SPD into orbit?

I would like to start with listing the pros

  • SharePoint Designer is the only way that you can change the url of an existing Document Library or list.
  • SharePoint Designer is a very convenient tool for capturing the content of masterpages and pagelayouts.
  • In Office 365/SharePoint online, SharePoint Designer is sometimes the only tool you can use. I once deployed a faulty solution that pointed to a masterpage that did not exist. The entire site was unavailable but for SPD. Using SPD I could change the name of an existing master and regain access.
  • Creating workflows, it's eaaasy with SPD!
  • Its a great way to do ad hoc and rapid development, on a development machine. You can always package the final product to put into production.
  • Ever tried creating BCS External Content Types (ECTs) without SPD?


Then, in my experience the larger list, perhaps because the trashers have louder voices. The Cons

  • A lot of changes made using SharePoint Designer can't be backed up or moved.
  • SharePoint Designer makes it too easy for users to edit everything...
  • SharePoint Designer will store content in the filesystem, making it unghosted and unavailable for backup and not really optimal in a load balanced Web server farm.


Additional comments

In reality, using SharePoint Designer is sometimes a conscious choice and sometimes it is a nessecity, there are actually people who aren't developers, there are people whos lifes don't consist of 100% SharePoint. If these people can use SPD and get a better experience out of SharePoint, is it still wrong? If the only choice you have if you want to spice up your sites is SPD, should you keep it all default then?


Use SharePoint Designer if it feels right, but perhaps you should always find out a few facts before you do?
What are the risks?
Is it the best tool for the situation?
Can I use something better?

This article was inspired by the article on Folders created by  -

Please note

Also check out the SharePoint 2010 Best Practices Overview page at