Adding Intellisense for SharePoint 2010 Custom Workflow .Actions File

    This post will show you how to add inteliisense support for custom workflow .actions files in SharePoint 2010.  During the course of some research for my writing I found out that the SharePoint 2010 SDK doesn’t include intellisense for the .actions files (at least as of the August 2010 release).  As the schema can be a bit difficult to remember off I searched the interwebs to see if anyone had implemented this already.  As luck would have it I was able to find this blog post that included an XSD file, but no instructions on how to install it.  That’s where I’ll help you fill in the gaps.


  1. Download schema file
  2. Rename schema file from .xml to .xsd
  3. Copy schema file to Visual Studio directory
  4. Update SharePoint catalog files

    First thing to do is download the wssactions.xml file from this location and rename it to wssactions.xsd.  Copy the file to your Visual Studio 2010 XML templates folder which is typically something like “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0XMLSchemas”.  Next open the SharePoint catalog files (WssSchemaCatalog64.xml and WssSchemaCatalog.xml) and insert the below child element into the SchemaCatalog element for both.

<Association extension=”actions” schema=”%InstallRoot%/xml/schemas/wssactions.xsd” />

    Once you have completed this you’re all set to go.  No need to even re-launch Visual Studio 2010.  Create a new .xml file named <some_name>.actions.  You should be able to begin receiving intellisense for your workflow action definition file.


    In just a few short minutes you too can have intellisense for your SharePoint 2010 custom .actions files.  Special thanks to the author of the blog with the schema file download (I wasn’t able to find out the author’s name).  Also thanks to Dave Kehring for a template for what and where to add to the catalog files.  Hopefully this will help you get up and running SharePoint 2010 custom actions quicker and more effectively.  Enjoy!


      -Frog Out

One thought on “Adding Intellisense for SharePoint 2010 Custom Workflow .Actions File

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s