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SharePoint Designer Custom Actions

Author by Drew Madelung

User acceptance is very important in a SharePoint solution.  There are features in SharePoint that you can use to provide faster or more effective ways for employees to get their work done.  One such feature are custom actions.  There are 5 different kinds of custom actions available in SharePoint Designer. Each of these actions are configured on either a library or a list using SharePoint Designer.  This feature is also available in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online (Office 365). 

When you access a list or library in designer, the new custom action button is in the the top left section of the ribbon.


Each custom action has the same set actions that it can perform.  A custom action can do 1 of these 3 things:


1.  Navigate to form 


2. Initiate a workflow


3.  Navigate to URL


Custom actions also have an advanced options (that you need to scroll down to see).  List Item Menu custom actions only have 3 advanced options.


  • The Button image URL (16x16) option for List Item Menu custom actions do not appear in SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint online.
  • The Rights mask option is used to display the custom action only to users that have the role that is listed.  This allows the ability to not show actions to people who should not see them.  For example, this can be used to only allow users who have ManageLists permissions the ability to trigger an approval workflow via a custom action.
    • A list of available Rights masks are located here.
  • The Sequence number helps set the order of where it will fall. 
    • For List Item Menu actions you need to go over 1190 to get to the bottom.  Using 2000 should be a safe bet.

The 4 other custom actions have the same 3 advanced option with the addition of 2 more.


  • The Button image URL (32x32) works and will pull a picture from the URL given.  I recommend uploading an image to a library on the same site collection.  The icon needs to be 32x32. 
    • Here is a link to a good set of icons.
  • The Ribbon Location (Tab.Group ID:) option dictates what section of the ribbon the custom action will be displayed. 
    • Here is a link to a blog post that talks about ribbon grouping more in depth.

Examples of custom actions

List Item Menu

A List Item Menu action will display on either the first ellipse (.) drop down on a list or the second ellipse (.) drop down on a preview pane for a document.


Display Form Ribbon

This is displayed on the view properties page for the item/document.


Edit Form Ribbon

This is displayed on the edit properties page for the item/document


New Form Ribbon

This is displayed on the new item page. 


View Ribbon

This is displayed on the Items ribbon when on the list view. This allows you to check an item in the list and start the action.


When can you use custom actions?

  • Adding a link for a print function
  • Link to supporting list that contains related data
  • Start an approval or review workflow
  • Link to a custom edit form that shows more fields for the item
  • Link to an upload or insert item on a related list
  • Start a workflow to create an item

Drew Madelung

Technical Architect