SharePoint 2016 Administration - How To Configure SharePoint Designer Settings Using PowerShell

SharePoint Designer being a very powerful tool, can be used to perform many operations inside the SharePoint Environment, creating Workflows, External Content Types, Master Pages & Page Layouts Branding, to name a few of them.

Since Microsoft already announced that there will be no new version of SharePoint Designer to be released for SharePoint 2016 and the existing SharePoint Designer would be fully functional with it, it becomes even more important to understand the governance around this excellent tool.

Being a tool with reputation to perform so many actions, it is of the utmost importance to work around proper governance plans on a  Web Application basis to control this little beast.

In this article, we will be going to walk through the steps and PowerShell scripts involved in configuring SharePoint Designer settings.

Before we start configuring the settings for SPD, let's see what will happen, if these settings are not enabled on Web Application Level

Search for SharePoint Designer and Launch it.


Now, try opening any site, using SharePoint Designer and boom.

Got an error: Access Denied!


This is due to the fact that SPD usage permission has been revoked already. We would be looking at an obvious SharePoint error, which says access denied even if the user has full access to the Site itself. This is because of the fact that SharePoint manages the permissions for SPD and sites separately.

Now, in order to enable permissions for SPD, we can go along with the steps given below.

  • Launch Central Administration Site.
  • Click General Application Settings.

  • Click Configure SharePoint Designer Settings link under SharePoint Designer section.


Select Web Application for which you want to enable SharePoint Designer settings.

In the screenshot given below, we can see there are four properties, which needs to be configured to get SPD up and running.

Since we are looking to automate SharePoint Configurations using PowerShell, we will configure it by PowerShell only.

Since this article is about implementing automation for SharePoint configurations using PowerShell, we will go along with PowerShell only.

PowerShell Commands

  • Get Web Application Object, which you want to enable with SPD usage.

    $webAppObj = Get-SPWebApplication -Identity http://sp-2016-dev
  • Set AllowDesigner, AllowRevertFromTemplate, AllowMasterPageEditing, ShowURLStructure properties to true, if you want all SPD features to be enabled for the Web Application.

    1. $webAppObj.AllowDesigner = $true  
    2. $webAppObj.AllowRevertFromTemplate = $true  
    3. $webAppObj.AllowMasterPageEditing = $true  
    4. $webAppObj.ShowURLStructure = $true  
  • After setting the required properties, don’t forget to call Web Application Update Method to save the changes back to the database.



  • Launch SharePoint 2016 Management Shell.
  • Run the commands given above.


Once the commands are executed, we can go back to SharePoint Designer Settings page to verify the changes to the properties.

Now, try connecting to the site again.


Since the permissions have been enabled to the Web Application for SPD Access, you are able to connect to the site with the Web Application, as shown below.



Hope, you found it helpful.