How to fix: Custom List Forms will not insert or show up on the Design surface of SharePoint Designer


When attempting to insert a custom list form in SharePoint Designer the form never displays in design view. There is no error message, and the form never gets inserted into the page.


There may be multiple causes. Thus far, we’ve identified that it can occur because of a failed SP1 install for MOSS. If you take a look at the Netmon traffic and compare it to a healthy server all you’ll notice it is missing SOAP calls. Note: The other thing that is odd about this issue is that all SPD users will experience it.


Method 1 – Fix the failed upgrade.

You’ll need to reinstall SP1 using our recommendations:

Method 2 – Clean up the user profile.

You’ll need to clean up the user profile using these steps:

  1. Close SharePoint Designer 2007.
  2. Clear your Internet Explorer’s temporary Internet cache.
  3. Open My Computer and go to %System Drive%\Documents and Settings\%user%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\WebSiteCache (If you are running Vista, that path is different – look for %System Drive%\Users\%user%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WebSiteCache).
  4. Go to a directory that looks similar to the name of the website you were connecting to.
  5. Delete the assembly with the name of your SharePoint Site.
  6. Type %temp% at a run prompt and delete all the temp files in there.
  7. Delete the contents of: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Web Server Extensions\Cache.

Comments (29)

  1. Randy Kliewer says:


    Great info.  I did check w/ our server folks and they have installed SP1, and I did your method 2.  I was still having the issue, and then decided to go about it methodically.  It appears I could get my custom form to render fine until I added a Person (AD) field. It then stopped w/ the behavior described above.  As soon as I dropped the Person field, it rendered fine again.  I have not tried all field types, but wanted to let you know.


    Randy Kliewer (Dell)

  2. Bonnie White says:

    I have found that opening the site in Designer with the machine name (http://servername) instead of the dns name (http://myfriendlyurl) fixes the issue.

  3. emeshuris says:


    I have site with several lists.

    I created this site prior to SP1, complete with all of the great workarounds, headaches and heartaches to create the custom forms.

    Now when I open any of these forms, I get:

    "The server returned a non-specific error when trying to get data from the data source. Check the format and content of your query and try again. If the problem persists, contact the server administrator."

    But the forms work. So, since this is something that might not be fixable until SP10 or later, well I decided to create all new forms.

    Now when I try to insert a custom list form for the list I need, nothing happens, no error (thank you) no status bar status (thank you), nothing in the sharepoint logs, nothing anywhere.

    However when I try to do the same for any of the other lists in the site, it works great.

    Is there a log file for sharepoint designer? If so, can you provide the location of it?


  4. shekhar says:

    hi all,

           i have created a custom list in my sharepoint site .I have saved the NewForm.aspx to NewForm2.aspx .Then i followed the following steps

    1.Delete the default List Form Web Part from the page.

    2.Go Insert > SharePoint Controls > Custom List Form.

    3.In the List or Document Library Form dialog, select the appropriate list, content type and type of form.

    4.Click OK and a new Data Form Web Part is not added , no error on the page also there is no error in

      the log files.

    Please help me to resolve this issue

  5. I had exactly the same issue. With me it got resolved by opening the site as "" instead of "https://sharepoint".

  6. Jason Griffith says:

    I had this issue for the first time in SP designer, but after having done this successfully a few weeks ago.

    While we do have SP1 I don’t believe the install failed in any way. As with some comments above I found that I was using a forwarded domain name instead of the server name to load the site. When using the server name the SOAP calls worked fine and the list form was inserted.

    People may want to try this before trying the above steps.

  7. msk says:


    I am a newbie to MOSS 2007, I have the same issue, followed all the suggested tips

    * installed SP1 for the Designer

    * cleaned all the temp folders

    * opened the site like http://servername:portnumber/Websitename

    sill I could not change/add new custom list form fields – not getting any error… but nothing has changed

    note:  I have installed SP designer in one of my client machine (Win XP) and Sharepoint server in a Server (Win 2003 server).

    Please help me

  8. msk says:

    sorry its working fine ..I guess the problem with my DNS settings… it did not work when I opened the site [in the designer] using IP address but working fine when I opened using the machine name now I could add custom list  form

  9. David Ammann says:

    I have the same problem when a Person (AD) field is present in the form. Does anyone have a solution?

  10. Andrew says:

    This instructions for reinstalling SP1 are pretty useless. They only describe intial installations, but the installation fails after that, saying it is already installed.

    I’m getting this problem (can’t insert edit form to a sharepoint custom aspx) in SPD. I can’t find any actual useful information about what is causing it, or information in any sort of log file.

  11. David Stewart says:

    How do I stop files being written to the path "C:Documents and SettingsusernameApplication DataMicrosoftWeb Server ExtensionsCache".  

    When viewing SharePoint sites the files that are written to this folder are causing the users to exceed their user profile storage quota and their accounts are being locked out.  Rather than delete the files, I’d prefer to set an option so that these files were never created in the first place.

  12. Tom says:

    The answer is the url you open in Designer. I have a www site and I had the problem when I designated www in the open site location. I simply changed this to open the site without the www and all works great.

  13. Alex Kloss says:

    It worked in reverse for me. I was accessing the site via "http://servername.domain/SiteName" and changing it to "http://servername/SiteName" worked.

  14. Rebecca says:

    We’re having an issue with this also.  The custom list form doesn’t insert if there is a person or group column in the list.  Anyone find out how to fix this?

  15. Jos says:

    Solved this, it seems that it gets confused where one is, or should be. Solved it by putting a webpartzone where I want it, and then Insert Data View form the menu, you need to be positioned within the zone. Does not want to add 2 Data views in one zone though, you’ll need to copy the greek srcibbles (code) to the zone u want

  16. Ed says:

    I have this issue on a regular basis (perhaps weekly) and normally just deleting the appropriate folder in %System Drive%Documents and Settings%user%Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftWebSiteCache  sorts the problem out.

    However, I’ve just upgraded from XP to Windows 7 RC and can’t find the folder (it’s not the same as the Vista one detailed in the article).  Anyone have any ideas where the folder might live?

    This issue is a real annoyance and am I the only one that finds it bizzare that it’s not been fixed yet?!

  17. michmon says:

    @Ed: have you tried looking here: %System Drive%Users%user%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWebSiteCache ?

    I’d love for this issue to get fixed, but we cannot get a consistent repro, nor do we know exactly what the cause is (as there seems to be multiple ones).

  18. Secret Weapon says:

    I have tried all the fixes i could find anywhere. I still can not get it to insert custom forms……. Ihave also reinstalled sharepoint designer the payed copy and still no luck…. Could it be that i use SSL for my intranet. I have tried changing the way i connect into the sharepoint server. i am using WSS 3.0…… ANy luck would be appricated.

  19. Manav says:

    I have experienced the same problem.  Here are the details:

    1. The site being connected to is in the format "http://server:port/site"

    2. The EditForm.aspx does not show only certain custom lists.  Some lists do in fact show up, but others do not.  It appears that a SOAP call is being made, but nothing is getting returned.  So I know it’s not a server issue, or an installation issue.  Investigating why it works for some lists and not others.

    Hope Microsoft is looking into this.

  20. Edward says:

    How annoying is this tool! Most horrible ever? Never a real error, just some generic bs, I spent this weekend recreating a site, all of its workflows, JUST TO ADD 2 FIELDS!

    Yep, you bet I’m going to recommend sharepoint to my clients.

  21. After a week or so lost on this particular error, mine was due to having a self-referencing column, a Lookup on the list that selects a parent item. Removing this solved the problem.

  22. Kevin says:

    I’ve been having problems with this as well.   Was working fine then stopped.  Finally fixed it by using https rather than http to connect to the site – now works fine again.

  23. Mikko says:


    I ran into this post while experiencing the same problem; not being able to add the custom list form on newform.aspx. I managed to troubleshoot the problem into the lookup field that actually is looking up on the very same list the new item is being added to. I deleted this field and was able to insert the custom list again, yay! However, that lookup filed would have been nice to have in the form, so after some poking around I found out that when I recreated the lookup field I was still able to add the custom list form with SPD! Cannot really tell why it had to be deleted and then recreated, but as long as the workaround is as simple, I don’t mind 🙂 Hope this helps out someone.

  24. Kirk says:

    I also had this issue and was able to resolve by changing the string I used to open the site in Designer (similar to Bonnie White above).  My open string was fully qualified – ie: – I changed to http:servername:port and all is well.

  25. Erin says:

    Nothing is working for  me. I first cannot delete the existing list form web part from newform2. I have to use cut.  I then try to insert the custom list form, but nothing happens; no errors either.  I've cleared all files that have been explained above. I tried using http://servername:port/site and http://dnsname/site.  I used to be able to do this without issues. I can't tell you when I started having problems, but I am on SP2.  I'm using Designer on WinXP.

  26. William Kunkel says:

    I too am experiencing this issue. WSS 3.0 SharePoint Designer SP1 (12.0.6535.5002). Cannot insert Custom edit form for a list.

    I too have a few person fields

    1 Person or Group Issue

    2 Currency                     Issue

    3 Choice                     Issue

    4 Lookup                     Issue

    5 Single line of text Issue

    6 Date and Time Issue

    7 Calculated (calculation based on other columns) Issue

    8 Multiple lines of text Issue

    9 Date and Time Issue

    10 Calculated (calculation based on other columns) Issue

    11 Date and Time Issue

    12 Yes/No                     Issue

    13 Person or Group Issue

    14 Date and Time Issue

    15 Person or Group Issue

    16 Yes/No                     Issue

    17 Date and Time Issue

    18 Single line of text Issue

    19 Multiple lines of text Issue

    20 Lookup                     Issue

    21 Lookup                     Issue

    22 Date and Time Issue

    23 Yes/No                     Issue

    24 Person or Group Issue

    25 Choice                     Issue

    26 Choice                     Issue

    27 Lookup                     Issue

    28 Lookup                     Issue

    29 Lookup                     Issue

    30 Date and Time Issue

    31 Choice                     Issue

    32 Choice                     Issue

    33 Person or Group

    34 Person or Group

    Would appreciate knowing if it is the data  types in my columns causing the problem, a hotfix I am missing, a SP I am missing in SP designer.

    People stil having an issue 2 years later is not a good sign. Might be difficult to get an approval to pay for MOSS if it still isn't sorted out.

  27. William Kunkel says:

    Discovered there was SP2 Which brought SPD to 12.0.6535.5002 but still exhibits the same problem. Has there been a determination that it is indeed due list items having a 'Person' column?

  28. tswaters says:

    I encountered this issue — turned out to be a Calculated Column (Date/Time) where an if-statement returned "-" when a certain condition wasn't met.  Removing this column, or setting "-" to be a valid date, made the custom list forms work again.

  29. Alex Menezes says:

    Hey guys,

    I had the same problem I managed to fix it. In my case was a calculated column that was causing the problem. I changed all the calculated columns to have type of SINGLE LINE OF TEXT and the problem was solved.

     I came to this solution when I gave up trying all the suggested methods described on the blog and decided to create a new list. So everytime that I was creating a new field I was checking if the SPD was inserting the custom form until I bump into the calculated columns.