Debugging Workflows

.NET Framework 4.6.1 offers several options for debugging running workflows from the development environment. Workflows can be debugged in the designer, in XAML, and in code.

Debugging in the Workflow Designer

Breakpoints can be set on activities in the workflow designer by either highlighting the activity and pressing F9 or by using the activity’s context menu. Execution of the workflow then breaks when the workflow host is run in debug mode. In the following screenshot, workflow execution is paused at a breakpoint. For more information, see Debugging Workflows with the Workflow Designer.

Debugging in XAML

If a workflow has paused at a breakpoint in the designer, the workflow can also be debugged in XAML. To view the point of execution in XAML, select XAML View in the workflow designer when workflow execution is paused. Debugging can be switched back to the designer by re-opening the workflow in the designer from the solution explorer. For more information, see How to: Debug XAML with the Workflow Designer.

Debugging in Code

Code breakpoints can be used in .NET Framework 4.6.1 in the same way that they can be used in other imperative applications. Click the left margin of the code pane to create a code breakpoint, or press F9 to place a breakpoint at the cursor location.

Attaching to a Workflow Process

Workflow debugging also supports using Visual Studio’s infrastructure to attach to a process. This enables the workflow author to debug a workflow running in a different host environment such as Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0.

Remote Debugging

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) remote debugging functions the same as remote debugging for other Visual Studio components. For information on using remote debugging, see How to: Enable Remote Debugging.


If the workflow application targets the x86 architecture and is hosted on a computer running a 64 bit operating system, then remote debugging will not work unless Visual Studio is installed on the remote computer or the target for the workflow application is changed to Any CPU.

Extending the Workflow Debugging Service

The workflow debugger service is now public and can be used to create custom applications such as monitoring, simulation, and debugging in a re-hosted designer. For more information, see the DebuggerService topic.