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SharePoint 2010: Custom action that executes custom code

In 2007 it was possible to create a custom action and then link it to some code.

You did this by first declaring your custom action in an elements.xml file (which you would then deploy as part of a feature):

<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
    ControlAssembly="[Fully qualified assembly name]"

In the ControlAssembly and ControlClass attributes you specified your custom assembly and your custom class (a WebControl) that contained your custom code.

Then you created your custom WebControl:

public class MyCustomAction : WebControl 
    protected override void CreateChildControls() 
        // Do some stuff

Using this way we were able able to execute some custom code when someone clicked our custom action.

However, it seems that we cannot use this method in SharePoint 2010 although there are a few workarounds to achieve the same result. Below I will show you a way I used.

To start off with, I created an elements.xml file with the following declaration:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
  <CustomAction Id="ContentTypeRibbonCustomization" RegistrationId="10005" RegistrationType="List" Location="CommandUI.Ribbon.ListView" Sequence="95" Title="Run Custom Code">
        <CommandUIDefinition Location="Ribbon.List.Settings.Controls._children">
          <Button Id="ContentTypeTest.Button" Image16by16="/_layouts/images/LSTPEND.gif" Image32by32="/_layouts/images/centraladmin_configurationwizards_farmconfiguration_32x32.png" Command="ContentTypeCommand" CommandType="General" Description="Runs some custom Code" TemplateAlias="o2" Sequence="95" LabelText="Perform My Action"/>
        <CommandUIHandler Command="ContentTypeCommand" CommandAction="/MyWeb/_layouts/CustomPages/MyCustomApplicationPage.aspx" />

This specifies that my Custom Action will appear on my custom list with TemplateType of 10005 (specified in the RegistrationId attribute) in the list view section.

I then used a Feature to depoy my Custom Action.

All my Custom Action does is to send the user to a custom page that is located in the Layouts folder:


I then created my custom aspx page. Below is the mark up for the page:

<%@ Assembly Name="MyCustomAssembly, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=e246903334b3e97b" %>
<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" Inherits="MyCustomNamespace.MyCustomControl"
    Debug="true" %>

And finally, below is the code behind for the aspx page:

namespace MyCustomNamespace
    public class MyCustomControl: UserControl
        protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e)
            // run some custom code
            // then redirect the user back to the original page

Using this way I was able to link some custom code that would execute in response to someone clicking my custom action.

For everything you need to know about customising the SharePoin Ribbon please go here to Chris O’Brien’s blog post.

After spending a lot of time investigating how to customise the Ribbon to meet the requirements I had I can safely say this is by far the best and most comprehensive blog post I found on the net.

As I said earlier there are other ways you can use to achieve the same objective. You can easily link a custom action to execute some javascript function. I guess one option would be to link it to a javascript function that then invoked some server side code. I havent tried this myself so I cannot say for sure if this approach would work.

If you had a similar issue to the one I had above, I would be interested in hearing what approach you used to resolve it (if different to the approach I used).

  1. Mathieu Diakité
    October 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Hi, your first code works fine on SP2010, you just need to add your WebControls to the safecontrols section of your web.config.

    It can be done by editing your project manifest template, for example:

    <Assembly Location=".dll” DeploymentTarget=”GlobalAssemblyCache” >

    <SafeControl Assembly="$SharePoint.Project.AssemblyFullName$" Namespace="” TypeName=”*” Safe=”True” />

  2. Mathieu Diakité
    October 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Should look Better..

    <Solution xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
        <Assembly Location="OddoAM.WebSite.dll" DeploymentTarget="GlobalAssemblyCache" >
              <SafeControl Assembly="$SharePoint.Project.AssemblyFullName$" Namespace="OddoAM.WebSite.WebControls" TypeName="*" Safe="True" />
              <SafeControl Assembly="$SharePoint.Project.AssemblyFullName$" Namespace="OddoAM.WebSite.WebParts" TypeName="*" Safe="True" />
  3. May 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Mathieu & Jalil,

    Really Thanks to provide this blog and clear understanding.

    But now I have one small query… as Jalil says I have added one custom button on view item page and on the click on that i just want to fire one custom function but don’t want to open any other page or such like popup. just want to fire one custom function.

    Now as Mathieu said in this reply this may possible through above (First Passage) Code. But can mathieu would you please tell me will it open the new aspx page or just execute directly ? and if it execute directly then should i create new class file under that vs2010 project and compile that ? don’t know the process to achieve that if you can help.

  4. October 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Is it possible to create a custom action for a document library so that when you press the “New Document” button some custom code is executed before the default actions of the button? I have a detailed question posted http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-ZA/sharepoint2010programming/thread/1ae408d6-d0d3-487f-87a9-e7874a158570 on the MSDN SharePoint forum.

    I have a OneNote document library that needs to fire off some custom code when a user clicks the “New Document” button. Data is being pulled into a central, dynamic page where this OneNote library sits. If a user wants to add a document then a new site is dynamically created (if one does not already exist) and the user is re-directed to that sub-site. The OneNote file then opens on that sub-site so the user can save the file to that particular library. This way all the dynamic sites and programmatic sites are kept separate. The dynamic sites have no library files. The button is really a call-to-action button for spinning up a real sub-site.


    • jasear
      October 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm


      I am not sure whether it is possible to change the default behaviour of the ‘New Document’ button.

      I read your detailed post where you mentioned you would like to run this custom code before or during the new document is saved.

      Have you considered attaching an ItemAdding event handler to this document library so that when the document is being saved you can run your custom code in there?

  5. January 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Great post! Was hoping you could help me with something. I’m getting an error that it can’t find the assembly MyCustomAssembly. Do I need to build a dll and put it somewhere? Thanks!

    • jasear
      January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Justin,

      MyCustomAssembly was just an example, you need to replace this with your own dll that contains the Class that in turn contains the method you want to execute.

  6. January 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the quick response!! The code code behind of the aspx page needs to reference a dll that has the actual code you want to execute? Is that correct? Also, where does the dll go on the SharePoint server? In the GAC? Thanks for your help!

    • fabgunner
      January 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Justin,

      You can deploy your custom dll either in the bin folder of your Web Application or the GAC.

  7. September 30, 2013 at 10:03 pm

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  8. April 4, 2014 at 11:29 am


    Great post!
    Although I am still having problems to execute custom code from my custom action. I keep getting the error “Unterminated string constant”.
    Any help would be appreciated.

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  11. David Stellini
    September 17, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you!

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  1. November 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm
  2. November 27, 2010 at 12:37 am

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