Build and test runbooks


This version of Orchestrator has reached the end of support. We recommend you to upgrade to Orchestrator 2022.

The Runbook Designer is the tool that you use to create, manage, and run runbooks. You can also run runbooks and view their status in the Orchestration Console.

To build a runbook, you drag activities onto the workspace. Activities are the building blocks of runbooks. In general, individual activities perform three actions:

  • Access published data

  • Perform some action

  • Publish new data

For more information about the types of activities, see Control runbook activities.

Runbook Designer Panes

The Runbook Designer interface is organized into the following four panes.

Pane Description
Connections The folder structure where you can organize workflows in the Orchestrator system and edit permissions on folders. Also provides access to Runbook Servers and Global Settings.
Runbook Designer workspace The workspace where you build Orchestrator runbooks. The runbooks in the folder selection in the Connections pane are listed as tabs across the top of the workspace. When you select a tab in a runbook, it's displayed in the Runbook Designer workspace.
Activities Contains all the activities available (either standard activities or activities available from integration packs) for use in runbooks. You drag activities from the Activities pane into the Design workspace, and then link them together to form runbooks.
Log Logs showing the activity and history for the current runbook. For more information, see Orchestrator Logs.

Sorting activities by activity name and category name

Orchestrator lets you sort activities alphabetically by activity name or by category name. By default, activities are sorted by category, such as Runbook Control, Email, File Management, Monitoring, Notification, Scheduling, System, Text File Management, and Tools.

Use the following steps to sort activities by their activity name and category name.

Sort activities alphabetically by activity name

  • In the Activities pane, right-click a category name to select All Activities.

    The activities are sorted alphabetically by activity name.

Sort activities alphabetically by category name

  • In the Activities pane, right-click a category name to select Default.

    The activities are sorted alphabetically by category name.

Changing icons

You can change the default size of each activity icon from small to large by right-clicking an activity name and selecting Small or Large.

Start a runbook in the Designer

Follow these steps to start a runbook in the Designer:

  1. In the Connections pane, select the Runbooks folder to see the available runbooks.

  2. In the Design workspace, select a runbook tab.

  3. If the runbook is Checked Out, select the Check In button.

  4. In the Design workspace, right-click the runbook tab and select Run.

  5. In the Start Runbook dialog, go to Available Runbook Server(s) box and select the applicable server.

  6. Select the Arrow button so that the server name is now in the Selected Runbook Servers(s) box.

  7. Select Start.

Stop a job from the Runbook Designer

Follow these steps to stop a job from the Runbook Designer:

  1. Select the Monitor Runbook tab.

  2. On the toolbar, select Stop.

Testing your runbook

After you build a runbook, you can test it before it's run in production. To test, you use the Runbook Tester which you start in the Runbook Designer. The Runbook Tester lets you run the runbook to view the Published Data from each activity. You can run through the entire runbook, step through each activity one at a time, or set breakpoints at certain activities.


Runbook Tester actually performs each activity within the workflow. The steps are not performed in a simulated or virtualized environment. All the connections referenced in the runbook are live and fully functional. So any activities that modify or destroy data in connected systems cause that data to be modified or destroyed. For example, if you use the Query Database activity to DROP TABLE ImportantTable, it actually deletes the ImportantTable from the instance of Microsoft SQL Server.


Note that the account used to start the runbook must have permission on the local computer to run successfully. These permission requirements also apply when testing the runbook with the Runbook Tester. To successfully test your runbook, start the Runbook Designer as Administrator. By association, the Runbook Tester runs as Administrator and uses the higher-level security token.

Test a runbook

Follow these steps to test a runbook:

  1. In the Runbook Designer, open the runbook, and on the menu bar, select Runbook Tester.

  2. If prompted, select Yes to check out the runbook.

  3. To run through the runbook from beginning to end without stopping, select Run to Breakpoint.

    If you want to step through it one activity at a time, select Step.

  4. View the Log pane to see the completion status of each activity. To view the details and Published Data from an activity, select the activity and select Show Details.

Set a breakpoint

Follow these steps to set a breakpoint:

  1. Select the activity on which to set the breakpoint.

  2. Select Toggle Breakpoint.

  3. Select Run to Breakpoint.

    Each activity up to the breakpoint runs. The runbook pauses before running the activity with the breakpoint.

  4. To continue through to the end of the runbook, select Run to Breakpoint again, or to step through it one activity at a time, select Step.

Next steps