Azure DevOps Publish and Download Artifacts

For the past couple weeks I’ve been playing a lot with YAML Azure Pipelines. And it’s not as straightforward as I would like I can say. It takes a lot of work to align all tasks, templates, variables and so on.

This post is to talk about one minor thing, but that took me a couple hours to fix. It’s about using the tasks to publish and download artifacts.

I read several blog posts and the Microsoft documentation and all examples are pointing out that I can use the system location $(Build.ArtifactStagingLocation) when doing the publishing during my build phase.

So that’s what I did as you can see in the code below:

And according to these blog posts and documentation I can use the same location to retrieve the artifact during my deployment phase.

So I did the following code to do so:

But this does not work. It keeps saying that it cannot find the file, but checking the logs I could see it was being generated properly.

Below you can see the error message I was getting:

I added a few debug steps to check the location of know system variables to understand what was going on using a powershell script as below:

With that I could see that the location it was looking was not the same as the location where the package was being published.

The $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory) was returning d:\a\1\a but the file was being downloaded to d:\a\1.

With the debugging script above, I could see that this location is the one present at $(Pipeline.Workspace), which was happening automatically.

The Microsoft documentation is very confusing but finally I found one that helped me in pointing to the solution at:

In there is explaining that I can define where I can download the artifacts to with the following task:

Now I can define exactly where I want to download the artifacts to. Please be aware that the download happens automatically to $(Pipeline.Workspace), so if you don’t want you deployment to download the files twice, you need to specify the “download: none” in your steps.


I don’t know if this was a recent change or not, but all blog posts pointing to the same system variable with no mention to this finding that I got seems very strange to me. It would be really good to know if someone out there is having the same problem as me.

Alessandro Moura

Certified BizTalk, Mulesoft, TOGAF and Azure. Integration Specialist. Solutions Architect.

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