17 October 2017

SharePoint Approvals with Built-In Workflow

SharePoint iconLast week I described how approvals can be handled in SharePoint libraries without using a workflow. To achieve that, I enabled features that are already there, and today I will continue down the same path. In a new article in the Tips section, I show how to activate and use the built-in Approvals workflow.

 When you just enable the Approvals column and don't use a workflow, the people who should approve must go into the library to see and approve or reject the new or changed item. A workflow can make the process easier, and the quickest way to add an approvals workflow to a document library is to use the built-in one.

OOTB workflow creates review task
SharePoint only has a few workflows that can be used out of the box, but there is an Approvals workflow to use in document libraries where the Approvals column is enabled. This workflow creates a task for the approver, and from that task the approver can open the file in question and approve or reject it. The approving person can also select to suggest changes and to send the file to another reviewer.

The built-in workflow can create review tasks for several people and at multiple stages. There are several more settings, like due date and what will happen if the file is rejected by someone or is changed when the workflow is still running.

All this sounds just fine, but there are some drawbacks. It is not possible to specify workflow conditions, for example that the workflow will only run for a specific file type, and users who can start the workflow manually can also change the workflow settings. Another problem is that you cannot see who has approved the file without opening the workflow page. Tips
My Tips article about SharePoint approvals with a built-in workflow contains the demo above and also a demo that shows how to remove the workflow from the document library.

In my next blog post about SharePoint approvals, I will compare the built-in Approvals column with a custom column. Both have their specific advantages and disadvantages, so it is important reading!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

12 October 2017

SharePoint Approvals without Workflows

SharePoint iconSharePoint document libraries are good for storing and sharing company files, but often new or changed documents should be approved before they are displayed to all users. The approval process can be configured and managed in many different ways, and I have begun introducing some of them in my SharePoint Workflow series.

Gone are the days when you printed your document and walked over to the boss or manager to have it approved before you printed and distributed more copies. Nowadays SharePoint has given us more efficient methods for approvals and distribution, but I have not found a built-in method that is perfect for everyone.

I plan to publish several articles on how a workflow or flow can streamline approval processes, but I have started with a description on how approvals of documents in SharePoint libraries can be managed without a workflow. It is important to know, to fully understand the subsequent articles.

The Tips article contains two demos, and you can also see them here below. In the first demo, I create a new SharePoint document library for files that should be approved and change the default setting so that approvals are required before publishing to all users.

In the second demo, I show what happens if you also enable major and minor versions in the library settings.

In my next Tips article, I will describe how you can manage approvals using one of the few existing built-in SharePoint workflows.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions