Approvals column versus custom column
two earlier articles we have looked at the built-in 'Approval
status' column and how it can be used with and without a
workflow in SharePoint document libraries.
Another option is to create a new, custom column for approvals,
and in some cases that is actually necessary.
In this article Peter Kalmström, kalmstrom.com CEO and Systems
Designer, compares these two column options.
When you enable approvals in a list or library and thus
get an automatically added 'Approval Status' column, you
can prevent other users than the author and the approver(s)
from seeing the non-approved document versions. Not until
the document has been approved, will it be visible to all
When you create your own column for approval status, there
is no way to prevent all users from seeing the latest version
of the document, even if it has not been approved.
A drawback of using the built-in approval functionality
is that the approval is not registered as a modification
of the item. This means that the approval is not shown in
the document's version history, so there is no easy way
to see who made the approval.
When you use a custom column for approval status, you can
see in the version history when it was approved and by whom.
The automatically added 'Approval Status' column cannot
be updated with a custom workflow or flow. For that, you
need to use a custom approval status column.
I the SharePoint Flows Tips series, Peter shows
approval flow works with built-in and custom columns.