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Approvals without workflow

SharePoint iconBusiness documents must often be approved by someone else than the author before they are made available to more users.  In a series of Tips articles, Peter Kalmström, kalmstrom.com CEO and Systems Designer, will suggest different ways to handle approvals.

This article describes an approval method that does not use a workflow, but subsequent articles will introduce more advanced options with workflows and flows.
 

Approval setting

SharePoint document libraries has an approval setting, which is disabled by default When it is enabled, each new or changed document must be approved. Only when the document has been approved will it be shown to all users of that library.

When the approval setting is enabled, a new column called 'Approval Status' is created automatically.

Approval permission

In the library settings, you can also decide which permission should be requested by the users who will approve or reject new and changed files. The default setting when approval is required is "Only users who can approve items (and the author of the item) ". We recommend you to keep it that way and give the people who should approve Approvers permission.

Approval libraries

As the approval setting will apply to all documents in the library, it is suitable to have separate libraries for files that need approval and other libraries for files that can be published freely.

Drawback

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 version history, so there is no easy way to see who made the approval.


When you have enabled approvals, you can also use major and minor versions to track document changes.


See also the kalmstrom.com Blog post about SharePoint approvals without a workflow.

When you have enabled approvals, you can use a built-in SharePoint workflow. This is described in the next article.




  


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