Create a document approval workflow in SharePoint 2013

This SharePoint workflow tutorial, we will discuss how to create a document approval workflow in SharePoint 2013/2016 or SharePoint Online by using out of box feature using the browser itself.

Here I have a SharePoint document library and I want when a user uploads a document to the document library, it will go for approval and once the document got approved then the document should appear in the document library. If the approval got rejected then it should not show the document in the SharePoint document library.

Create a document approval workflow in SharePoint 2013

We will use here the default our of box approval workflow which is presented in SharePoint 2013. If you are not able to see all the default workflows when trying to add a workflow in the browser then check out an article on Not able to see all out of box workflows in SharePoint 2013 Online Sites.

First, create a document library using the standard document library app template. Here my document library name is “MyTestDocLib”.

Then in the next step, we will enable the content approval for the library. For this Open your library got to the library settings. In the Settings page, click on Versioning settings under General Settings.

In the Versioning Settings page, Select Yes radio button in the Content Approval section. Then in the Document Version History section select radio button “Create major and minor (draft) versions”. Then in the Draft, Item Security section select the radio button “Only users who can approve items (and the author of the item)”. Then click OK as shown in the fig below:

create a document approval workflow in sharepoint 2013

After this open the document library to create the document approval workflow. Then From the Ribbon click on the LIBRARY tab and then go to the Settings section on the right side, then Click on Workflow Settings -> Add a Workflow.

create document approval workflow sharepoint

This will open the Add a Workflow page. Here Select the workflow template as Approval – SharePoint 2010. Then give a unique name for the Workflow. Then select your Task List, Workflow History list. Then in the Start Options, choose the options on which you want the workflow to be started.

Here select “Start this workflow to approve publishing a major version of an item” radio button. To allow users to manually approve an item I have selected this radio button also “Allow this workflow to be manually started by an authenticated user with Edit Item permissions”. See the fig how it looks.

how to create document approval workflow in sharepoint 2016

Then click on Next. Then on the next screen, it will allow you to assign Approvers, Due date for a task, comments for approvers, etc. So in the next screen customize something like below:

You can put the approver and also you can put some comments on the approver. Make sure you checked the checkbox “End on first rejection”, so that when the item goes rejected it will end there. Then click on Save.

how to create a document approval workflow in sharepoint 2013

Now the workflow is successfully attached to the document library. You should be able to see like below:

create document approval workflow in sharepoint

Now let us go to the Document library and upload a document to it. The item will be available to the creator and the person who has permissions to manage lists and libraries can see it. For other users, the item will not be available.

When a user uploads a document, an email will be triggered to the person you have configured in the workflow. When a user opens the email, S/He can open the task by clicking on the task title or from the Open this Task button from the Ribbon in the email.

Due to some constraints, I will not able to show you the email, here I am directly opening that task. When you open the task, you will be able to see a screen like below, where you can Approve, Reject, Cancel, etc.

create approval workflow in sharepoint

Once you approve the document will appear for everyone who has read access to see the SharePoint 2013 document library.

You may like following SharePoint workflow tutorials:

This tutorial, we learned how to create a document approval workflow in SharePoint using SharePoint out of box features.

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Bijay Kumar

I am Bijay from Odisha, India. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies in Bangalore, India. I am Microsoft Office Servers and Services (SharePoint) MVP (5 times). I works in SharePoint 2016/2013/2010, SharePoint Online Office 365 etc. Check out My MVP Profile.. I also run popular SharePoint web site SharePointSky.com

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