Approve an Item in a SharePoint 2010 Workflow - dummies

Approve an Item in a SharePoint 2010 Workflow

Approval workflows in SharePoint 2010 can layer additional functions on top of Content Approval, or approval workflows can go it alone. Approval workflow by itself doesn’t affect who can see Draft items, and unlike Content Approval, doesn’t control Item permissions.

Approval workflow does create a task and an e-mail notification for each Approver when the workflow is initiated; for example, it can be useful for getting the attention of people who review documents but who otherwise don’t spend a lot of time in the list/library.

If you’re an Approver on an item, follow these steps to respond to an approval request:

  1. Review the item using the link in the e-mail request or by accessing the item directly in the library.

  2. Enter comments in the Your Comments text box.

  3. Click a button to indicate what you want to do with this item:


    • Click the Approve button to approve the item. If you approve the item and there are no other Approvers, the task is marked Completed and the outcome is Approved. If there are other Approvers, the task is assigned to the next Approver on the list, if any, and the Requestor is notified. The task version history is updated.

    • Click the Reject button to reject it. If you reject the item, the task is marked Completed and the outcome is Rejected.

    • Click the Cancel button to back out of this task.

    • Click the Request Change button to indicate that further edits are needed. The Workflow Task window displays.

      Enter the name of the person whom you want to make the change in the Request Change From text box, a description of your request in the Your Request text box, the task duration (if any) in the Duration for Serial Tasks, and select a time unit from the Duration Units drop-down list, and then click the Send button.

      A new task is created for the person you specified, and your task status is marked Completed.

    • Click the Reassign Task button to ask someone else to approve the item. If you reassign the task, you’re prompted to enter the name of the person to whom it should be reassigned. A new task is created and your task is marked Complete but the status is Delegated.


The Requestor is notified each time the task is updated.

Don’t confuse status with outcome. Status merely indicates whether the workflow task is Active or Complete. Outcome is what tells you whether the item really passed muster and was approved. Whether the item was approved or rejected, the task status is marked as Complete when the last Approver has approved or rejected it. However, the task outcome indicates whether the item was approved or rejected.

You can also respond to an approval request by accessing the items using Site Actions→Site Content and Structure, locating the item in the site hierarchy, and then using the item’s context menu to select an Approval option. Alternatively, you can also edit the task from Outlook or from the SharePoint task list.