Content Approval Workflow Options in SharePoint 2010 - dummies

Content Approval Workflow Options in SharePoint 2010

You can select options for how you want the Approval workflow in SharePoint 2010 to work when you associate the workflow with your library. Think of a workflow as a business process that you automate.

Say you have a business process for reviewing and approving real estate contracts. This process may include someone drafting the contract, e-mailing a copy to someone who reviews it and then e-mails it to someone else for approval. The approval workflows in SharePoint 2010 provide all these options so you can automate the routing of the document from the person drafting it to the document’s reviews and approvers.

The following list describes the options available for a approval workflows:

  • Approvers (Assign To): Individuals and groups to whom the Approval tasks will be assigned. If you have multiple Approvers, you can also specify the order in which they’re assigned the item. The Approval status doesn’t change from Pending to Approved until all Approvers have approved the item.

    Unless you have the Cancel on Rejection option enabled, if an Approver rejects an item, the approval continues to the next Approver and isn’t cancelled as you might expect.

  • Approvers (Order): Specifies whether the Approvers will be assigned the Approval tasks all at once or whether when one person approves, the next person is assigned the task, and so on.

    Go with the standard — arrange Approvers in ascending order of importance so you don’t bother the director until the managers have approved.

  • Add a New Stage: Allows you to add a stage to the approval process. Don’t get carried away here because you have to manage all those stages.

  • Expand Groups: If selected, assigns an Approval task to each individual in each Approver group, rather than assigning a single task to the entire group. If you’ve also specified an order, all Approvers in the expanded group are treated as one Approver, and they’re assigned the approval when the group is.

  • Notification Message: The message that’s sent to each member of each Approval group. All Approvers get the same notification message.

  • Due Date for All Tasks: A date by which all tasks not completed are considered overdue; this overrides the Duration for Serial Tasks/Duration Units values.

  • Duration for Serial Tasks: A number which, with the Duration Units field, determines how long each serial task can be active before being marked Overdue.

  • Duration Units: With the Duration for Serial Tasks option, determines how long a serial task can be active before being marked Overdue.

  • CC: Notifies specified people when the workflow is started but doesn’t assign tasks to them (unless they’re also in the Approvers group).

  • Cancel on Rejection: Cancels the entire workflow if one Approver marks the item rejected. The item moves to Rejected status, and the item author is notified.

    In any case, if Cancel on Rejection is selected, when one Approver rejects the item, this halts the Approval workflow for this round, until the item is resubmitted. List the tougher critics as earlier Approvers to reduce the number of times you have to request approval from someone who’s already given it.

  • Cancel on Change: Cancels the workflow if the item is changed while the workflow is running.

    If you work in a regulated industry and are requesting approval of regulated items, enable this option.

  • Enable Content Approval: For the most reliable results, configure your Approval workflow before turning on Content Approval.

Need more options? You can create your own workflows or customize the approval workflows provided by SharePoint using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010.