New Solution: Implementing a Standard Approval Workflow

160x600_speaker_badge [SUMMIT]This week, I’m doing a new presentation that teaches a new way to implement a standard approval workflow in your organization, with the ability to use it for many different approval processes very easily, with little re-work each time there is a new type of request form to create.

Here’s the abstract:

Creating an Approval Workflow & Interface

Approvals are the most common type of processes that companies use in SharePoint. Getting around in a SharePoint site and understanding how to interact with and trigger workflows can be tricky for end users sometimes. In this session, you will learn about some of the simple ways that approvals can be used in SharePoint, as well as how to create an easy user interface, to make the process as painless as possible for the business users.

In my session, I cover a solution that answers the following requirements:

A standardized approach to all request forms in the organization

– Tasks are assigned to people for approvals.

– Infinite number of types of requests

– Requests are easy to manage

– Approvers can’t edit the original request

– Approvers can see a list of items awaiting their action

– Don’t use InfoPath form library forms


I’m doing this presentation at two different events this week:

If you’d like to come see me in person, I’ll be presenting this at our Birmingham, Alabama SharePoint User Group meeting on Tuesday, 5/10.

Also, there is an awesome virtual event called the Collab365 Summit, that runs from May 10-12th.  I’ll be speaking there.  I’ve pre-recorded my session, so that while my session is playing I’ll be able to chat with the audience the whole time, and answer questions.  This is a free conference that you can attend from the comfort of your own home, and there is going to be an amazing lineup of speakers!  All of the sessions will also be available on-demand later.  Here is the recording:


  • Is this presentation still available?

  • Thank you! This helps a lot.
    Do you have walk-throughs on the details of the lists used in this demo?

  • Hi Laura, great video. I was hoping you had a copy of the workflows or better still a template you could send me. If you don’t ask you don’t get…. I don’t know where to start with the workflows. I’m building ISO 9001,14001 & 18001 solutions here in the UAE based on o365 (sharepoint online).



    • Hi Stephen, no I don’t have any template or anything further that I can hand out other than just the video. I do teach a great, thorough week-long Workflows and Forms class, though.

  • Hi Laura, I know you are not a developer 😉 but how do you prompt the dialog box Save Approve Reject when you click on the Edit icon?

  • Hi Laura. I wish to set up Document Approval Workflows in SP Online, so re-usable workflow sounds ideal. Problem is the organisation does not use Exchange Online, so their real domain is seen as external. Cannot add it as vanity domain. Is it possible to send email from a workflow to external users?

    • Nope. You’d have to get a 3rd party workflow product in order to do that

    • Hi Allan,
      You can get your SharePoint 2013 workflow to reference a Sharepoint 2010 workflow. Create a Sharepoint 2010 workflow that gets the email address from a variable and sends the email. Then every time you want to send an email just call that 2010 workflow from your 2013 workflow. It’s not the neatest solution but it works with SharePoint online.

  • Many thanks, Laura. You have saved me a great deal of time searching.

  • Laura, you are awesome. I am such a follower

  • Mark, many thanks for the advice. It sounds like a good solution. I will give that a try.

  • Hi Laura! Excellent presentation! I’m going through this process right now. I want to make sure that I’m creating the content type correctly. What Parent Content Type did you use for creating the list properly? Many, many, MANY thanks for your help!

  • Hi Laura
    Great solution! Do you know if this will work with a modern ui site?

  • Hi Laura, I’m a little lost on the Task Count column that pulls in the Form Lookup (Count Related) column at 46:55 can you elaborate? And will this solution work on a 2016 On-Premises site?

    • Sorry I can’t elaborate. It’s been years since I built that solution. Yes, it should still work on a 2016 on-premises site. The count related just automatically shows you the number of items that look up to that item from a lookup in another list.

Leave a Reply