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ChrizK
Regular Visitor

How to Automate Approval of a Document (stored in Sharepoint)

Hi,

I am just starting out with Flows (absolute beginner), and so I would appreciate some help.

 

There are templates for Approvals, which illustrates that they are a key requirement.

However, I haven't found a method to request a dynamic list (internal email) of approvers, and to track the Approval Status of a document.

 

The scenario is fairly basic, as a team, we have various documents which need recorded approval for compliance reasons.

Generally, these are MS Word documents, although I assume the method could be the same for any type.

The list of approvers will depend on the document, and the project teams.  In my case, they are expected to be internal/on the company MS Exchange server.

The documents will be stored on Sharepoint (modern/O365).

 

My first thought is to have a visible Approval Status as a document property/field in Sharepoint, initially being "No Status". I would like to trigger a workflow by changing the status to "Requested". By doing this, I would like to be prompted to add a distribution list (email), and for the recipients to receive the Approval Notification. In my case, it would only change the Approval Status to Approved once unanimously accepted (it would be even neater if the named Approver could delegate).

The document should be available to anyone throughout (before and after approval) as per the granted permissions. I guess there would be a need for 're-approval' so that I can change the list, and also a method to prompt those that have not responded.

 

I briefly tried the above, but failed immediately, as there does not appear to be a file property for Approval Status.

NOTE TO MICROSOFT: Given the templates, wouldn't it be a good idea to have this as a default?

 

So, looking at the templates, I spot that Forms can be used.  This instantly had my mind racing.  I could add the following to a form, which would trigger the workflow, collecting the required data from the form ...brilliant!

  • Owner (email)
  • Document name and location
  • Approvers (email)
  • Notes (to be sent as a 'cover letter')

 

Additionally, if workflow accepts it

  • Required by (date)

I think it is fairly obvious what the intention is, to fill in the form, save it, trigger workflow, and wait for my document to be Approved (or otherwise).

Would be great if workflow can also send out reminders if the approvers do not respond, but I doubt there is a method to trigger this(?)

 

Anyway, I look at forms, and see several youtube videos showing doing the same thing over and over again ...sending out a questionnaire 🙄

 

Are there forms that are more business orientated, that integrate with MS Exchange / Teams (allowing me to select valid email recipients)?

Would the idea of using a form in this scenario work?  If not, has someone achieved the scenario using a different method?

 

Thank you in advance of some much needed help.

1 REPLY 1
ChrizK
Regular Visitor

OK, I have been looking around Power Automate, and I am pleased to find that there is an Approval Template which appears to do what I want, other then the trigger (to negate thee need to fill in a template).

Request Approval (everyone must approve) for a selected file

 

This sounds really promising, but I want to automate the trigger.

It is disappointing that there have been no responses so far.  I am coming to the conclusion that Forms are too restrictive (no integration with Teams/Exchange), and using file permissions is going nowhere.

 

My next inspiration is Lists.  I have found that they do allow me to select email addresses, and they can be used as a trigger for a Flow.

 

New Plan >>>> create a list in a Team, headings;

Title, Document Link (Hyperlink), Email (Person or Group), Status (Choice; Not Started, Requested, Re-Request), Message (Multi-Lines)

 

I guess you can tell where I am going with this.

I use a List to identify the Document to be approved, the Approvers list (email), the Message to go in the email, and the Status.

 

The intention would be to trigger the flow when the Status changes to Requested (it would be great to change this to Approved once everyone has done so).

I am hoping the flow will grant file permissions to the Approvers list, send out an email, track the approval, and hopefully update the status.

 

The idea seems fairly simple, and perfect for Power Automate (I understand Flows is the old name).

Can someone tell me if I can achieve this, if it already exists, and/or how I can get started ... or a complete step by step would be even better 😄

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