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Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflo

Hi everyone, 

 

I am trying to capture the second approver comments in my SharePoint workflow that I "frankensteined" from an existing template (Modify file properties in SharePoint after approval) and can't seem to be able to figure this out. This is what I have: 

  • Start an Approval (Document Owner)
  • Condition - Response is Approve
  • Update file properties (approver response, approver comments)
  • Create an Approval (Second approver) Note: there was no option available to Start an Approval
  • Condition - Response is Approve
  • Update file properties! 

At this point, Second Approver comments, etc. are not available. I know everything works up until I attempt to set up the second approval so I'm sure this is where I messed up but I just don't know how to fix it.

 

Anyone have any ideas?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted
Super User
Super User

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflo

Hi @Ann_DAS, firstly use Start and wait for an approval and Outcome is equal to Approve. The ones you have used are for older versions of the approval flow and almost certainly won't work.

When I do this I have columns for each of the approvers, the approval date and approval comments. So if I have 2 approvers there will be 6 columns to store the approval data.

I then have parallel branching so that the approval goes to each of the approvers at the same time. We then save their outcome, approval date and comments back to the relevant column in the SharePoint list. That way the second approver is not over-writing the approval/rejection from the first approver and we know who has approved or rejected.

Rob
Los Gallardos
If I've answered your question or solved your problem, please mark this question as answered. This helps others who have the same question find a solution quickly via the forum search. If you liked my response, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks.

View solution in original post

10 REPLIES 10
Highlighted
Super User
Super User

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflo

Hi @Ann_DAS, firstly use Start and wait for an approval and Outcome is equal to Approve. The ones you have used are for older versions of the approval flow and almost certainly won't work.

When I do this I have columns for each of the approvers, the approval date and approval comments. So if I have 2 approvers there will be 6 columns to store the approval data.

I then have parallel branching so that the approval goes to each of the approvers at the same time. We then save their outcome, approval date and comments back to the relevant column in the SharePoint list. That way the second approver is not over-writing the approval/rejection from the first approver and we know who has approved or rejected.

Rob
Los Gallardos
If I've answered your question or solved your problem, please mark this question as answered. This helps others who have the same question find a solution quickly via the forum search. If you liked my response, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks.

View solution in original post

Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflo

Thank you. Such a simple, yet effective solution 

Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Hi everyone,

 

This is bad but I accidentally modified 😫 that great workflow and can't seem to get it back. So...if anyone has any ideas on how to retrieve and older version I'm all ears. Meanwhile, I am trying to re-create the flow and i'm back to having issues.

 

Here's the scenario, I'm trying to create a parallel workflow for two approvers:

  • When a file is created or modified
  • Start and wait for an approval
  • If outcome is Approve
  • Update file properties

So here are the issues:

  • If I add the condition Outcome is Approve, it doesn't seem to be available for the second approver. 
  • If I try to Update the file properties, a new step "Apply to each" is added (which wasn't in the previous flow that worked so beautifully)
  • And if I tested it for one approver, it doesn't update the properties

Ideally, I would also like to create a condition right at the beginning that checks for conditions before starting the parallel approval but I can't seem to figure this out either.

 

Obviously I've dug a big hole here that I need help with. Any ideas?

 

Super User
Super User

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Hi again @Ann_DAS, no problem we'll go through an example. Oh, and it's not possible to get back an old version of a flow as versions are not kept.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the way I do it (others may differ) is to have columns for each approval outcome, date and comments. You could also add the approver's name although I haven't in my example.

0-SP-List.png

What we want to achieve is that an approval email goes to each approver in parallel:

1-Approval-Emails.png

And then each approval updates the SharePoint list:

2-SP-List-Result.png

So the flow starts with a Sharepoint When a file is created (properties only) trigger. You don't want the when a file is created or modified... trigger because that would get you into an infinite loop where everytime the approvers approved it, it would be modified so would trigger another approval. There are ways round it by adding "control" columns  that look perhaps at the item's status, but that's getting more complicated.

The first action is then to get the item that has just been created and select ID from the dynamic content. If you leave out the Get item then flow will run against all the items in the document library which we don't want.

3-Trigger-Get.png

You mentioned conditions before the approval is started, so I've added one that looks for the word Migration in the name of the file. If it doesn't contain that word then no further actions will be taken.

4-Condition-Red-Channel.png

But as the document we uploaded does contain the word Migration in the name then we need an action before starting the approval so that we can use a parallel branch. So I've just added a Compose action to get today's date in my local format. We can then add a Start and wait for an approval. And then in the + above it, add a parallel action and add another Start and wait for an approval.

5-Compose-Start.png

 I've added myself as the approver in both branches but of course you'll have a different person in each.

We then add a SharePoint Update file properties action in each branch, selecting the ID from the When a file is created... section of the dynamic content. We also add from the dynamic content Outcome (which will either be Approve or Reject), Completion date (the date the approver completed it) and Responses comments (the comments they added in the email). Make sure you select it from the correct start and wait for an approval section in the dynamic content. If you just had the Outcome and Completion date it wouldn't wrap itself in an Apply to each. But as soon as you select Responses comments it will. And you then need to add it again in the relevant approval comments field as for some reason it deletes it when it creates the apply to each. Don't worry about the apply to each, there is only one item being updated, that's just the way it works.

6-Apply-Update.png

You'll need to have some sort of process if the decision is to reject. Most likely this would be another condition after the Update file properties that would be If Outcome is equal to Reject then send an email to the person who uploaded the document asking them to make changes and upload again. The file could then perhaps be moved into another folder.

Rob
Los Gallardos
If I've answered your question or solved your problem, please mark this question as answered. This helps others who have the same question find a solution quickly via the forum search. If you liked my response, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks.

Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Hi Rob,

 

Thanks for the help; I really appreciate the instructions and the explanations. I started building a new flow based on your response and have run into an issue with the Compose function. As soon as I try to enter it, I get a message stating the expression is invalid. Is there something else I can use?

 

 

Super User
Super User

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

What expression are you using?

Rob
Los Gallardos

Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Sorry - I was following your example and attempted to add a Format DateTime

Super User
Super User

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

The expression I used was:

formatDateTime(utcNow(),'dd/MM/yyyy')
Rob
Los Gallardos
Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Hi Rob,

 

Thanks again. I've made the changes and am trying to test it but it keeps timing out. If I ever get it past that first step, I'll let you know how it turned out.

Ann_DAS
Level: Powered On

Re: Unable to capture second approver comments in SharePoint approver workflow part 2

Hi,

I finally managed to get this built according to your example but I just can't get it to run. (I checked the document out and checked it back in to get a new version)  Any ideas why?  Here's what I did:

1. Set the trigger and get item

2. Added the condition (I only want this flow to run when these two conditions are present)

3. Set the parallel approval and then updated the file properties

Flow step 1.png

 

 

 

 

 
 

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