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Approvals with an Initial Reviewer

Does anyone have thoughts on how to set up an approval where there is an initial reviewer? 


I would like to set up the following steps:

1. A Form is submitted

2. The response is sent to a general inbox where someone reviews the form and assigns the appropriate approver

     a: The list of approvers could really be anyone in the organization, but if required I could probably maintain an approver list

3. The approval notification is sent to the appropriate approver

4. The approver is able to complete the request and provide comments.

5. The request information is tracked in an Excel doc.


I'm having trouble with #2 though.


I initially just had the approval going to a general inbox, but when the email is forwarded to the appropriate approver, they receive an error that this request is not assigned to you. 


My next step, based on other posts in this forum, was to change the approval to a Send Email with Options, but this doesn't allow comments to be entered.


Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.




Dual Super User III
Dual Super User III

The problem with #2 is that although you can assign an approval to multiple people you can't assign it to a group or a shared mailbox.  So assign the approval in #2 to multiple people and tell them to put the name (or email would be better) of the approver in the comments box.  Then pull the name from the comments when they return the approval and use that to send out the 2nd approval.

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Thanks for a quick response!

I set up the 1st approval and working on the 2nd one based on the comments from the 1st approval.

How do I use the comment in the Assign To field?  These are my only options: (my user profile mail field is the user that submitted the initial form, not the assigned approver)


Flow Approval.PNG




Super User
Super User


I would like to suggest an alternate approach.

  1. When a new form is submitted, create an item in a SharePoint list
    1. The list should include a person or group column to specify an approver as well as other information from the Form.
  2. Use a SharePoint alert or a Flow to notify the individuals who will assign the approver that a new item has been submitted.  If using Flow to send an email, include a link to the new item.
  3. The SharePoint list is updated with approvers name in the person or group column.
  4. Create a Flow that runs when the SharePoint list item is updated.  If the Person or group column is not empty, start an approval - use the email address from the person or roup column as the approver.

Let me know if you need an example.



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Dual Super User III
Dual Super User III

It would be easier if Flow supported Regex expressions.  But this is what I do.

Setup two variables one integer and one string.

calculate the integer variable to be the location of '@' in the comment field. Something like this.



Then use that to build out the email address in the other variable using Split()  The username can be retrieved using a Split of everything up to the '@' like this



last(split(substring(items('Apply_to_each')?['comments'],0,variables('atSign')),' '))

This will get the last word before the '@' in the comment.  Then use the following to append the '@' and the first word after the '@' sign which will be the email domain.



first(split(substring(items('Apply_to_each')?['comments'],variables('atSign'),sub(length(body('Get_mail_tips_for_a_mailbox')?['AutomaticReplies']?['Message']),variables('atSign'))),' '))

The string variable will now have the full email address of the person. Use that to send the 2nd approval.


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