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Advocate III
Advocate III

Update document properties without changing approval status and version


I'm working on an approval workflow (two approval stages) which uses the "When a file is created or updated (properties only)" trigger. In the beginning of the flow, I check if the Approval Status is "pending" - because I only want to run the flow when someone has checked in a major version.

I'm almost there, but I'm facing a challenge. During the flow, I update a column for the document, to show where in the flow process we are. Well, turns out that this also automatically changes the Approval Status back to "draft" and upps the minor version number. Well, this obviously makes the final Approval action fail. because that only works when the Approval Status is "waiting", not "draft".


Does anyone know if it's possible to update the document properties without changing the Approval Status and Version? Like SystemUpdate() in C#? I was thinking I could change the Approval Status to "waiting" before changing it to "approve", but this sounds like a really bad idea. It will probably trigger a new instance of the flow (??).


I hope somebody has a straight and great answer/solution for this... 🙂



Community Support
Community Support

Hi @HelgeNorvang,


It seems that you have enabled the Content Approval for the library. As far as I know, once we enabled the Content Approval, there are only three statuses, Approve, Reject and Pending. The approval status won’t change until you approve a document that has been uploaded or added to a library.


From your description, it seems that the approval status will be changed automatically to “draft”. Do you have an approval status of “draft” and how is it changed automatically? Please share more details about this part.


Besides, whenever changes are made on a file, the version will be updated and I assume that it doesn’t relate to Microsoft Flow.


Before you change the approval status to Approve/Reject, it will be Pending. And once you change the status from Pending to Approve/Reject, the flow with the trigger When a file is created or modified (properties only) will be triggered. If you only want to send out an approval email when the status is Approve, please try to add a Condition in the flow.


Please feel free post back if you need more help.


Reference docs:

Require approval of items in a site list or library



Best regards,

Mabel Mao

Community Support Team _ Mabel Mao
If this post helps, then please consider Accept it as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly.



Yes, Content Approval is enabled. I also have major and minor versions enabled. Also, it is not required to check out documents before editing.


So, I just realized that I wasn't precise enough in my description.


As mentioned I have a two stage approval flow. The trigger is, as mentioned "When a file is created or modified (properties only)", but the actual approval process doesn't start unless Moderation Status is equal to 2 (Waiting). 

Before the first approval gets started I update a field in the property documents (text column which indicated where in the flow process we are at all times). I update this field several places in the process. Then I start the first approval. If the result of this is Approve, I start the next approval.

It seems to me that as soon as I update the field, the Moderation Status is changed to Draft, and this results in that it's not possible to set the document to Approve.


When using the action Set content approval status, does it update the Moderation Status field or something else? 

Hi @HelgeNorvang,


Thanks for detailed clarification.


I am afraid that it might be a default behavior for SharePoint that the Approval status would be changed to Pending whenever a change is made on the field.


For your scenario, I would suggest you use a Choice column instead of using the Approval content. You could specify selections of Approve, Reject and Pending for the column, and I assume that the selection won’t be changed when you modify the field.


Action Set content approval status will update the status with specified value, however, once you make changes on the field, the approval status changes to Pending.


Please take a try with it.



Best regards,

Mabel Mao

Community Support Team _ Mabel Mao
If this post helps, then please consider Accept it as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly.


Thanks for the reply.


I have to admit that I didn't exactly understand what you suggested.

Did you mean that if I use a Choice column instead and update the value of it during the flow, the OOTB Approval Status won't change??

@HelgeNorvang , Did you up finding a solution to this problem? I'm considering making a separate "approval history Log list" or database where i create an item everytime the file is modified.  Didn't really want to do that though as writing to a multi line comments field is cleaner...


New Member

I am having the same issue 

I have a Days Left to Approval column calculating the number of days left from today until the review date 

for these days left numbers to decrease daily i need to run a flow on the library to update a column i created called current date 

The OOTB Date column with today's date enabled works only as long as a file is modified

If files are not modified in the library for several days these days left done decrease as expected hence the need to run a flow to update this column with the UTCNow() expression for my time zone

Have this all working and email notification reminders sent to the authors and reviewers at 0, 7, 14 & 30 day triggers

Issue is when i enable the OOTB content approval on the library and run the flow daily to update the current date this triggers the content approval status to thinking the file itself has been modified instead of its properties only and changes all the documents content approval statuses back to pending. 

I have the automation support team looking into how we can circumnavigate this issue but after 48 hours multiple emails and a 2 hour remote session I am loosing faith that they may have a solution. 

In my head i am thinking I may need to move the days left columns and notifications to separate library where the flows run and have content approval on a library for only authors and reviewers to view and edit files then building flows on that when an item is approved copy to the public facing library.

I wander if its even possible to update SharePoint column without triggering content approval

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