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Approval Flow Loop - Locked Document

I have built a parallel approval flow using a link to a SharePoint document and have encountered numerous, intermittent fails and/or loops. When reviewing the flow log I've discovered that once the link is used by an approver, it locks the document for all the other members of the approval stream and causes the flow to either repeatedly loop back to the approver, if the document is open, or fail completely due to a locked document error. If anyone else has experienced the same and knows how to overcome this issue it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Super User
Super User

Hello @MP23 

Could you clarify more about your approval process/steps, as it is unclear what actually takes place?

Parallel approval flow - do you mean there are parallel branches within a flow and in each branch there are approvals?

Link is used by an approver - the link should now block/lock for other approvers, which link are you talking about?

Screenshot of your flow actions and failed runs would also be appreciated 🙂

Kind regards, John

Hello @JohnAageAnderse


Thanks for your response. Yes there are parallel branches for 8 approvers which can be done simultaneously rather than one at a time. The link is for the document within SharePoint that requires approval. It is the document that is locking and looping the flow if the document is open while any of the approvals are being performed.

I have now found a solution by using Get File Content and the attachments in the advanced options of Start & Wait for Approval. I just needed to add the file name, ensuring the correct extension is used, and the File Content from the dynamic content. The flow is working with each approver getting their own copy of the file as an attachment rather than a link. I don't have permission to include screen shots of the solution but hopefully I've explained it sufficiently.

Hello @MP23 

Thank you for the clarification 🙂 I can tell you that we had the same issue, that the approvers opened the document, reviewed it, added comments, etc. and then left it open while approving the document.

Our flow then tried to update the document status, but couldn't as it was locked by the approver!


What we came up with, was to avoid the flow being blocked by a locked document, by moving the status out of the document library and into its own list, named "Document states".


When a document is requested to be approved, the approvers can do whatever they want with the document, as the state now is kept outside and can go through the states from "Draft" to "Review" to "Approved" and back to "Draft" with no issue.


The actual state from the "Document states" list is not linked into the document library unless the document is not locked.

We have a recurrence flow checking each night and linking the document state when a document is free.

Hope the above gives you ideas on how to solve your issue 🙂

Kind regards, John

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