I am quite a newbie with SharePoint Designer. I have been playing around a bit with approval workflows, but I can't seem to get it right. Can someone please help me a bit with some kind of guide of how to set up the workflow below? The workflow would look like this:

A document library user creates and uploads a document. Since there are so many people using the library the user himself assigns the appropriate approver for the document. This assigned approver is then shown in a column in the same library.

When the approver is assigned, only he gets an e-mail which asks him to approve the document, so the others with the approval permission will not be notified. The approver then approves or rejects the document.

What happens if the document does not have an approver? Ideally I would like to allow open drafts seen by others without any mails going to the approver, but the approver being notified only when he/she has been assigned.

I'm using SharePoint 2013.

3 Answers 3


Sharepoint 2013 has some simple workflow actions that should make this pretty easy to pull off.

The key steps will be:

  1. Set workflow variable (Create new variable 'Approver', set value to current item>approver
  2. Assign a task to Workflow variable: approver
  3. If outcome=approved go to approved steps, else do other stuff.

I've been working on something quite similar with an enterprise wiki. From what I've come across is that you can set up a library with content approval turned on and from there use the OOTB publishing approval workflow.

I'm not sure if you can assign the task using a field from the list. You can create SP groups, use AD groups, or use specific SP users however. You could create an 'Approver' group and hopefully that can work for you to some extent.

So to do this, go to your document library settings -> versioning -> content approval [ON].

Then back to library -> Workflow Settings -> Add a Workflow. Make sure you select 'Publishing Approval' as a template. Now just fill out the rest of the workflow. Make sure you DO NOT select 'Changing an item will start this workflow'. The approval will not work correctly if you do. If you want this option you have to customize the publishing workflow, which you can do.

Once you hit next you will be able to assign approvers with a task and gives you the task details. Make sure you Enable Content Approval on the bottom of the 2nd form.

Hope this helps!


Assume that you have Approver filed in libary. It contains Name of approves enter image description here

Create declarative workflow using SharePoint 2013. enter image description here

  1. Create variable which holds Approve user
  2. Assign Process
  3. If Out Come is Approved, do something
  4. If Out Come is Rejected, do something

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