I have made a 2013 workflow for a list but I cannot get it to work the way I want it too. At the moment it sends me a task to approve or reject the submitted item but it's only on the task itself not the actual item so although the tasks says approved and the workflow finishes the item is never published.

How can I make my workflow also change the Approval Status of my item to approved so it will publish it to the list?

Here is a snapshot of my workflow at the moment.

enter image description here


7 Answers 7


As a matter of clarification for everyone, when a SPD Workflow fires, it writes the step it performed into a column on the list. This, in effect, is an item change and that change makes the built-in Approval set the "Approved" status back to "Pending" because the list item has changed and once again, needs approval.


In an on-premise SharePoint Server 2013 environment, you will lose the action to change the content approval status of the list item. There are several approaches to replace that functionality though:

  1. Create a SharePoint 2010 workflow that will set the content approval status of your current item. From your SharePoint 2013 workflow, call the SharePoint 2010 workflow.

  2. From your SharePoint 2013 workflow, do a web service call to update the content approval status. The detailed step-by-step could be found here.

  3. (Have not tried this myself) Create an app step in the SharePoint 2013 workflow in SharePoint Designer (Don't forget to activate the feature in Site settings->Manage site features->Workflows can use app permissions), and add Set Content Approval Status action inside the app step.


Sounds like what you are looking for is a workflow that allows you to define conditional start parameters. For example, you can configure a Nintex Workflow to start when modified.

Example: Approval Status (previous value) = Draft AND Approval Status = Pending.

In the above example, even if you have the workflow set the Approval Status to Approved it will not kick off again.

Hope this helps.

  • There was no mention of Nintex products in the original question so this cannot be a solution.
    – evictorov
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 8:18

The Approval Workflow column should be showing in your list. This would show the document as being approved.

Follow these steps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhwz_OJkP8g

If you need to update other columns in the list, you'll need to write another expression for that.


Use the set approval status to ... action in your workflow.

Do not forget to allow workflows to read and write items, by activating the appopriate feature in your site preferences.


You need to select your item that you want to update in your this list item (action).

E.g.: I am updating a List Item and using Current item for that.

  1. Select this list option
  2. Select List (in my case "current item")
  3. Add
  4. Select field that you want to update
  5. Select / Add value that you want to update (which as well can be another list item or a text value, as in your case "approved")

Answer found here: https://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/a/138596/57040

Late to the party I know...but I had a similar issue to this where when my workflow would hit a different stage the approval status would switch back to pending. Because I like the built in approval functionality of a list I didn't want to give that up to roll my own approval workflow, instead I wanted to keep using that built in approval but there were certain stages of my workflow where the item must have been approved to reach, however it would confuse the users to see pending in the column after they have already approved the item. Additionally I wanted my users to continue to see the stage the workflow was in. So what i did was a little hacky, however it seems to do the trick.

Enable the site feature "Workflows can use app permissions" Open SPD'13 to your site, if you had it open already you may need to restart the app in order for it to detect this change to your site. Add an App Step and then set the content approval status in the current item to Approved. Essentially this will "fix" the status of approval. There will still be a brief moment where by the status shows as pending, however once the wf hits that app step it sets it back to the appropriate status. This was a great source of frustration for me so I hope this will help someone else down the road.

So it would look something like this in SPD'13: enter image description here

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