Because this plagued me for almost a week and it seems so many people have had questions about it I have decided to share what I learned in this process. After reading almost everything online and asking everyone I knew for help, I finally put all the pieces together to solve the puzzle.
I am new to SharePoint, like a month into it new. I started out developing a basic form with InfoPath and kicking off the out of the box approval process. I quickly noticed that I would need the approval status in my list and read that only designer could do this. Here is what I found.
For the sake of explaining we are going to call my list, or the information where others are submitting data for approval will be called MEAT
The task approval process where people go in and approve said information will be called POTATOES
ONE- Regardless if you start your workflow out of the box or in designer its extremely important that your Task List (POTAOTES) is "linked" or associated the task list (MEAT) you are wanting to reference.
TWO Because the GUID is the link/match between your list (MEAT) and the Task list (POTATOES) we need to set this GUID variable during the workflow process. These are settings you create in your (MEAT) list, not the task list.
Line1- "Start Approval (6)" will be whatever your approval process name is, so that will vary. "Process on Current Item" is standard, yours should look like this. What I have crossed out is the person the workflow will be assigned to, that will vary for you as well.
Line2- "then set Variable:GUID"... GUID is what I named it you can call it whatever you want. So if you want Variable:banana, name it banana :).
Current Item:GUID is standard, you will need it to look like this.
Line3- Im not 100% sure if this step was necessary, but I did it and it works so I suggest you do too. In the list settings for your (MEAT) list, you will need to add another column that you can set the variable to as a string.
So where you see "Then set WorkflowID to Variable: GUID" the "WorkflowID" is just an empty column that I created in the current list (MEAT) then I basically set the Variable:GUID as a hard coded string field to that WorkflowID field I created (hopefully that makes sense)
LINE4- In the update List Item, we will tell the current list (MEAT) what to pull from the task list (POTATOES) based on which values (GUID) are the same between the two that link them together.
In the drop down List box "Current Item" should be selected. to get the Field and Value, you will need to add those by selecting "ADD" they wont automatically populate.
-"Set this field" drop down you are going to select the field or status from the task list (POTATOES) that you want to pull over. For this list I wanted the "Outcome" status.
"To this Value"- Select the formula (fx) box, below is what you will see.
"Data Source" will always be Association:Task List"
"Field from source" Again the outcome field (for me, you might want another field)
Under Find the list Item
"Field:" This is where you select GUID from your (POTATO) list
"VALUE:" you will need to select the (fx) formula button again and go to the "CURRENT ITEM" drop down menu so you can select the WorkflowID.
The final step is to end your workflow and you should be good to go! I pray this helps someone else! Good luck!