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I understand that if I have versioning enabled in my document library, then any changes I make to a document or its metadata will be represented in a new version of that document.

My customer has asked whether SharePoint can be made to support a free-form text field (or something) that can be tagged against a specific document. This would allow a user to type whatever (e.g. status, pending tasks, queries, etc), and it could appear - perhaps as a SharePoint column - against that document in the library view. If they edit this text, they do not want it to create a new version of the document, and they do not want 'Approved' documents suddenly going back to 'Draft'.

I might need to think outside the box and push back on the client's request slightly, but is there anything that is possible in this regard?

Thanks in advance!

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I don't think this would be possible out of the box. As soon as you have the column in same document library it will change approval status to draft/pending depending on versioning settings.

Couple of alternate way(not recommended though) as it implementation would require a detailed impact analysis on usability.

One thing I can think of is, create a flow associated with library and as soon as you see comments column is updated, you can change approval status back to approved. But there will be some delay.

Another thing to do is have a separate list to store this comments, it should have document library ID as lookup column. Create custom views rather than OOTB views to display data from this list and document library. Provide user interface to add comments to store in this list.

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