How to setup and use a Approval workflow?


Approval is common workflow which requires persons to check and prove before a draft version becomes formal version. It prevents files to be released and shown to other people accidentally. This workflow can also be used to manage applications such as leave application and other resource applications. This post only show you how to make use of the default “Approval” workflow in Sharepoint. Custom business process workflow will be demonstrated soon.

How to setup?


Suppose this time I want to setup a leave application which allows users to apply all kinds of leaves such as annual leave, sick leave, or no pay leave. I use a custom sharepoint list to create an application form and to allow users to view the approve status of their application. I also use a task list to assign approval work to managers, HR, and directors.

  1. First of all, create a custom list with the below column(column name,type,required?,other settings):
    1. English Name, Single line of text, Required, max 30 characters
    2. Employee Number, Number, Required, max 3000
    3. Department, Choice, Required, enter department name in separate line
    4. Supervisor, Choice, Required, enter supervisor name in separate line
    5. Leave Type, Choice, Required, enter leave types in separate line
    6. From, Date and Time, Required, select Date & Time
    7. To, Date and Time, Required, select Date & Time
    8. Total Number of Days, Number, Required, Min=0.5 Max=30 Decimal places=1
    9. Remarks from Applicants, Multiple lines of text, Not Required, number of lines of editing=3 Plain text
    10. Delegate during leave, Multiple lines of text, Not Required, number of lines of editing=3 Plain text
  2. After that, click “Workflow Setting” and follow the below youtube tutorial.

3. Click “Add a workflow”

4. Choose “Approval – Sharepoint 2010” in “Workflow”

5. Insert “Create Leave Application” in “Name”

6. Select the task list you created or select “New task list”

7. Select “Workflow History” in “History List”

8. Do not tick “Allow this workflow to be manually…” and tick “Start this workflow when a new item is created”, then click “OK”

9. Enter name of managers, HR, directors in “Approvers”

10. Enter message to approvers to assign job in email in “Request”

11. Tick all ticks in the settings and then click “Save”

How to use in real situation?

After configuring the list, try to add a new application. You can also look at the below youtube tutorial for reference.

After configuring the library and workflow, when a user add an application, emails will be sent to assigned approvers and task will be added to task list according to your settings. After all approvals are made, confirm email will be sent to applicant or applicant can view it in the leave application list.


  1. You need to enable “Content Approval” in “Library Settings” before setting workflow.

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