Sharepoint : Default approval workflows

Default approval workflows

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 includes several approval workflows that you can begin using right away to manage human workflows in your organization. Each workflow can be added to a list, library, or content type and then used by your business users to manage the items or documents in the associated lists or libraries.

You can use the workflows to run document approvals, collect feedback, collect signatures, manage publishing of assets, manage dispositions, and create three-state approvals. When you associate and initiate the workflow, you can change the basic behaviors of the workflow, like who approves it, how the tasks are assigned, duration, due dates, workflow messages, and so on. For most of the workflows, you can also customize them in SharePoint Designer 2010.

Each workflow is described below, including the main differences between the workflows, and whether they’re supported for customization in SharePoint Designer 2010.

Workflow Description In SharePoint Designer
Approval The Approval workflow routes a document or item to a group of people for approval.

It supports staged approvals whereby the first set of approvers can review and approve, then the next set of approvers can review and approve, and so on. Each stage of approvers can do review in serial order (one at a time), parallel order (all at once), and normal serial or parallel task assignments that were supported in SharePoint Server 2007.

The duration and due dates of the task can be specified in days, weeks, and months, as well as a final due date for all of the tasks in the workflow. You can individuals to the CC (carbon copy) field. The workflow can be set up to end when the first approver rejects it. It can end if the document being review is changed. And, the workflow can enable content approval, if you like.

The tasks and emails in the workflow request content approval, so the task form includes buttons for Approve, Reject, Request Change, and Reassign. For approvers, comments support a consolidated comment that shows the entire list of previous approvers’ comments. Approval workflows can also be used to set content approval status at the end.

The Approval workflow is by default associated with the Document content type so it is available to document libraries.

NOTE: This workflow is only available in SharePoint Server 2010.

Yes
Collect Feedback The Collect Feedback workflow is very similar to the Approval workflow. It routes items or documents to a group of people, but in this case, the workflow is designed to get feedback from the approvers. The feedback is compiled and sent back to the person who initiated the workflow.

Like the Approval workflow, this workflow supports staged approvals and lets you specify duration and due dates in days, weeks, and months, as well as the final due date. The workflow can also be set up to end if the document is changed, and you can add individuals to the CC (carbon copy) field.

Unlike the Approval workflow, there is no option to end the workflow on first rejection since that doesn’t apply here, and there is no option to enable content approval.

Since the tasks and emails in the workflow request content approval, the task form includes buttons for Send Feedback, Request Change, and Reassign.

The Collect Feedback workflow is associated with the Document content type so it is available in document libraries.

NOTE: This workflow is only available in SharePoint Server 2010.

Yes
Collect Signatures The Collect Signatures workflow routes documents created in a Microsoft application to a group of people to collect their digital signatures.

You can add signers in serial or parallel order, and you can add them in stages. You can also add individuals to the CC (carbon copy) field. There are no other fields or behaviors for this workflow (unlike the Approval and Collect Feedback workflows).

When the signers of the workflow receive the task, they can sign it from the Task list in SharePoint or from within the host document, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The task form includes buttons for Sign or Reassign the task only. The signing mechanism uses the Microsoft Office Signature Line control. The signature image can be provided by the user or applied automatically using logic in the form (specifically, rule and action in the InfoPath form).

The Collect Signatures workflow is associated with the Document content type so it is available in document libraries However, the workflow will only appear in the library if that document contains one or more Microsoft Office Signature Lines.

NOTE: This workflow is only available in SharePoint Server 2010.

Yes
Publishing The Publishing workflow routes content for approval in the same the Approval workflow does this except that it’s designed for Enterprise Content Management sites with publishing features enabled.

Another difference is in the workflow forms. The association and initiation forms hide the option to add approvers, end workflow on first rejection, end workflow if document changes, and enable content approval.

NOTE: The Publishing workflow is only available in SharePoint Server 2010 where the Publishing feature is enabled.

Yes
Three-state The Three-state workflow tracks the status of an issue or item through three states and two transitions between the states, which help track high volume issues.

The workflow is designed to work with the Issue Tracking list template but can be used with any list that has a Choice column with three or more values that serve as the state of the workflow.

Participants in the workflow may be working with the list directly or outside projects related to the list. The workflow updates the status of the list and creates a new task for the next participant, and this process continues.

Workflow participants can change the complete their task or change the status of the workflow item.

NOTE: This workflow is available in both SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010.

No
Disposition Approval The Disposition Approval workflow tracks content that has expired or is out-of-date and needs to be evaluated or deleted.

This workflow is especially useful on a Records Center site or a site that supports records management document retention policies. The workflow can be configured to start automatically when documents or items expire or started manually by participants.

The workflow uses Disposition Approval workflow tasks for specific documents and items in the tasks list rather than assigning them to specific participants. Only those who have permissions to this tasks list can complete the task by approving or rejecting items for deletion.

The workflow also includes bulk task completion so that individuals can process large numbers of items for deletion in one step. This is commonly needed because of the high volume of tasks generated by the workflow.

NOTE: This workflow is only available in SharePoint Server 2010.

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