The Approval workflow route the document or item from a list or library to assigned approvers for the approval.

SharePoint online comes with built in out of the box workflow templates.

Let’s see how we can create a simple approval workflow.


1. You must have manage lists permission to add a workflow to a document library, list, or content type.

2. Go to Site settings> Site collection features and make sure Workflows feature is activated.

Steps to follow

1. Go to the library where you would like to add your approval workflow.

2. Click on Workflow Settings ribbon under List tab on top toolbar.


3. On Workflow Settings page, click Add a workflow


4. On Add a Workflow page, select Approval – SharePoint 2010 workflow. you can see SharePoint online has the same workflow types available as SharePoint 2010.

5. Provide a unique name to your workflow. You can leave default options selected for Task List and History List.

6. Select start options of the workflow. Check Creating a new item will start the workflow and click Next button.


7. On next page, you will be able to setup your workflow behaviour e.g. approvers and messages etc.

  • Approvers: Provide the name of the approvers here. Click on Add a new stage if you want to add more approvers.
  • Order: Select the order for the approval messages.
  • Request: Provide your message to be sent to approvers with the request.
  • Due Date for All  Tasks: Set a due date for all tasks here
  • Duration Per Task: You can set the task expiry duration based on number of days, weeks, or months.
  • CC: All the task related emails will be CC’d to the email address provided here.
  • End on First Rejection: Workflow can be rejected or continued after rejection based on this setting.
  • End on Document Change: Workflow item will be automatically rejected if it’s changed during the workflow process based on this settings.
  • Enable Content Approval: Items will be marked approved if you have setup content approval on your list/ library.

8. Click Save button to save the settings and setup the workflow.

9. This will take you back to workflow settings page.

10. On workflow settings page, you can see your workflow. You can also update your workflow settings by clicking on your workflow name.