How to: Automatically approve items which have already been approved

In this post I will explain how to create a simple SharePoint Designer Workflow to approve items automatically if they have already been approved. This can be useful if you need content approval to prepare content for your users but you don’t want to approve every single update if the content has already been published.

In Employee Training Management you can use this workflow for the Scheduled Trainings list or the Training Catalog. So you will be able to prepare your training program and approve it once it’s finished. All subsequent changes don’t need to be approved and you can keep all the trainings current for all users.

The workflow requires an additional Boolean field to flag items that have already been approved.

Go to the list settings and create a new Yes/No field with a default setting of No. Don’t add the field to the content type or to the default view.

Create a new Yes/No field
Open the list in SharePoint Designer.

Open list in SharePoint Designer
Create a new Workflow.

Create a new Workflow
Add a “If current item field equals value” condition (If Current Item:Approved equals Yes) and an “Else-If Branch”.

Create Else If Branch
In the Else Branch add another condition: If Current Item:Approval Status equals Approved

In this IF Branch add a “Set field to value” action: Set Approved to Yes and a “Set content approval status” action: Set content approval status with “”

Else: Set Approved field
In the first IF Branch add another one (If Current Item:Approval Status not equals Approved) and a “Set content approval status” action: Set content approval status with “”

If Branch: Approve Items if Approved is set
Save the workflow, go back to the workflow settings and change the Start Options that the workflow starts automatically when an item is created or changed.

Start Options
Publish the workflow and test it out.

Note: If an item is rejected, it’s automatically approved by the workflow. If you don’t want this to happen, add another condition to the workflow and reset the “Approved” field.

If you add this workflow to a list which already contains items, you have to set the “Approved” field to yes for each approved item. Use the Quick Edit/Datasheet view to achieve this.

Set Approved field in Quick Edit