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Optimizing Approval Processes: A Guide to SharePoint Content Approval

The SharePoint content approval feature enables approvers to publish list items or documents for a list or library. Enabled items or documents in the pending stage are not accessible to all users. Once approved, they are available to all users.

a) How do I enable content approval in the SharePoint List or Document Library ?

1. To access a modern SharePoint list or library, click the gear icon and navigate to List Settings/Library Settings.


2. To access Library Settings on a classic SharePoint site, navigate to the SharePoint list or document library.

3. Then, navigate to Versioning Settings under General Settings on the library settings page and select “Yes” for “Require content approval for submitted items?“.

4. Next, the document version history is provided, offering three options for you to choose from.

  • No Versioning: When a new document is uploaded without versioning, it is added to a document library with a “pending” status and remains unvisible to users with read permissions until approved.
  • Create major versions: When using major versioning, a new document in a document library is added with a “pending” status and is only viewable by authorized users.
  • Create major and minor versions: When using major and minor versioning, a new document can be added to the library in draft status as version 0.1, or the author can request immediate approval.

5. After that, draft item security allows only site administrators or author/author users to view drafts in the document library.

6. Then, you must checkout the document before making changes to the document library, and if they have full control or design permissions, items or files will be approved in the library.

7. In the modern SharePoint list or library, you can see that two views have been added.

8. The classic site now features a new “Approved Status” column and two new view types: approve/reject items and My Submissions view.

9. The Approval Status column in the modern list indicates that, by default, each existing project’s approval status is approved.

10. After that, the Approved/Rejected Items list view on a SharePoint site displays all pending and approved items.

11. Next, the Approved/Rejected Items view displays the statuses and items of files, including approved, pending, and rejected statuses.

12. The My Submissions view allows you to access documents and projects submitted by the logged-in user.

13. Next, select the SharePoint Online list item and click > Approve/Reject from the command bar.

14. Alternatively, select the ECB menu and click More > Approve/Reject.

15. After that, you have the option to select from the following options, and the comment box allows for the addition of additional comments:

  • Approved
  • Rejected
  • Pending

16. Then, the “Approver Comments” column will be added to display the approver’s comments.

17. Next, open the list or document library, select an item, click […] -> Advanced, and then click Approve/Reject.

18. Finally, select the approved option to make the project visible to all users, reject the item to return it to the creator, or choose the Pending option to make the document visible to the creator.

b) How do I turn off content approval in SharePoint ?

1. First, open your SharePoint Online document library -> Settings icon -> Library Settings, and click “Versioning Settings” under “General Settings“.

2. Then, in the Version Control Settings page, set No to Require content approval for submitted items?

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