Request approvals from stakeholders

Applies to

Smartsheet
  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise

You can request multiple approvals and create an order for those approvals. Approval requests pause the workflow at each step until the request is approved or declined. At each approval or rejection, conditions and actions on the path determine what will happen next. 

For example: 

  • A training request is approved by an employee’s manager 
  • The approval automatically triggers an approval request, sent to the HR Director for final confirmation. 
    or
  • If the training request is declined by the manager, an update request goes to the employee so they can modify or add additional information to the request.

Set up your approval workflow

With your sheet open:

  1. Select Automation > Create workflow from template...
  2. From the Update and Approval Requests section select Request an approval when specified criteria are met... and then select Use template.
  3. In the trigger block, set the criteria that cause the workflow to automatically fire. (More information on trigger block.)
  4. You can also create condition blocks that filter the specific rows to be included in the delivery of the approval request. (More on condition blocks.)
  5. In the action block, select the first batch of stakeholders (this can be one or multiple people) that need to provide approval.
  6. Click the Add buttons under If Approved and If Declined, then define the additional actions that you’d like to see fire depending on what the stakeholders choose when they receive the approval request.

    Approval workflow

That's it! Your workflow now has multiple, connected actions based on an Approve or Decline state from an initial approval request.


Approval workflow behavior

  • If approval columns and values are re-used across workflows, you may receive duplicate alerts. To prevent this, use different approval values or add conditions after each approved or declined request.
  • Since the workflow trigger and subsequent condition blocks between the trigger and the Approval Request can be bypassed if someone manually changes the approval status column in the sheet, it is a best practice to either lock your Approval status columns in the source sheet, or refrain from sharing the sheet directly with people from whom that you need approval.

To prevent infinite approval loops, cells with cross-sheet formulas or cell links won’t trigger the approval request. To work around this, create an update request.