Approval Requests

Smartsheet automated approval requests keep processes moving forward by automatically requesting an approval from one or multiple stakeholders, and recording their feedback in Smartsheet.

Approval requests can be completely customized and can be sent individually, or with multiple steps as part of a more complex workflow.  

Approval requests are mobile ready and can be managed from anywhere - saving time, reducing errors, and accelerating progress.

Request Approval From Stakeholders in Sequence

If you want to request approval from stakeholders and set up actions sent in sequence rather than all at once, you can set up multiple Approval Requests in a single path. Approval Requests will pause the workflow until the Request is Approved or Declined. The workflow will then continue through subsequent conditions and actions on the path defined by blocks connected to the outcomes of the Approval Request.

For example: 

  • A training request is approved by an employee’s manager 
  • This automatically triggers a subsequent approval request that’s then sent to the HR Director for final confirmation. 
  • If the training request is declined by the manager, an update request is sent to the employee to modify or add additional information to the request.

Set Up Your Approval Workflow

With your sheet open:

  1. Click Automation > Request an Approval Workflow.
  2. In the trigger block, set the criteria that cause the workflow to automatically fire. (More information on trigger block.)
  3. 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.)
  4. In the action block, select the first batch of stakeholders (this can be one or multiple people) that need to provide approval.
  5. 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 which contain cross-sheet formulas or cell links will not trigger an automation which automatically changes the sheet (Move Row, Copy Row, Lock Row, Unlock Row, Approval Request). To work around this, consider using time-based automation or recurrence workflows.