Power Automate,  Power Platform,  SharePoint/SPO

What is an Approval flow in Power Automate(MS Flow)?[Part-1]

Today, Approval process is a part of every organization. Approval processes standardise organization’s internal process. Approval process could be either for leave or for some expense report. In Power Automate, when we use approval action, approvers are notified and they can review and act accordingly.

In flow, we use approval actions which will perform actions after trigger starts the flow. For example, when a new item is created to a SharePoint list then trigger an approval flow for somebody who can review the newly created item.

In Power Automate studio you can see 3 approval actions

  • Create an approval
  • Wait for an approval
  • Start and wait for an approval

Approval action

Here you can see one approval action- Start and wait for an approval.  This is the approval action which let you to perform complete approval process. Other two action are related to each other. First you will create an approval and then you will use Wait for an approval action. We mostly use Start and wait for an approval.

When you use the Start and wait for an approval action, the flow starts and then waits for the approvers’ response before it completes the run.

Approval Types-

There are four approval types you can use either in Create an approval action or in Start and wait for an approval action.

  • Approve/Reject – Everyone must approve
  • Approve/Reject – First to respond
  • Custom Responses – Wait for all responses
  • Custom Responses – Wait for one response

Approval options

Here you can see that two Approval types have option for Approve and Reject while other two types have custom responses which you can configure as per our needs.

Approval type- First to respond is used when we have multiple approvers and want any approver complete the request. Once approved by any one approver then other approvers will not be able to approve the same request.

Approval templates:

There are lots of existing approval templates are available in Power Automate studio. You can use your scenario approval template and then follow steps which suites your need. You can always customize existing template or create from scratch as per your need.

To see Approval templates, Go to Templates section in Power Automate studio -> Search for approval

Approval template

Important Points-

  • Approver can respond request in 3 ways-
    • Directly from an Outlook email (make sure your outlook desktop app is updated otherwise it will redirect you power automate studio)
    • From Microsoft Teams adaptive card (Check Approvals tab for all approval requests)
    • Power Automate action center ( only for those who have a Power Automate license or an Office 365 or a Dynamics 365 license with built-in Power Automate capabilities). Check Approvals under action items for all approval requests.
  • You can assign approvals to- Azure AD Users and Guest Users.
  • Approvals flow do not have in built reminder mechanism. So there is no option to configure reminders for approval. We are hoping that Microsoft will do something in this.
  • Now approver can reassign approval request to someone. You need to enable reassignment as ‘Yes’ under advance option in approval action.
  • You can also attach documents with approval action.
  • The user who runs the first approval flow must have an administrator role in the environment. It can take a few minutes for the database provisioning to be completed, and you’ll notice this delay the first time that you run the flow. Other users who create approval flows don’t need any elevated permissions in the environment. (click here for more information)
  • All approval requests are processed by Microsoft server and you will receive approval request from- Microsoft Flow <>.
    • Under connection tab you will see Approvals in Connection page.
  • You can add requester account in your approval action for approvers visibility.
  • For an approval flow run duration limit is 30 days . After 30 days, any pending steps will be time-out. Click here for more information. How to deal with it i will cover this in another article.

This is all about Approval flows. In next article i will cover How to create a simple approval flow?.

Thank You!!!


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