Advice sought to build document review workflow in Sharepoint

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I'm new to using and setting up workflows in SharePoint so hoping for some direction - hopefully I make some sense!

My company has a library of documents, such as Procedures, Forms etc on SharePoint Online which need to undergo scheduled reviews, updates and approvals. At least every 3 years but in some cases more frequently (say every six months).

Currently the whole process is manually driven - myself or another team member identifies which documents are nearing their review date from an column in and Excel register of the documents we have, and send email notifications with a link or copy of the document to be reviewed to the designated Document Owner. Then we (the Quality Dept) have to follow up if the review goes over the allotted time and then arrange for the document to be approved by the designated Approver before we (Quality Dept) check the document meets the right format and content requirements, add info about revisions, next review date etc to the footer and then upload the new version to the Sharepoint library.

We'd like to try and use workflows in Sharepoint to help automate the process but have not found a great solution with either the Microsoft Flow Templates or the built in SharePoint Workflows (Eg Approval Workflow, Collect Feedback Workflow). But, as I say, I'm a rank beginner so it's all rather confusing to me!

What I'm hoping to be able to have the workflow do is:

  • When Document is a month away from scheduled review date a workflow is triggered to email notify the Document Owner to review the document. Also email the Approver and our team for information.
  • If Document Owner confirms document is still relevant and they are the right owner/reviewer the workflow sets a task for them to review the document by the Scheduled Review Date deadline. The Document Owner needs to be able to make changes/comments (with tracked changes on) to the document, but the published version available to other users on SharePoint needs to remain unchanged at this point.
  • More than one reviewer may be required for some documents with several stakeholders so it would be great to have an option for either parallel or serial reviews of the tracked-comment version of the document
  • One the review is complete the Document Approver needs to be sent a notification to view and either approve the document or reject and reset the review task to the reviewer(s). My department should also get a notification that the review task has been completed.
  • If the Document Approver confirms approval the Quality Team needs to get an email notification to go and check and add document control info e.g. next review date to the document
  • Quality Department uploads the final version to the SharePoint Library or approves publication of the marked up draft/minor version to be viewed by all users
  • Notification of new major version to be emailed to Document Owner/Approver and any other identified stakeholders (e.g. from a list of key users)

-If the Document Owner decides the document is no longer required then there needs to be a way they can mark the document as obsolete. The Approver should then get a notification to confirm this and then the document should be moved to an Archive/made invisible to general users.

-If the review or approval goes over deadline reminder emails should be sent to them and the Quality Department notified.

I've looked into using the "Collect feedback" workflow built into Sharepoint as an option for the review part of the process, but I can't see a way to customise which person is emailed based on a "Document Owner" column in the library. I'm also wondering how to set the collect feedback so that the reviewers can mark up changes but that these won't be visible in the major published version until final approval/go-ahead from the Quality Department. Does anyone have any insight into how that might be done?

I can see that Microsoft flow has some templates for simple email notifications but I'm struggling to see how it can be used to set the review task and get a draft version of the document marked up by the reviewers.

Sorry for the novel here! If anyone has any clues or tips at all about a direction to pursue for this it would be much appreciated!

5 Replies

Just replying to see if you had receive responses to your question, I am seeking same information.

Hi @GoRod1,


Flow can do simple too complex workflows. Some of the "out of the box" Flows like "Request sign-off" and "Set a reminder" are great starting points. If a Flow template does not exist that meets your requirements, consider building your own. There are plenty of resources on creating Flows.


I hope this helps.




I've just posted a video and blog that might help with this. It includes an example of how to modify the out of the box flow to support SharePoint document approval.

I hope this helps



I am not an IT guy but I have been building tools with SharePoint for the last 7 years.

We use it to collect info on the floor, Dashboard, SOPs, 6s, FM FMEAs, QA audits, and other solutions where we use out of the box thinking with SharePoint to helps fix issues.

I have a simple solution that works for us, it might help get the creative juices flowing..

I have a setup for our SOPs. Each SOP has to go through an approval process before it can be posted, that process involves the complex manager, HR Manager,plant manager, operational excellence manager, and safety manager.

When an SOP is uploaded, the operational excellence manager is emailed by the task list, once approved, the complex manager's name is added, emailed, and the next person name is add and so forth and so forth.

I have a page on SharePoint that is filtered for each approver and is set to show each items that have not been approved, once they're approved the filter kicks it out and sent it to the next person and the next person so they only see items that they need to approve or items are waiting in the queue for their approval. The page has a web part filtered for each approver so they only see what needs to be approved by them, like a workque.

The way we stay on top of exiration dates is we have those fields in the list which we export to a self refreashing report in Excel that has a micro that refreshes every time you open it and pulls a new data from Sharepoint, and that one has conditional formatting so that it is show us in red SOPs that are about to expire, green means that we have more than that 60 days before it expires, yellow means expires within 3 weeks, and red means it has expired.

That report is sent out by the QA clerk everyday.

I am teaching myself flow, powerapps, and anything I can that involves Office 365.

It's a game changer, Office 365 just leveled the playing field for small business that did not have the IT budget for customized IT solutions and Apps. You just need some snacks, coffee and YouTube. Microsoft has the content and training to get you the rest.

I think Microsoft has launched "Approvals" for this kinds of flows, which is quite simple to use but unfortunately does not work with "Guest users" (at least it doesn't work in our case).


In our organization, I have created a set of flows to send automatic reminders when a due date of a review process has arrived. People ignored it many times, so I have added another step that requests them to modify a cell when they complete the task in the reminder. People ignored that too. So I make it as a loop that when the recipient does not modify the cell, it sends a reminder mail every day. But then, it keeps sending emails even though somebody is away for a sick leave... It went like this.


It is so surprising that there is no simple solution for such a simple request.