How to request and track approvals with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

While you desire a formal file of an approval, cease asking “Is that this doc OK?” and begin sending an approval request

Sketch with the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides icons, with an APPROVALS stencil text stamp over the top

Illustration: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

In a corporation, folks typically want formal approval for textual content (e.g., a plan or proposal, a press launch or a contract), a spreadsheet (e.g., a price range or an inventory) or a presentation. Typically, a number of folks from totally different areas in a corporation—advertising and marketing, finance, authorized—have to provide their formal OK on a doc. Acquiring these approvals can take seemingly relentless rounds of e-mail and edits.

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Approvals, launched in November 2021, streamlines the sequence of steps wanted to acquire formal edits and ultimate approval on a file. To begin the method, you add the accounts of the approvers, then they will obtain a notification. Every approver might assessment the file, then select to both settle for or reject it. In the event you permit edits, a brand new spherical of assessment and approval requests begins after each change. As soon as each approver chooses to approve it, the system locks the doc to stop modifications, and the aspect panel shows the date your doc reached “Approval full” standing.

You may want a Google Workspace account, not a private Google account, to make use of Approvals. Approvals can be found to individuals who use all editions of Google Workspace, besides Enterprise Starter, Training Fundamentals, Training Customary, Frontline and G Suite Fundamental. Moreover, a Google Workspace administrator can management whether or not Approvals can be found to folks inside a corporation.

How the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides Approvals course of works on the internet

The steps under cowl the right way to use Approvals inside Google Docs, Sheets and Slides from a browser on a pc. Open the file for which you search approvals earlier than you start.

1. Choose File | Approvals to show the Approvals aspect panel from the online (Determine A, left). Then, choose the Make a request button (Determine A, proper).

Determine A

Screenshots: (left) Google Doc open with File menu displayed and Approvals (below Share) circled; (right) Approvals side panel with Request approval displayed and an arrow pointing to the Make a request button.

In Docs, Sheets and Slides, entry Approvals from the File menu on the internet (left). This opens the Approvals aspect panel (proper) to begin the method.

2. Add approver accounts and, optionally, a message and due date, as proven in Determine B. You might select to permit edits or to lock the file earlier than sending. (Observe: In the event you select to lock the file, you’ll possible be prompted to reload the doc, since locking removes edit-related menu choices.)

Every edit restarts the approval course of and notifies every approver. In the event you anticipate a number of potential modifications, an excellent strategy can be to easily use the usual Share possibility together with your collaborators in the course of the energetic enhancing part, then search Approvals when few or no edits are anticipated.

Observe that every approver’s account must be a Google account. Inside a corporation that makes use of Google Workspace, that is not a difficulty. Nonetheless, if you happen to search approval from somebody exterior your group, they will want a Google account to both approve or reject your request.

Determine B

Screenshot of a Google Doc with the Request approval box displayed, with sections for Google accounts, a message, an Add due date button, a checkbox next to Allow approved to edit this file, and a checkbox next to Lock file before sending approval request. (With a submessage:

Add the Google accounts of the folks you wish to approve your file, together with a short message. You might optionally specify a due date, permit approvers to edit the file or lock the file.

3. If prompted, regulate file entry permissions, as proven in Determine C. The system will counsel permission settings that may permit entry to the file for all approvers, so generally you will wish to settle for the offered suggestions.

Determine C

Screenshot of a

Regulate file entry ranges, as prompted.

4. The system will notify every approver of your request, primarily based on how every individual has configured Google Drive notifications. Which means folks might obtain a notification in e-mail (Determine D), from the Chrome internet browser or from a cellular app.

Determine D

Screenshot of New approval request email, with the message from the requester, a link to the related file, and an Open button, shown in Gmail on the web.

Every approver shall be notified of your request. For instance, individuals who select to obtain Drive notifications through e-mail shall be despatched a New approval request, as proven.

5. When an approver opens a doc on the internet, a bar shows throughout the highest with Settle for, Reject and View Particulars choices (Determine E, left). The individual might choose both to simply accept or reject straight from this bar. If an approver selects View Particulars from the Pending Approval choices (as proven in Determine E), the system will show the standing of different approvers (e.g., Permitted or Pending) together with the preliminary requester’s message.

Determine E

Two screenshots: (left) Approve, Reject, View details options in bar above a Google Doc, with View details circled, with a line drawn going to the (right) Approvals side panel, with Approve, Reject options, View changes details, list of Approvers, and Approval activity status, with a comment box.

On the internet, when an approver chooses to open a file from an approval request, it’s going to show with a Pending approval bar that provides three choices: Approve, Reject or View Particulars. 

6. Approve the request and, optionally, add a remark, as proven in Determine F. (If an approver rejects the request, you will want to deal with their considerations after which undergo the approval course of once more.)

Determine F

Screenshot with Approve request? box open, with space for comments, and Cancel or Approve options displayed.

When an approver selects the Approve button, a immediate seems that lets them optionally add textual content after which verify.

7. When all requests are accredited, the doc shall be locked and the Approvals aspect panel will point out Approval full (Determine G). If an editor unlocks the doc and makes modifications, you would want to repeat the approval course of after modifications to regain this accredited standing.

Determine G

Screenshot of Google Doc with Approvals side panel open. Approval complete in large letter, with

The Approvals aspect panel signifies who has accredited the file. On this case, all requested approvers have accredited, so the header shows Approval Full.

Approval administrative controls 

Most often, an administrator will wish to depart the settings for Approvals within the Admin console on the defaults (Determine H). The one causes to vary the setting can be if you wish to stop entry to Approvals or handle who might request approvals. A Workspace administrator might assessment Approval requests settings on the Admin console | Apps | Google Workspace | Settings for Drive and Docs | Approvals. The settings could also be modified for the complete group or for an organizational unit.

Determine H

Screenshot of Approval requests settings. Two options: Allow approval requests on files owned by your organization (on/off) and Allow users in your organization to request approvals on files (on/off). Both options show as the default ON position.

A Google Workspace administrator might handle approval request settings on your group.

What’s your expertise with Approvals?

The Approvals function reduces the logistical hassles related to getting a number of folks to assessment and settle for a file. Importantly, it additionally paperwork that approval for a selected file was given by a particular individual on a particular date. That documentation may be useful, ought to folks ever query whether or not applicable folks signed off on a selected doc, spreadsheet, presentation or file.

Does the Approvals possibility change how you’re employed with colleagues in your group? Will it simplify workflows you’d in any other case try to trace with a collection of emails or messages? Does the flexibility to set an approval due date, and the associated notifications that happen, make it simpler so that you can handle the approval workflow? Let me know what function the Approvals function performs in your organizations, both with a remark under or on Twitter (@awolber).

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