Users are able to submit files within a Record's Upload field for Approval, providing a central location to approve files related to a record. As part of the approval, users can also Markup files and add new Revisions, ensuring you can track any requested changes and who approved or declined a file.
Record File Approvals are exclusive to the Database Module and can be enabled against any Multiple Upload Field in the Database Form Builder.
Users can easily monitor and respond the requests progress from within the record (or the Workflow list) as required, ensuring all files can be tracked against the record.
This article includes instructions on how to configure and use Record File Approvals. Click below to jump to a specific section.
- Configuring a File Approval Workflow
Request Approval, Collaborate and Approve
- Request Approval - Single
- Request Approval - Bulk Request
- Email Notifications
- Review Request
- Responding to an approval request
- Workflow Request List
- Additional features:
Configuring a File Approval Workflow
When the Workflows and Databases module are both enabled on your platform, then the below steps to create and configure a new Record File Approval Workflow can be followed to get you started in using this feature.
If the below is not available on your platform, and you would like it to be, please contact your Customer Success Manager.
Create a new File Approval Workflow Template
- Admin users can access Admin > Workflow area of their platform to create a File Approval Workflow Template.
- Name the Template and ensure Workflow Type is 'Approval' and Tool is in 'Record File'.
- Select other workflow settings as required.
- Save the template. Note that most of these settings will not be available to customize at the local level.
At least one File Approval Workflow Template needs to be saved before subsequent functionality will be available.
Enable Workflows on Uploaded Files
- In Databases, Add a new Database and Form, or Edit the Form template for an existing Database.
- Ensure your form has an Upload field that is set to support 'Multiple Files Upload'.
- Select the Enable Workflows on Uploaded Files checkbox and click to Configure
Select & Customize Workflow Options
If your platform only has one File Approval Workflow Template you will be taken directly to Customize its Settings at this local level. If there are multiple you will be shown a list to choose from. Click the name of the desired Template and 'Select' to continue.
On the Customize options page you can enable Workflow options for this specific Multiple Upload Field, such as the set Reviewers and number of Required Approvals. You can also select to enable Conditional Reviewers for this workflow.
Conditional Reviewers is an option for all File Approvals that can be set for each Upload field.
They are an override to your default, or fallback, Reviewers settings and allows you to set rules where the Reviewers can change based on who the Requester is or based on data that has been inputted within the record.
A hierarchy is set where the first rules are checked and if they do not exist, the next conditional rule one may apply. If no conditional rules apply, then the default/fallback Reviewers that appear in Customize Options popup will instead be applied.
To add Conditional Reviewer rules:
- Click the toggle in the Customize Options page, and then click to Add Condition Set.
- Name this condition set or retain the default name.
- Add conditions that need to be met for the Conditional Reviewers to be applied. Conditions can draw from the Requester's information such as specific users or what Group or Division they are a part of. They can also be drawn from fields within the database itself. Up to 10 condition rules can be added for each Condition Set, via the And/Or option.
Reviewer Nomination Type can be left as 'Users' or changed to 'Groups'. You can select specific User(s) or Group(s) from the platform, or tie this to whomever is selected in the User Lookup or Group Lookup fields from the database. The requester's Leader can also be selected.
For Staged Workflows, the option to add 'Requester's Choice' is also available. This allows introduction of a more flexible first stage (for example) for users to perhaps ask peers to review files first, and from there the workflow can follow a more rigid compliance process as normal. Other options can still be configured in conjunction with 'Requester's Choice', however note that doing so opens up users being able to remove any pre-configured Reviewers for that stage as well as being able to add in any of their choice.
- Required Approvals can be set to 'All' (all Reviewers must approve) or 'One' (when multiple Reviewers exist any one can approve on behalf of all.)
Click Add Set to confirm this Condition Set. You can create up to 10 Condition Sets for each File Approval Workflow local application.
Save configurations or changes
Once all Options and Condition are set, click Confirm on the Customize options page.
'Save & Close' then must be clicked at the bottom of the Upload field to save all of these settings against the upload field.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The same Template can be selected for more than one Multiple Upload Field and across multiple Databases. If changes are needed to settings you cannot customize locally, you will need to edit the source template back in Admin > Workflows. The above steps will need to be repeated for changes to be reflected at the field level.
Request Approval, Collaborate and Approve:
Once the above configuration is complete, then new File Approval requests can be made from the Upload field.
Upload files must be either Saved or Submitted in that record for the Request Approval option to display.
Once saved, the icon will show for any user who can View or Edit the record.
Request Approval - Single
Users can submit an Approval Request by clicking the 'Request Approval' icon against each file.
The Request Approval pop-up will then appear. The Approvers will display based on the Reviewers set in the Workflow's Customize Settings or based on the rules as set for Conditional Reviewers.
A Comment may be required. Required by field will show if enabled in the Workflow Template settings. Once all required fields are completed, request can be submitted.
Request Approval - Bulk Request
Approval may also be requested in Bulk, for multiple or all saved files within the Multiple Upload field.
The requester will have the chance to review and even remove files before Submitting the bulk request.
A mix of both files and URLs can be selected for Bulk Approval Request together.
The act of requesting a Record File Approval, as well as subsequent Reviewer responses or actions, will trigger a variety of email notifications to the request participants involved.
File Approval Workflow emails can be configured to be disabled or customizable at the Admin level (noting this will apply to all locally applied instances of this.) User Notifications can either be set to 'All', where all of the below emails can be triggered, or these can be customized to only include some of these and exclude others.
Requesters notifications options are based on the below actions occurring:
- A confirmation of their request submission
- When a Reviewer has responded
- When their request has been completed
- If their request has been cancelled
- Or if their request gets re-assigned to new or additional reviewers
Reviewers notifications options are based on when the below occurs:
- When a request is submitted with them as reviewer (only of current stage, if workflow is staged)
- When another reviewer responds to the request
- A reviewer can also receive notification / confirmation of their own response
- When a request they are a reviewer of the current stage on is completed
- Or if a request they are a reviewer of the current stage on is cancelled
- And if a request gets re-assigned to them as a new or additional reviewer
The notifications include links to the record, database as well as the File. Recipients can also access the request in their Workflow Request List.
Reviewers (or Workflow Admins / Main Admins) can click the 'Review Request' icon (highlighted below) in the Record's Upload list to open the Review Request overlay. This can be also be accessed in the Workflow Request List.
From here, users can add Markup Comments, add Revisions or to respond to the approval request.
Additionally, Users can view information about the file and approval request, specifically:
- Item Details which includes the File name, record, Database, Upload field and what Page or Stage the Upload field is in.
- Request Details shows a snapshot of details relating to the request itself, such as when it was requested and who by, and who the Reviewers are.
Request Status displays the current status of the request as well as its progress or history, such as the response of previous Reviewers.
Requesters, and other users with permission to see all workflow requests, can also monitor request progress via the same icon, but for them the action is called 'Request Details'. Requesters can participate in Revisions (if they have Edit permission to the record) and Markup Comments via this link.
Markup Comments & Annotations
Once an Approval Request is initiated, feedback and collaboration can occur via the Markup Comments functionality within the Review Request. This includes the ability to @mention to participants of the request and/or Admin users, ensuring you can get timely feedback.
You can read a detailed guide to our Markup Comments & Annotations feature here.
Users who have access to Review Request overlay and are a request participant (Requester, Reviewer or Admin users) with Edit permission to the source record can add new Revisions.
The new/current Revision will then be reflected back in the File list in the record.
You can read more about adding a Revision here.
Two revisions can be compared together, allowing users to easily compare the differences between these file.
You can read more about Compare Revisions here.
Adding Comments, @mentions, and revisions may trigger Markup Alerts to relevant users based on platform and user settings.
You can read a detailed guide on how to configure these alerts here.
When @ mention Digest alerts are enabled, File Approval digest info will be included in with Resource @ mentions (where both have been made tagging the same user within the Digest defined time).
URLs in Markup Comments & Revisions
Opening a URL in the Review Request will initially show the 'live' URL (ie, the same as if the web page is accessed directly).
Note that there are some restrictions for URL's which could impact on their ability to be displayed and annotated:
- Only URL's which can be displayed in an iFrame can be viewed. Note that this may be a setting which might need to be enabled when creating the link / webpage.
- The URL must be publicly accessible. If the links content is behind a login for example, it cannot be viewed.
- The link should be a secure link, containing for example "https" not "http"
- There are some outstanding issues when Viewports are enabled on a website. If you have any issues with these, please contact your Customer Success Manager for more information.
Also note that since the 'live' site is being displayed, if the site is updated any annotations made will continue to display in the original location they were made.
For URLs, once the a new revision is saved, a snapshot (screenshot) of the "old" revision will now be generated as a PDF, allowing you to update the same URL whilst maintaining an accurate history of the changes made to the link.
The Previous Revisions will also display the Annotations and Comments, allowing these to be resolved as required.
Any previous Revisions can also be Downloaded as a PDF file, whilst the current Revision has an option for the user to directly access the URL, if they wish to load it in the browser instead.
Similar behaviour will occur when a request is completed - a 'snapshot' of the web page at time request was completed will display instead of a live preview of its current state.
Responding to an approval request
Once a file has been through any last revisions and updates, you can elect to Approve or Decline a file.
My Response (Approve / Decline)
The Review Request overlay also contains the 'My Response' section where Reviewers can submit their response.
Your response may complete the request so it's important to ensure that all your Markup Comments and Annotations are made before submitting a response, as these can't be added once a request is completed.
Request Status in the Record
Once a request is made, you will see a 'Pending' status displayed for that file(s) in the upload field list within the record. Any change to the file's status will be updated here.
Additionally, if you are a selected Reviewer you will also notice a small indicator in the record to alert you when the request is waiting your response. Once you have responded, if others still need to respond to complete the request, the status will change from 'Pending' to 'Pending others'.
Required By information and the stage a request is in will also appear when applicable.
Workflow Request List
As well as being able to see the approval status and other workflow information within the record, as shown above, participants of a File Approval workflow request will also be able to see these requests in the Workflow Request List (a.k.a 'Approval Centre') along with other workflow requests from across the platform that they have permission to see and/or review.
Display Approval Status to all Record Users
If you want all users who can access a record to be able to see the approval status of files within - even if they are not a participant in the workflow request - then you can enable the 'Display Approval Status To All Record Users' in the form builder settings.
This will allow users who otherwise have no permission to these file approval requests to monitor the status, but they will not be able to see other workflow request information, nor will this extend to the requests they can see in the Workflow Request List.
Restrict Download on Declined/Cancelled files
If you want to ensure users who can access the record do not download and potentially use files that have either been purposefully Declined, or when requests may need to be Cancelled for any reason, then the setting Restrict Download on Declined/Cancelled Files can be selected in the form builder.
When enabled, all users (including Admins) will not be able to download Declined or Cancelled files from either the file list in the record, or via download links in the Download PDF of the record.
Note that participants that were involved in the request will always be able to download the files via the Request Details location, in case the file needs to be further workshopped and re-submitted.
Additionally, if General Markup Comments is also enabled for the Multi Upload field, then download options remain present there.
Only Publish Approved Files to Folders
If Workflows are enabled for a Multiple Upload field, along with the Publish to Folder setting, a new option will be available called Only Publish Approved Files in the form builder.
When this is enabled, a file in this upload field must have had an Approval request made, and that has been Approved before the option to Publish it into the DAM will be available.
You can read more about Publish to Folder here.
Hide Decline in Reviewer's Response
There may be some instances where you do not want to offer the option for Reviewers to Decline a request - as this may instead prompt users to continue to workshop files via rounds of feedback made in either General Markup Comments or File Approval Markup Comments & Annotations.
If this is the case, in the Workflow Template settings in the Admin location, you can set the Hide Decline Response Option to 'Yes' for a new or existing File Approval Workflows. Should a file request look like it will not be able to meet approval criteria due to, for example, a change in the brief or project, then these requests can still be Cancelled.
Note that if this Workflow template already is applied to a field or fields, it will need to be removed and re-added there for the updated setting to apply - it is recommended that you make note of any changes that may have been made to the settings at that local level as they will need to be updated again when you add the template back. Also note if updating an existing workflow that this 'Hide Decline' feature will only apply to new requests made from that point onwards. Existing Pending requests will continue to show Approve option(s).
Please note that the 'Records', 'Databases' and 'Workflow' terminology referenced above may appear differently in your platform as these are customisable terms. You can view related terminology here.
If you have any further questions about Record File Approvals, please contact your Customer Success Manager.