Frequently asked questions and answers about the Group Approval workflow

The feature described in this Help topic is available only if any of the following versions of both Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 are installed: Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Japanese, or Korean.

Can Group Approval be used in conjunction with other workflows?

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides solutions that support many possible workflows within the organization as well as Group Approval. For more information on supported workflows, see Help for each of those. However, Group Approval cannot share the same document library with other workflow solutions because it uses a document library exclusively. A separate document library needs to be created on the Team Site to use other workflow solutions. For more information, see Help for the workflows.

In other words, even though you choose to add other workflows on the Customize My Approval page which is specified page of Group Approval, the added workflows will not work properly.

Both the Site Collection features group and the Site features group have a button that activates the Group Approval. How are the two buttons different?

To ensure that Group Approval works properly, you must activate Group Approval feature on the Site Collection features page first and then on the Site features page.

If the solution is activated on the Site features page first, Group Approval will not work properly. To deactivate Group Approval, follow the sequence in reverse.

Note: Group Approval can be activated only in the top level site of a site collection.

Can I change the screen configuration of Group Approval? Can I also create and add a new view? Can I add Web Part of Group Approval?

Changing or deleting the existing view may cause Group Approval to malfunction. If you encounter a problem after modifying the view, deactivate Group Approval and activate Group Approval again to fix the problem. Web Parts for Group Approval such as Web Parts for My Approval document library and Document ID Log Report list are available but because some of them require a higher permission to access, test the page with various permission levels before publishing the web site.

Note: Avoid editing views by using SharePoint Designer or Edit Page function.

Can I add a new column on the screen?

While adding a new column to show on the default views — Personal Folders, For Approval, Proposed by Me, Rejected for Me, and Approved by Me — is not allowed, you can create and add a new column to admin view.

You can create a new column in the Columns folder on the Customize My Approval page, and then add it to the admin view in the Views folder.

Does the stamp guarantee identity of the submitter and the signer?

It is possible to forge the image of a stamp. Therefore, there is a limit to guarantee the actual signer's identity. Click the stamp displayed on the screen and right click the mouse button, and then click Signature Information. In the Signature Information dialog box, click View to see detailed information about the certificate used when it is signed. The certificate is more trustworthy than the stamp image, however, there is yet a limit to guarantee the actual signer's identity according to the reliability of the publishing company or certificate sharing policy. Therefore, administrator must build the enterprise reliable certificate system. For more details, see Help for certificate in Windows Server Help.

Note: Group Approval monitors all the workflow process and verifies the users based on users' account information. A user without proper permission and account cannot participate in the approval process.

I understand that Group Approval is based on a document library from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Does it require any special attention in administration?

Yes, Group Approval is based on a document library from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Every document library has the Customize document library name page for managing relevant settings. Like any other document library, Group Approval also uses the Customize my approval page to customize features. To access the Customize my approval page, click My Approval, Settings, and then My Approval Settings on the Site Settings page.

Modifying the defaults of some customizable settings may affect the operations of Group Approval. Go to the Document Library Advanced Settings: My Approval page by clicking Advanced Settings under General Settings, and then make sure that the following settings keep their defaults to the following settings.

  • Allow management of content types?      Setting it only to Yes ensures that multiple templates can be registered and used in Group Approval. Make sure that Yes is selected.

  • Opening browser-enabled documents      Select the Open in the client application check box to allow Microsoft Office Word or Microsoft Office Excel to open the document.

Can an Group Approval site be restored into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server site after it is backed up?

Yes, you should backup and restore Group Approval site by web application. Backup and restore every sites which was set to the application.

Can I set RSS Feeds for Group Approval?

Group Approval provides RSS Feed which is one of the basic features of document library of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Users can subscribe to it with RSS reader to see the document list. However, you cannot categorize documents by the status of approval process in RSS reader. You can view the document properties but cannot open, approve or reject documents with the list RSS provided.

How does Group Approval reflect any organizational changes, such as reorganization and employees who are on temporary leave or have left the company?

If an organization has been dissolved and removed , files stored in the removed organization's folder will be moved and stored in the parent organization's folder. If an organization is renamed, the archive automatically reflects the change, eliminating the need for manual control.

On the other hand, any changes occurring during the approval process require the administrator's manual control as applicable. For example, if a document has been submitted for approval but the submitter's department is dismissed from the company, that document is stored in the Undetermined folder in the archive. It is because the document number, which is assigned as soon as a document is submitted, is used to determine in which folder to store the document. When the latter approver is removed from organization chart before the former approver approves, the approval process cancel notice is e-mailed to the former approvers and the approval process is canceled. However, if the latter approver is removed from organization chart after the former approver’s approval, the approval process is not canceled but the submitter is not notified thus a separate management is needed. Then, the document remains in the Proposed by Me folder in case of the submitter, and in the Approved by Me folder in case of the former approver. An error occurs when you select the remained document and right click the mouse button and then select View Properties. This requires the submitter or the administrator to check and cancel the approval process as needed and submit the document again for approval.

When I click Users and Organizations page under Group Approval, an error message, the organization chart is inconsistent, appears. What is the reason and resolution for this problem?

This is because you deleted the Group under Group Approval through People and Groups page of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Click Here on displayed error message. On the page you moved, click Actions - Solve Inconsistency of Organization Tree. Delete organization from the organization chart which you removed from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. To use the deleted group in Group Approval, you should register it again on the Group Approval organization chart. Make it positioned consistently with the exisitng organization chart and department folder structure. For more details, see Create Organization Chart.

I have created a distribution group on a Microsoft Exchange Server when creating role groups(or approval roles). What if a role group is deleted or its members change? Will such changes be automatically reflected in the distribution group?

Yes, they will. Deleting a role group will also delete its distribution group. Renaming a role group deletes the existing distribution group and creates a distribution group with a new name. And, any changes to the role group members are immediately reflected in the distribution group, provided that the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server administrator also has the Exchange server administrator privilege.

Can I remove a template registered with Group Approval?

Yes, you can, as long as the Web server has no documents created with that template when you attempt to delete it. All the documents created with the template need to be deleted from the Recycling Bin of the Web server as well as from the Group Approval archive. We recommend that templates be hidden from the user rather than deleted.

When auditing the archived documents, there should be no missing numbers in the document archive. Is there any way I can check every document number?

Group Approval provides a document log report apart from the document archive. Document ID Log Report is a useful tool for managing and auditing documents by number, listing all numbered documents by department and displaying a summarized approval record log for each document.

To see the report, click Document ID Log Report under Group Approval Administration on the Site Setting page. The report lists any organization that is registered with the organization chart and has any document that has been submitted. Clicking + next to the organization lists all documents by issued document number. Clicking + next to the document you want displays the document's record. The number within the parentheses () indicates the number of document instances by status, and might be therefore larger than the number of actual documents.

You can also display the log report in a different format as needed. Click Actions on the taskbar of the Document ID Log Report page, and then click Edit in Datasheet or Export to Spreadsheet to convert the report to the spreadsheet or datasheet format. Control the converted data as needed. Note that deleting or modifying the data invalidates the document log report.

How do I set up notification by e-mail?

Group Approval is an electronic approval solution created by Microsoft and based on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server technology, which also enables the notification feature by linking to the e-mail system. For more information about setting up notification by e-mail, see Help for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.

After notification by e-mail is set up, the submitters or approvers are automatically notified of requests for approval or approval status and receive summary e-mail messages when the approval process is completed. If you use Exchange Server, it conveniently allows you to create and manage a distribution group for Group Approval approval roles. Fore more information, click Create Approval Roles.

How can I change Group Approval to align it with the approval process of the company?

Group Approval provides a way to change or customize the workflow process. You can refer to ECM Starter Kit for 2007 Office System which can be found at Download Center

I need to handle files or folders manually. How can I do this?

You need to use Cut and Paste instead of Copy and Paste.

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