How to Set up an Approval Element in Jotform Approvals

September 15, 2021

The approval element is the center, if not the brain, of the whole approval flow. This is where the deciding factor of the approval flow comes in. In the approval element, you define the outcomes. By default, Approve and Deny are the options. You can add more if you wish and even set up multistep and parallel approvals.

From the Approval Elements window (1), drag and drop Approval (2) to your workflow canvass. 

Click the gear icon next to the approval element to open its properties. 

The approval element has two sets of properties:

1) General

2) Advanced

Approval Properties: General

Label Name (1). You can update the name of an individual approval element. Make sure the name is appropriate, especially when you set up multistep and parallel approvals.

Outcomes (2) are also editable. You can add more by clicking the +Add new outcome link. You can change the outcome’s color by hovering over the option and clicking the ink drop icon:

Approver Email Address (3) is set to your primary account email address. You can change this to another email address or select an email field from the Form Fields dropdown. Note that you can only add one approver. 

 

Require login for approver (4). If you want to require people to log in before approving a request, keep this option checked. If not, uncheck this option. We highly recommend using account-based approval (i.e., requiring login). If approvers are logged in, they can track their approvals through JotForm. Creating an account with Jotform is free — forever. 

Customize Approval Request Email (5). Clicking the Edit button in this section will open the customization window. 

In the Email tab, you can update the email subject and email content.

In the Recipients tab, you can update the Sender Name, Reply-to Email, and Recipient Email

In the Advanced tab, you can upload a file attachment. Image files, PDFs, and Word documents are supported. You can also update the Sender Email. 

Related guides:

How to Add a Custom Sender Address to an Email Alert

How to Set up SMTP for a Form

Approval Properties: Advanced

 

Allow Reassign. If this is enabled, the assigned approver can reassign the approval request to someone else. You can also opt to get an email when the approval is reassigned.

 

Allow Comment. If this is enabled, the approver can add a comment to their approval. By default, the comment box is optional, but you can require it by toggling the Require option.

Escalation. If the primary approver fails to approve the request within the allowed time period, the request will automatically be sent to someone else. For example, if you set it to escalate after three days, and no action is taken by the original approver within that period, the request will automatically be sent to the defined recipient/email address on the fourth day. 

 

Expiration. You can set the approval request to expire automatically after a certain number of hours, days, weeks, or months, or on a custom date. This means that if the approver doesn’t approve the request within the defined time period, the request will automatically expire. 

You should set the expiration to greater than the escalation period. Otherwise, this will override the escalation step and automatically set the whole request as expired. 

 

Automatically Finish the Task. When toggled on, the request will automatically be completed with the selected outcome if the approver doesn’t process it within the defined time period. For example, if you set the task to auto-finish after seven days and choose approve as the outcome, the task/approval request will be approved on the eighth day if the approver takes no action by the seventh day. 

You should set this for a different period than the escalation. If the escalation is set to three days, set this to four days or greater. That way, you give the escalated approver time to complete the request. 

Don’t use this option when you set an expiration. If you wish to tag the request as completed, disable the expiration. 

Send Reminder Emails. Toggle this to send periodic emails to remind the approver to complete their tasks. You can customize the email by clicking the Edit button next to Customize Reminder Email. The reminder email is sent up to three times, which means it stops automatically after the third time. For example, you’ve chosen to remind the approver after one day, the reminder email will be sent after one day, two days, and three days but won’t be sent after four days. 

 

All changes are automatically saved for you. 

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