A General Approach on Building an Approval Process Workflow

July 12, 2023

Create an approval process in Jotform. Different companies or businesses will always have their approval process. Surely, we can’t cover all of them so this guide will be leaning more towards discussing general guidelines on how to come up with a workflow that fits your requirements.

First off, what’s an approval process? You may already have one in place and want to incorporate it with your forms. In layman’s terms, this process is just a way to have someone approve or deny a submission, entry, registration, or request.

Note that every approval flow starts with a form so go ahead and create your first web form with Joform.

How to Create an Approval Flow

You can build an approval flow easily with Jotform Approvals. Without any coding, you can turn your online forms into custom automated approval flows. Just drag and drop to add approvers, emails, conditional branches, and more to your approval process.

To create an approval flow

  1. In the Form Builder, select Settings at the top.
  2. Go to Approval Flows on the left.
  3. Select Create an approval flow.
Steps to create an approval flow in Jotform Form Builder

This will open the Jotform Approvals builder with a basic approval flow.

A basic approval flow in Jotform Approvals

Here’s a demo form to try out a basic approval process with Jotform Approvals. To learn more, see How to Create an Approval Flow in Jotform.

The Old Method for Creating an Approval Process Workflow


The information below is our old method for creating an approval process workflow. We aim to merge this method in our new Jotform Approvals, but in some cases, this may still come in handy.

We’d like to showcase some key features and options we have that you can use to come up with an alternative approval process on your own.

Here’s a typical use case to give you an idea of how it works:

  1. The customer submits a form.
  2. Manager A receives it via email and reviews the entry.
  3. Manager A confirms and approves it by editing the submission and re-submitting it.
  4. Manager B (or someone else) receives another email after Manager A’s approval.
  5. The customer receives an email about whether he’s approved or denied.

With the scenario above, one key ingredient would be the emails. Regardless of how long the approval process is (e.g. if two or more managers need to check and review the submission), it all boils down to notifying the intended recipient before or after a submission gets approved or denied.

So, in theory, these are all the features you need to make this work:

  • A hidden field — Will serve as the approval status. Our recommendation is to use a drop-down menu. This will simplify the process by only allowing someone to pick from 2 different options – either Approved or Denied.
  • Email Notifications — Will be used to send emails to managers, staff, or anyone needed in the approval process.
  • Autoresponders — Will be used to send emails to your customers. You may create different Autoresponder templates for approved or denied customers.
  • Widgets — You need the Get Form Page URL widget which will be used in conjunction with Conditions and a Signature Field as a part of the approval process if necessary.
  • Edit Link — The submission’s edit link which will be used with Conditional Logic to trigger an action based on the URL where the form is being filled out.
  • Conditional Logic — Will be the core of the entire workflow and there are plenty of reasons why we need conditions, all of which will be discussed later.

To set up the approval flow

  1. Add a Dropdown element to your form with Approved and Denied options.
An Approval Status dropdown in Jotform Form Builder
  1. Set up your Email Notifications and Autoresponders at your discretion.
Steps to edit a notification or autoresponder in Jotform Form Builder

These email templates will be used later on with your Conditional Logic. One important feature that needs to be enabled on your autoresponders is the Send on Edit option. Ensure that it is enabled so your form fillers receive the autoresponder upon editing their submission.

Steps to enable an autoresponder's Send Email On option in Jotform Form Builder
  1. Add the submission’s edit link to the email that would be sent to the person in charge of deciding the approval.
Steps to add the edit link in Jotform Form Builder's Autoresponder email
  1. Add the Signature element to your form if your approval process requires an e-signature from your approver.
The Signature element in Jotform Form Builder

You can also use any of the signature widgets.

  1. Next, add a Get Form Page URL widget to your form.
Steps to add Get Form Page URL widget in Jotform Form Builder
  1. Lastly, set up your Conditional Logic.

The conditions highly depend on how you want your approval process to work. Here are some possible scenarios and the needed conditions to make them happen:

A basic approval's conditions in Jotform Form Builder
  • To send an autoresponder email to the form filler once they have been approved or denied, use a Change E-Mail Recipient condition. See How to Send Emails Conditionally to learn more.
  • To show the hidden Approval Status and Signature fields once the approver views the entry through the edit submission link, add a Show/Hide Field condition. See How to Show or Hide Fields on Edit URL for more information.

That should be the bare minimum to make this work. Here’s a demo form to see what it looks like. Since this is a fairly advanced topic, it’s recommended that you’re familiar with how conditions work. To better understand, you can clone the demo form.

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