Manage Approvals (beta)

This feature is available with G Suite Enterprise, Enterprise for Education, Drive Enterprise, Business, Education, and Nonprofits edition. Compare editions

With Approvals, users can set documents in Drive for formal approval, and requesters can assign documents to reviewers for approval. Reviewers can approve, reject, or leave feedback on documents that require approvals, all directly within Drive, Gmail, Docs, and other G Suite editors. The approvals process can be used for formal approval situations, like getting approval on a contract, for a new hire, or approving changes for a document set to be published.

Once a document is sent for review, Approvals will lock it. Locked files cannot be edited until they are unlocked or approved. Through this process, users can set documents for review and not worry about them being altered until after the document is approved.

Note: Requesting and reviewing approvals is currently only supported for desktop, it’s not supported for mobile yet.

Sign Up for the Approvals beta

To sign up, fill out this form.

How to send beta feedback

You can provide feedback directly in the product.

  1. Click Menu.
  2. Click Send Feedback.

Control Approvals

As an admin, you have a few additional controls for approvals in the Admin console. You can enable or disable the document approval process, and you can allow for documents inside or outside of your organization to be eligible for Approvals.

Enable approvals
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Approvals.
  4. Choose the Organizational Unit to enable approvals for using the menu to the left.
  5. Click On for Allow approval requests on files owned by your organization.
  6. Click On for Allow users in your organization to request approvals on file.
Enable approvals for docs outside of your organization
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Approvals.
  4. On the left, select the organizational unit where you want to to enable approvals.
  5. Click On for Allow users in your organization to request approvals on files.

Using Approvals

Request an approval

To request an approval in Drive:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Right-click the document for approval.
  3. Select Approvals.
  4. In the window that opens, click New Request.
  5. In Add approvers, write the name of your reviewers.
  6. Add a message in the Message field and click Add due date to request an approval date.
  7. Click Send request.

To request an approval in a Document:

  1. Click File and then Approvals.
  2. In the window that opens, click New Request.
  3. Write the name of your reviewers in the Add approvers field.
  4. Add a message in the Message field and click Add due date to request an approval date.
  5. Press the Send request button.

If you request the approval from a single reviewer, the document will be approved or rejected once the reviewer has made their choice. If you request the approval from multiple reviewers, the document will be approved if all reviewers approve the file, or rejected if a single reviewer rejects the file.

Check the status of an approval

You can inspect a document in the approval process in Drive in the details pane to the right whenever you click on a document. When you do so, the Approvals panel will include:

  • Who the requester for the document is.
  • Who the reviewers are.
  • If they’ve approved or rejected the document.
  • The due date for the approval.

Admins and the creator can cancel the approval request at any time.

Cancel an approval

Once a document has been sent for approval, it is locked. While a file is locked, its content, comments, and all aspects of the file (except the title and metadata) cannot be changed.

If a file needs to be updated, an editor for the file can unlock the document. To do so in Drive:

  1. Select the file.
  2. Click the Approvals panel.
  3. Click Open.
  4. Click More More on the top right of the page.
  5. Click Cancel request.
    • You can include an optional message to send to the approver.
  6. Click Confirm.

Once a file has been unlocked, the approval process is cancelled. You are free to edit the file and send it for approval again.

Review a document to be approved

Once a document has been sent for approval, you will be alerted through email or a Drive notification about the request. Included in the message is a link to the file to be reviewed. Click the link to be taken to the document under review.

Once in the document, you can leave review comments, reject, or approve the document. Doing so will alert the editors for the document on the updated status.

Known issues

  • Requesting and reviewing approvals is currently only supported for desktop, it’s not supported for mobile yet.
  • Users who are not a part of the approval beta will not be able to interact with the approval system. Non-beta users will not be able to view or unlock files locked by beta users using the approval process.
  • Android and iOS® Google Docs, Sheets, and Slide apps will act as though they can edit locked Microsoft® Office® files, but will fail when trying to save them. In future versions of Approvals, the corresponding apps will warn users when they open those files.
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