Get approvals on files in Google Drive

You can get approvals on your content in Google Drive. When your material is ready for review, you can lock the file and ask the recipient to approve the already drafted content. 

Request an approval

When your document is ready for review, open the approval panel to start a new request. 

From Google Drive file list

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Right-click the file And then click Approvals.
  3. In the sidebar on the right, click New Request
  4. In the window that appears, enter the approval request details: 
    • Approver's email address. 
    • Optional: A due date.
    • Optional: A message.
    • Optional: Click Allow approvers to edit this file to give edit access to the file. 
    • Tip: Approvers who don't have edit access can't unlock the file to leave comments, make changes, or view changes during the approval. 
  5. Click Send Request. 

From Google Drive preview

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Double click on the file to open Drive preview. This will open for files that aren't Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Microsoft Office files. 
  3. To open the sidebar, in the top right, click Menu 3 dot menu icon And then Approvals.
  4. Click New Request. 
  5. In the window that appears, enter the approval request details: 
    • Approver's email address. 
    • Optional: A due date. 
    • Optional: Click Allow approvers to edit this file to give edit access to the file. 
      1. Tip: Approvers who don't have edit access can't unlock the file to leave comments, make changes, or view changes during the approval. 
  6. Click Send Request. 

From Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Double click on the file to open the file in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  3. To open the sidebar, on the top, click File And then Approvals.
  4. In the sidebar, click New Request.
  5. In the window that appears, enter the approval request details:
    • Approver's email address.
    • Optional: A due date.
    • Optional: A message.
  6. Optional: Click Allow approvers to edit this file to give edit access to the file.
    • Tip: Approvers who don't have edit access can't unlock the file to leave comments, make changes, or view changes during the approval.
  7. Optional: You can lock files before you send out the request. Locked files can prevent anyone, even Editors, from editing or commenting on the file.
  8. Click Send Request.

Edit & reset approvals

By default, files undergoing approval remain unlocked. All editors are able to edit, comment, or make suggestions on the file. 

Important: Once an edit is made, all reviewers must approve the new changes to make sure the correct content is reviewed.

Lock a document 

Users can lock a document to make sure reviewers can’t change a file while it undergoes approval. Edits, comments and suggestions can't be added to locked documents.

Unlock a file to edit 

After a file is approved and locked, anyone with edit access can unlock the file and make new edits. 

Important: When a file is unlocked during an approval, already recorded approvals will be reset and previous approvers will need to re-approve the document. After the approvals are complete, you can unlock the file without resetting approvals. If edits are made after the completed approval process, the completed approvals will be associated with the previous version of the file. Learn how to check approvals on previous versions of a file

Unlock a Google Docs, Sheets or Slides file

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Double click on the file.
  3. At the top of the document, click Locked  And then Unlock file.

Unlock other file types in Google Drive

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Right-click on the file And then Unlock.

Approve or reject a file

In Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides, when an approval is in process, a banner will show at the top of the file. 

  • To approve the file, click Approve. You can also add an optional note. 
  • To reject the file, click Reject. You can also add an optional note.
  • To open the sidebar to review approval details, click View details.

Open approval sidebar

You can review the approval details of a document in the approval process in the sidebar. 

From Google Drive file list

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Right-click on the file And then Approvals.
  3. In the sidebar on the right, on the approval card that appears, click Open.  

From Google Drive preview

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Double click on the file to open Drive preview. This will open for files that aren't Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Microsoft Office files. 
  3.  To open the sidebar, in the top right, click Menu 3 dot menu icon And then Approvals.
  4. On the approval card that appears, click Open.   

From Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Double click on the file to open the file in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  3. To open the sidebar:
    • On the top, click File And then Approvals.
    • On the banner, click View details.

Review edits made during approval

For Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files, you can review content changes during an approval.

  1. Open the approval sidebar.
  2. On the sidebar on the right, select an option from the dropdown:

    • Since approval started
    • Since I last approved
    • Since last time I viewed
    Tips:
    • You must view changes from the approval sidebar or you won’t find the option “Since last time I viewed” in the dropdown.
    • The file must be approved or be unchanged or you won’t find the option “Since I last approved” in the dropdown.
  3. Click View.

Edit your request

After you file your approval request, you can change or cancel it.

  1. In the file, open the approval sidebar
  2. From the sidebar, you can:
    • Change approvers: Next to the current approver, click More More and then Change approver.
    • Add approvers: At the top right, click Add approvers Add approver .
    • Change the due date: At the top, click the due date  and enter a new date. 

Cancel approval request

If you no longer want someone to approve your request, you can cancel it.

  1. In the file, open the approval sidebar
  2. At the top right, click More More and then Cancel request.

Find files that need approval

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. At the top, in the search box, click the Down arrow Down arrow.
  3. Next to Approvals, select Awaiting my approval or requested by me.
  4. Click Search.

View previous approvals for a file

Important: You can only view previous approvals for Docs, Sheets, and Slides files.

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Open the file you to want to view approvals for.
  3. If approved versions are available, at the top, click View approved versions.
  4. In version history, on the right, click View approval detail.
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