Advanced Multi-Step Approvers

The Approvals feature allows Account Admins to setup "Approvers" with the ability to approve or deny submissions. When an end user submits a Form, the Approvers will be notified via email so they can review the submission and approve or deny and add notes for their team regarding the status of the submission. You can read more about the basic approval functionality here, but this article will go into the advanced, multi-step approvers.

Multi-Step Approvals

You can add an approval series to your submissions. For example Route first to Amy for approval/denial; then to Jessica for approval/denial if Amy approves; and so on. If a denial occurs, the submission stops at that person in the process.

To add multi-step approvers to your submissions, add your first approver under the Settings > Approvals tab of the form. Then, click Add Multiple Steps.


This will bring up the option to add the additional approver(s) in the flow. The submission will only be emailed to approver(s) in step two after they are approved by the approver(s) in step one; however, the approvers in sequential steps can still approve the submission from within the app. After the approvers in step one approved, the approval email will be sent out to the approvers in the next step. If an approver from a sequential step approves the submission before previous approvers, the status will still be pending until all approvers have approved.


If you set up multi-step approvals and add logic to the approver on step one, but that logic never gets met, the submission will skip step one in the approval and move on to step two. So, this is a good way to have specific submissions routed to different approvers based on set criteria/logic, but only allow approval or denial of that specific submission by the set approver.



Skipping Approvers

If you have multiple Approvers on a Form, the Form/Account Admins have the option to skip an Approver when needed.  To activate a Skip, go into the Form > Submissions tab > click the Submission in question.  Under the Approval status in the upper-left corner of the Submission, click the approver you would like to skip and click the "Skip" option to remove them as an Approver from the individual Submission.




Frequently asked Approval feature questions:


Q: If one person denies an Approval on a submission, will the whole submission be denied?

A: Yes, in order for a Submission to be marked as Approved, every Approver MUST individually approve the Submission.  


Q: Once a Submission has been approved by all Approvers, can it be undone?

A: If all Approvers have approved a Submission then the status is set and we do not have a way to undo or reverse the status.  If the Submission is waiting to be approved by other members of your team, then you can change the approval status, as the submission is still in a "pending" mode.


Q: Does an Approver need their own Formstack account?

A: Yes, all Approvers must have their own Formstack account.  If they do not have an account, one can be setup during the Approval setup process.  If your account plan does not have enough user account seats for the Approvers, then you will need to upgrade to the next plan level.


Q: Do I have to log into Formstack to Approve/Deny a Submission?

A: No, when a Form enabled with Approvals is submitted, an email is sent to all Approvers and they may approve or deny a Submission right from the email without having to log into Formstack.  The only exception to this is if you require your Approvers to log in to approve/deny a submission.


Q; How are integrations processed and handled when Approvals are enabled on a Form?

A: Not all integrations will support running after all Approvals have come in and will need to run when the Form is submitted. These are what we call non-queued integrations and these include Payment processors and any integration that redirects the end user to another site immediately after submitting. This also includes file uploads.  In cases where these integrations are being used on a Form, the Routing Logic option for submit actions will NOT be available and these integrations will run as soon as the Form is submitted.  For integrations that are queued, do not redirect or can be delayed, you can setup Routing Logic rules so these integrations only run after the submission has been fully approved.


Q; When using Approvals, when are Notification and Confirmation emails sent?

A: Notification and Confirmation Emails can either be sent immediately after the Form is submitted or you may add Email Logic rules so that these messages are only sent after the Form has been Approved/Denied.


Q: When I log into Submissions I see ones that say "no approval needed" what does this mean?

A: What this means is the submissions does not need to be approved by you. Someone else in your organization will be responsible for this submission.


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