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Workflow Error: "An error has occured in Approval"

Workflow Error: "An error has occured in Approval"

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What we have here is not actually a how to , nor does it point to a known issue, it's more of a logical reason behind writing the entry.

As a starting point, we have the SharepPoint standard Approval workflow which can, through the UI, easily be attached to a document library to kick in whenever a new document gets created and get the required approvers to review and approve the document for publishing.

Now if you will think that this is an easy task (to set-up this workflow) you are absolutely correct if you pay attention to the small details, here it goes:

For a document library or list , go to Settings->Workflow Settings->Add Workflow

Choose the Approval workflow from the list, make it start on item creation go to the second workflow page.

Select the approvers to your liking and check "Update the approval status (use this workflow to control content approval) "

Finish and create a document in the library.

Now for the fun part:

Although this might seem as an easy straightforward task the workflow might after all still end-up in error:

11/19/2008 7:21 PM Error
No presence information System Account
An error has occured in Approval

Why, do you ask? well because the key is the word "approval".This is an approval workflow which should among getting the approvals update the approval status of the document so, if you missed one tiny little step like setting the approval for the document library this simple task will fail at the end.The workflow will start and run flawlessly until the end when it will try to update the approval status.If this setting is set to not to require content approval it will fail to update it hence throwing the above error.

So, if you encounter this, just go into the document library settings and go to Versioning Settings Page

Set "Require content approval for submitted items to?" to yes and everything should be fine.


  • Your post saved me hours of digging.................AWESOME

  • I am getting same error. But as i set above mention option to True, i just add another option and column too, in form library. This does not help in workflow error any more. Please if you solve this problem, please mention here.

  • I would say to start with usual troubleshooting methods , as the error above is a very generic one.

    Check the Sharepoint Logs for errors and see for how to enable debuglevel logging on workflows.

  • Is it works for workflow which get start manually.

  • I have been searching for 2 months for the solution to this problem.  FINALLY I found this and it works!  Now I can proceed on with the project.  Thank you!

  • Thanks Victor.  This was the first link Google returned and we are good to go in seconds because of it.

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