Approval Templates are now available for testing in Microsoft Teams Public Preview. You may have to ask your administrator to enable Public Preview for you – or just wait a little longer until feature is fully tested before it rolls to generally available production. However if you are the one sharing information in your organization you may want to get familiar with the feature to provide people instructions and guides how to use it when it is available. Or just to prepare your organizations approval templates so you are ready when it ships.
If you are a admin / template owner you will find Approval templates “Manage templates” in the right-hand corner of Approval-application, behind … menu. You do get a message highlighting about this new feature.
When you get there the first time you don’t see any templates
You will be able then to pick up one of templates to get started – or you can create one from the scratch. The list is quite long so I opened it here to be more easily read:
After you have chosen the template (or from the scratch) then you need to define the scope of your template: is it intended for everyone (org-wide), specific team members or for specific users use.
Creation of the Admin team
Now comes the part that is done only once when templates are created the first time. A new team is created and you need to add people to the team – as owners – who will be able to create and manage templates in the future.
After a few moments
Yes – read the warning and write there a message or mark the team to your IT department that is needs to be safe from expiration and other policies.
Editing the template / designing the form
Now we can proceed with template editing. First you specify your own title and description unless you want to use the once provided by the template.
Form design part is familiar to everyone who has been using Forms. It is Forms! It comes with some limitations though.
What you can add is quite basic
And finally you define the approval process: do you choose approvers in advance or let the requestor choose them and what kind of answers there will be
You can also specify do all need to approve, or is one enough.
When you are ready hit Preview to see the result.
From the preview you can then Publish the template for everyone to use. Yes – Publish activates it instantly.
In this view I have this newly created template but also a one I created earlier
Using template with Approval request
When you create a new approval using Approval application you can see there is a tab Templates
Let’s choose the Gift application we just created.
We enter the details. And as can be seen : we can not specify who will be approving it – That has already been set at the template.
And when everything is done… you will send it.
BUT as can be seen: it doesn’t work yet since Send-button remains disabled despite all fields are filled. I even tried one from the scratch with very little information so it looks like I can not test the full process just yet.
Approval templates will be very useful for formalizing those requests that now “run wild” with Approval application. Because the editor is Forms-based it is intuitive and easy to use. What needs to be watched upon is the Template Admin-team that is created in the process – and that the team is not deleted.
Of course those can be created with Microsoft 365: Forms/SharePoint Lists + Power Automate Process so the workflow can be part of business process and include more options & integration but for office/lightweight use cases these templates are extremely handy too.