SharePoint 2010 – How to change the approval workflow e-mail messages with SharePoint Designer

In SharePoint Designer 2010 you have the option to attach and customize an approval workflow to a list or library. The workflow will send out multiple e-mails to initiator and approver(s). These e-mails can be modified. Let’s take a look!

The following e-mail is sent to the approver of the workflow:


Customers are often not happy with the text of the e-mail because they want to make it more personal. I agree with this so we often change it. In this article I want to show you how this works.

In my example I attached an approval task to a document library:


Click Approval:


Now you have the option to change the configuration of the approval workflow! Not only the e-mail messages but you can also create multiple outcomes. To change the e-mail to the approver you have to click on Change the behavior of a single task:


Click Current Task:Assigned To:


Do you recognize the text? This is the e-mail message sent to the approver! We can start changing the text. Let’s make it more personal. Delete all the text above To complete this task and create the following text:

Dear “Full name of the approver”,

You are assigned by “Full name initiator” to approve the document: “Name document”.

Let’s start building this new e-mail.

 Full name of the approver
Click Add or Change lookup and a pop-up will appear:


You can now look for a value you want to use in the e-mail, in our case we want to show the display name of the Approver. Let’s select the following:


Instead of Display Name you can also pick e-mail address or login name but display name is more user friendly.

 Full name initiator
Click Add or Change lookup and select the following:


“Name document”
Click Add or Change lookup and select the following:


The e-mail sent to the approver contains a button Open this task. This will open the following menu:


Sometimes this form won’t open so I always like to add a link to the SharePoint URL to open the form in the browser. You have to do the following:

Click this button 2012-05-25-ChangeApprovalWorkflow-10A.png and:


The e-mail will contain a hyperlink to the online approval form:


Pretty cool right? You can also change the look and feel of the approval form with InfoPath. Go to the theForms section of the workflow settings and change this. I will show this in another article.

You are now ready to publish the workflow and you can test the changes by uploading a new document and checking the e-mail.

We only changed one e-mail but there are many more:

  • Approval e-mail to the approvers
  • Cancellation of the task
  • Completion of the task

To change these you have to go through the the following options:


My advice is to first receive one of these e-mails and then look for them in an e-mail action in one of the options of the screenshot!