How can I setup Approval Workflow?

Focus:  The focus of this self-help article is to provide information on “Approval Workflows” and steps to setup workflows for your templates that will be used when sending out future documents.

What is an Approval Workflow?:

  • Workflows are only available for the Business and Enterprise plans.
  • An Approval Workflow is set on the Template level. Every document made from a Template with an Approval Workflow enabled must be “approved” before it can be sent to the recipient(s). A Workflow defines the lifecycle of a document, allowing additional steps like document Approval. Under Dashboard – You will see a status called “To Approve” that will show all documents using this feature.
  • Under Documents – You will see a list of your documents and “Approvers/Recipients” to easily review which team members have been associated with using this feature.

What is new to this feature?:  As of 10/09/2017, we have updated this feature to include the following options:

  • Ability to setup multiple approvers and groups of approvers
  • Document list view now shows “Approvers” next to “Recipients”
  • Actions panel and Audit Trail will show all actions related to approval

Email notifications: Emails will flow in order, as defined in the workflow. If approval workflow is enabled, an email will be sent to the approver(s) to take an action on the document. . Each time approval / rejection happens, the author of the document receives a notification about that. When the document is approved by all approvers, it is ready to be sent.

Documents / Templates – Upload and Create: Workflow is available for both Templates that have been uploaded or created in PandaDoc. Note that an  “Approval Workflow” must be set at the Template level.

Please note:  Only Admins or Managers within that workspace (or the Account Owner) can be document Approvers. Please sure to check out team setup by going to Settings > Teams.

Step 1: Enable Workflow/Approval Process in the PandaDoc Add-ons Store.  On the lower left, go to Add-ons Store, click on the “Workflow” Category, find “Approvals” and click on Add to PandaDoc to review and enable.

Step 2: Access Workflow. Open a new or existing template. Click on “More,” then “Workflow” to open the options.

Step 3:  Enable workflow. Use the toggle to enable the workflow option for the template.

Step 4: Add Approvers and set approval order. First, ensure “APPROVAL ORDER IS ON.” Next, add individual approvers or an approver group and set up the order in which they will approve the document.

Step 5: Adding individual Approvers… *Reminder: Approvers must be either the Owner or Admins/Managers of that particular Workspace.

Step 5a: Groups of Approvers… An “Approver Group” consists of multiple Approvers (only one member of the “Approver Group” needs to approve the document).

Add a name for the group:

Add users to the group:

Make sure to click “Save” once you have completed the setup.

Step 6: Review and/or edit “Approval Settings.”  Once enabled, you can view or edit your Template’s Approval Workflow settings from Templates > More > Workflow > “Approval Settings.”

Step 7: Creating a document with Approval Workflow enabled.  In a document created from a Template with Approval Workflow enabled, you will see “Send for Approval” instead of the regular “Send” button.

Step 7a: Send for Approval dialog… Once you click “Send for Approval” a pop-up will be displayed where you can add a note for your Approvers and then “Send for Approval.”

Step 8: Approvers Review…. When the document is sent out for approval, the Approver will open the document and see the options to either “Reject Document” or “Approve Document.”

Step 8a: Rejecting…. If the document needs to be updated, the Approver can click ”Reject,” add a message and send it back to the document creator to edit.

Step 8b: Accepting… If the document looks good, the Approver can approve the document, add notes and notify the document creator that the document is approved for sending.

Example of a document that has been rejected and is ready to be “edited.”

Example of an approved document, now ready to “Send.”

Step 9: Audit Trail Review…. At any time you can open the document, go to Activity > Audit Trail to review the approval/rejection process, when it was done and who approved/rejected it:

Step 10: Activity – Actions Review… At any time, you can go to Activity > Actions to review the updates to the document. Including who “sent” the document to be approved and which team members “Approved” it.

Step 11: Approval Workflow email notifications:

Example Email – To Approve:

Example Email – Approved:

Example Email – Rejected:

Step 12: List view, showing Approvers and Recipients… At any time, you can go to “Documents” on the left to see the list of approvers and recipients for the document. 


Step 13: Dashboard Notifications. Below you will find the list of Statuses that could appear when using this feature. All of these statuses will be shown under the main category of “To Approve.”

To Approve:



Common Questions and Answers:

  1. Who can be an approver in the workflow?
    1. Only those with Manager or Admin privileges (in the same workspace as the document) can be Approvers.
    2. If custom roles are applied, they must have “Can approve documents” permission in order to be an Approver.
  1. How can user edit a workflow ? User should go to the template and edit the workflow there, from Workflow panel.Only those with Manager or Admin privileges (in the same workspace as the document) can edit approval workflow.
    If custom roles are applied, user should have “Can create & edit approval workflows” permission in order to enable, disable or edit the approval workflow.
    Important note: Workflow editing does NOT work on the document level, even for admins or managers.
  1. How is it possible to reuse a workflow? Yes! Duplicate a template, and workflow will get duplicated with it. Duplicating a document will also duplicate the approval workflow.
  1. Is it possible to skip the workflow? Currently it’s not possible to do that via user interface. Please contact if your document is stuck in Approval Workflow and you need help.
  1. Is it possible to use Roles in the Workflow? No, roles are currently only related to recipients.
  1. Is it possible to reuse Groups in different templates? Not currently. Approver groups are set up on specific templates – there is no separate page to view/manage Approver Groups.
  1. What happens if an Approver is deleted from a workspace? The Approver should be removed from the Workflow prior to being removed from the workspace. If not, the Approver will remain in the Approval Workflow and could prevent completion of the approval process. Please email if your document is stuck because of that.
  1. Is it possible to add the same Approver to the workflow twice? It is possible if ordering is ON. You can add the same Approver several times if you need them to approve the document at multiple stages. If ordering is OFF, the document will go to all recipients simultaneously so there is no point in adding an Approver multiple times.
  1. How does disabling Approvals add-on affect UI? When Approvals add-on is disabled, the Workflow panel will not be visible on Templates.

Have questions? For faster support please:

  1. Log in to PandaDoc
  2. Click on the “Help” button next to your profile icon
  3. Choose Submit Help Request option

Or feel free to contact us using our public form:

Contact Support