Episerver CMS iconManaging content approval sequences

Using content approvals in Episerver CMS is a way to make sure that content is reviewed and approved before it is published. If content approvals have been defined for an item, the editor cannot publish it but has to set it as Ready for Review. One or more appointed reviewers must then approve the content item before it can be published. The reviewers are defined by an administrator in an approval sequence. For a more detailed description of content approvals from an editor's perspective, see the Content approvals section.

How it works

You define an approval sequence for a specific page in the page tree or for a global or site-specific assets folder in the assets pane. You can then choose to let the item's or folder's children inherit the approval sequence, create a new approval sequence for the children or disable approval sequences for the children. For detailed information how content approval sequences work on assets, see Content approvals on assets.

The approval sequence overview is opened from a page's or assets folder's context menu:

In the approval sequence overview, you define the number of approval steps, you can have as many as you like, and also the persons responsible for review and approval in each of the steps.

Content approvals on assets

Each page in Episerver can have its own content approval sequence. Assets, such as blocks and media (and also forms and catalogs if you have Episerver Forms and Episerver Commerce respectively installed), cannot have individual approval sequences. Instead, the content approval sequence is set on each assets folder, and all assets in a folder have the same approval sequence set. Global and site-specific assets folders can either inherit their approval sequence from a parent folder (up to the site root), or an administrator can define a unique sequence for it (or disable it completely so that assets in the folder do not have to be approved). If there are no sequence set on a parent item, they inherit the disabled state.

Blocks and media in global (For All Sites) and site-specific (For This Site) folders inherit the content approval sequence from the parent node by default. Note that they inherit from the site root, which is not the same for global and site-specific folders. The global assets folders inherit from Root, while site-specific assets folders inherit from the site's root, that is Start in the example image below.
Image assets inheritance

Local assets folders always inherit their approval sequence from the page they are associated with.

See also Folders for a description of global, site-specific and local folders.

The Blocks and Media folders in the assets pane are actually the same folders in the software and share the same content approval sequences; the Blocks and Media tabs in the assets pane are merely a way of filtering out blocks if you are in the Media tab and vice versa. This means that if Adam is set as a reviewer on block folder Bunnies, Adam is also a reviewer of all media in media folder Bunnies.
As a result, if you edit a block in the Bunnies folder which links to images in the media folder Bunnies, and set the block to Ready for Review, the same content approval sequence is triggered also for the images.
Forms and catalogs have their own structures, so even if you have a Commerce catalog named Bunnies, it does not get the same content approval sequence as the Bunnies folders for blocks and media.

Assets added to an assets folder with a content approval sequence set are not auto published, even if the auto publish option is set (see Auto publish media on upload).

Content approvals on multi-language sites

If you are working with a multi-language site, you can define different reviewers for the different languages in each step. Each language must have at least one reviewer, but it is recommended to have at least two reviewers per language.

Items, such as images, that do not have a language set can be approved by any reviewer (even by reviewers that only have access to a specific language).

You can view how the approval sequence is defined for all languages or for each language individually by using the Display sequence for [language] drop-down list.

Setting up an approval sequence

Setting up an approval sequence (single language website)

This section describes how to set up an approval sequence for one language. If your website uses multiple languages, see Setting up an approval sequence on a multiple languages website.

Image intro to content approvals

  1. Open the approval sequence overview from an item's context menu (either in the navigation pane or assets pane).
  2. In the first step, type the first letter of the reviewer's name. Select the reviewer from the list of suggestions.

    A reviewer must have at least Read and Change access rights to the item to be able to review and approve it.

  3. Add at least one more reviewer to the step. You should always have at least two reviewers in each step, in case one of the reviewers is unable to review and approve.
  4. Optional: Click Untitled Step to rename the step to something more descriptive, for example Product marketing or ISO compliance review.
  5. Optional: To add more steps to the approval sequence, click the add button: Episerver image. You can rearrange the steps by drag and drop.
  6. Optional: If a reviewer should be required to enter a reason for approving or declining the content, select the Approve or Decline (or both) check boxes under Require comment on.
  7. Click Save.

Setting up an approval sequence for children items

When you have defined an approval sequence for an item, you can define if its children have to be approved or not.

  1. Open the approval sequence overview from a child item's context menu.
  2. Depending on how you want to set up the item's approval sequence, select one of the three radio buttons:
    • Enabled. This setting lets you edit and define the approval sequence any way you what. The approval sequence is not connected to the parent item's approval sequence. Set up the sequence in the same manner as described in the section above.
    • Inherited. This setting locks the approval sequence for the current item and it gets whatever settings its parent has. If the parent item's approval sequence is changed, so is the approval sequence for the current item.
    • Disabled. This setting disables the approval sequence for the item and it does not have to be approved.

Inherited is set by default, so if you do not define an approval sequence for an item's children, they automatically get the same approval sequence as the parent. If inheritance is set on children and the approval sequence is disabled on the parent item, the children inherits the disabled state. Local assets folders always inherits the content approval sequence set on the associated page or block.

Setting up an approval sequence on a multiple languages website

  1. Open the approval sequence overview from an item's context menu.
  2. In the first step, type the first letter of the reviewer's name. Select the reviewer from the list of suggestions.
  3. Click the Episerver image icon and select the languages the reviewer should be able to approve in the Select Language drop-down list. A reviewer can approve content in one, several, or all languages.

    There is a difference between selecting Any language and selecting all languages one by one. If you select Any language, the reviewer can approve an item in any language it exists in, which also includes any new languages you may add in the future. If you select all available languages one by one, these are the only languages the reviewer can approve content in. If you add a new language in the future, the reviewer does not have the rights to approve in that language.

  4. Add at least one more reviewer to the step. You should always have at least two reviewers per language in each step, in case one of the reviewers is unable to review and approve.
  5. Optional: Click Untitled Step to rename the step to something more descriptive, for example Product marketing or ISO compliance review.
  6. Optional: To add more steps to the approval sequence, click the add button: Episerver image. You can rearrange the steps by drag and drop.
  7. Optional: If a reviewer should be required to enter a reason for approving or declining the content, select the Approve or Decline (or both) check boxes under Require comment on.
  8. Click Save.

Editing an approval sequence

Open the approval sequence from the content item's context menu and make sure that the Enabled radio button is selected. Edit and save the approval sequence as described in Setting up an approval sequence. You can rearrange the approval steps by drag and drop.

Note that if the selected content item has children that are set as Inherited, they will inherit all changes.

Approving and canceling approval sequences

As an administrator, you have the right to approve the entire approval sequence in one go, and to cancel a review request. You do that from the Options button. When you are approving an entire approval sequence, you are required to motivate why you are skipping the approval sequence and approving all steps.

Deleting an approval sequence

You cannot delete an approval sequence but you can disable it. Open the approval sequence from the item's context menu and select Disabled. The item can now be published immediately and does not have to be approved. Note that if the selected content item has children that are set as Inherited, these children do not have to be approved either.

Commenting on content approvals

As an administrator, you decide whether reviewers have to add a reason when they approve or decline content or not. An exception to this is when you approve an entire sequence, in which case you are always required to add a comment.

The comments will be visible in the notification list in the user interface and in email notifications to the persons who started the content approval sequences. Comments are also displayed in the project overview, if the content item in review is associated with a project.

All comments are stored in the database as part of the change log and can be used later on for auditing purposes without using projects.

Using notifications

The defined reviewers can get notifications in the user interface and by email notifying them of the requested approvals. For the notifications in the user interface to be instantly displayed, your web server needs to have WebSocket support enabled. See WebSocket support on Episerver World. For the email notifications to work, you need to configure your SMTP server with a from address. See Configuring your email server on Episerver World.

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Episerver User Guide 17-3 | Released: 2017-05-16 | © Episerver 2017 | Send feedback to us