An approval workflow remains in progress after all approvers complete their tasks on a SharePoint library or list


Consider the following scenario. You have an approval workflow on a Microsoft SharePoint document library or on a SharePoint list. The workflow is started, all approvers complete their tasks, and the item is approved. In this scenario, you experience one of the following issues:
  • The workflow remains in progress.
  • When you start the workflow, you receive the following error message:
    Access Denied.


This issue can be caused by the workflow configuration. For example, this issue may occur when the workflow is configured as follows: 
  • The Content Approval setting is enabled for the document library or for the list. 
  • The Start this workflow when an item is changed setting is enabled for the workflow. 
  • The Update the approval status after the workflow is completed setting is enabled for the workflow.
In such a configuration, the approval workflow goes into an infinite loop as follows: 
  1. A new item or a new document is added to the library. 
  2. The workflow is started manually or automatically.
  3. Approvers approve the item.
  4. The Content Approval status is updated. (This action causes the item to be changed.)
  5. The workflow is restarted.

Article ID: 2691467 - Last Review: Mar 20, 2013 - Revision: 1