Respond to your approvals from your inbox and Set an Approval Expiry

Hello Flow Community! Today, we're going to talk about some expanded approvals functionality.

Actionable Messages

With the launch of our modern approvals experiences, we sent you an email whenever you received a new approval request. This email led you to the Approvals Center on the Flow website. Now using the Actionable Messages platform, you can respond to your approvals (Approve or Reject) and provide an optional message directly from your inbox!

For example, suppose your employee has sent you a travel request. You can reject it and tell him/her why directly from your email.

Note – Actionable Messages is available only on the Outlook web app and on the desktop version of Outlook 2016. For the latter, you can install the latest update to get Actionable Messages functionality.

As we discussed in a previous post, you can also respond to your approvals on your mobile phone using the Flow mobile app (available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone).

Setting an Approval Expiry and Automatic Escalations

With this week’s release, you can also set an expiry for approval requests. By setting an expiry, you can expire and thereby remove approvals assigned to an individual and take specific actions like escalate to the individual’s manager or provide an automatic rejection.

For example, imagine that you want to escalate an approval for travel requests to an individual’s manager if they haven’t responded to a request within 7 days.

Starting with the Flow below, choose the ellipsis next to the Start an approval action and select the Settings option.


In the Settings dialog, set a duration for the action using the ISO 8601 format. In this case, the duration would be PT7D. For 12 hours, use PT12H, 1 day ->PT1D, 1 week -> PT7D, 2 weeks -> PT14D, 1 month -> P1M.

Now configure the escalation portion of the flow. After the Start an approval action, add another Start an approval action and assign it to the first approver’s manager.

After the second Start an approval action, add a condition and inform the item creator when something has been approved or rejected.

Once you’ve added all the necessary actions and conditions. Configure the order of how actions will be executed. Ensure that the Start an approval 2 action runs after the first Start an approval action has timed out and that Condition 2 runs after the Start an approval 2 action has succeeded. To configure when an action should run, select the ellipsis next to an action and choose Configure run after.

Lastly, select the first Condition and set it to run after Condition 2 is skipped.  

Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy the added functionalities as well as this tutorial on how to begin to use them.

Please share your feedback about the modern approvals experience in the comments below.