Only view approved documents

Howdy all. Is there a way in ECM to either not show documents that haven’t been approved yet or a way to make it obvious they aren’t approved? Right now, when a user submits a published revision or new document, it is immediately accessible by everyone before it’s been approved. This can lead to people using documents that are incorrect (and would eventually fail the approval process), but there is no obvious way that we could find to alert users to approved or unapproved versions.

Can you provide a specific example? I don’t know which documents you are referring to. Assuming “Attachments”

You can add a Boolean checkbox with a customization and have that be your “Approved” designation. Then filter with SSRS report or some BPM action.

Couple of things come to mind, and I assume you are talking about inside ECM. In ECM you can do a lot of things with workflows tasks, folders, folder security, and groups/security and stamps.

Re-reading your question, it sounds like a document has been submitted to ECM and a workflow has started (in your case, for approvals). Once a document is inside ECM it’s searchable, viewable - even if it’s also inside a workflow - and that seems to be the problem. I would suggest using a Stamp - stamp it when it enters the workflow and remove the stamp after the approval step. You could also change its folder location to a folder that can only be seen by the approvers - using groups and security options - and then move it to a ‘public’ folder when approved. And you could do a combination of these things to make it even more secure.

But I have to ask - The latest version of the document is displayed by default, and you have to then go to the Versions tab to see older versions. This is because ECM automatically versions when the Title is the same. Is this not how you are doing it? There would be little chance a user could mistakenly use the older version in this case, but if your ‘versions’ have different titles, then that is totally different.

I’m really assuming a handful of things about your setup and processes - I would reach out for some consulting time and properly investigate the possibilities of ECM and maybe change your process a little bit.

Thanks for the tips, Mike. I like both ideas. I may start with the stamp approach and build in the separate folders.

The issue isn’t so much the using of older versions as it is in using unapproved versions. Rev 3 of a document may be added to start the approval process, but until it is approved Rev 2 is still the standard. So, if this is part of a manufacturing process and a job is running, if someone goes and looks for the document they may open it and not realize that they opened unapproved Rev 3 (since that is what ECM shows) and not Rev 2.

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John, I like Mike’s suggestions.

The other workaround you might want to consider: Using another Security Class in ECM for documents not-yet-approved where only approvers, admins, and perhaps other special people would have access to the not-yet-approved document. Then, upon approval, have the workflow replace the document’s Security Class to your existing security class where a wider group of people can view the approved document.


  • I’ve never used a 2nd Security Class to hide an unapproved document. I’ve only used a 2nd Security Class to make an approved document “view only” to everyone who had “modify” access to the document before approval (except Admins).

  • I rarely use document versioning in ECM. So I’m not sure how to make the ECM workflow replace a document’s Security Class for a revision that’s not-yet-approved. But anyone who’s familiar with document revisions and ECM workflow should be able to determine if it’s possible (i.e. assign one security class ‘Visible to Approvers Only’ to a revision 3 that’s not yet approved while keeping the approved version 2’s security class at ‘Visible to the General Group’).

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Thanks everyone for the help. I’ll come back and update once I have a solution to share.