If your content management system (CMS) hasn’t got workflow functionality, then it might be time to move to one that does.

A Sitecore workflow allows organisations to have control over the content approval process in Sitecore CMS. This means only content that has been approved is published.

New or edited content should always be moderated and have a second pair of eyes look over it to ensure it meets requirements, tone of voice etc.

Applying Sitecore workflows streamlines the content creation process and helps prevent mistakes.

Sitecore Workflows

Workflows are a powerful way of moderating content. They allow businesses to put in place a content creation and approval process based on business requirements. For instance, creating different workflows based on departments, products, regions, etc.

  • Team A creates content for Section A of the website. This is approved by Approver A
  • Team B creates content for Section B of the website. This is approved by Approver B
  • Workflow A and Workflow B are created in Sitecore to reflect this

Workflows in Sitecore can be as simple or as complex as your organisation requires. Workflows consist of three elements:

  1. States
  2. Commands
  3. Actions

The minimum requirement is to have three stages (States) of content creation:

  1. Draft: Content is in progress/being edited
  2. Awaiting Approval: Content is submitted and ready for review
  3. Published/Approved: Content has been approved and published

Commands are assigned to States. They instruct the workflow to move content from one state to another. For example, Submit moves the item from Draft to Awaiting Approval.

Actions are then assigned to Commands. For example, the Send Email Action sends an email to the approver notifying them that a piece of content is in the Awaiting Approval workflow state.

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Moving items through workflow states

When creating a new item in Sitecore, for example a new page, it’s automatically placed in the initial Draft workflow state as version 1.

The item remains in Draft state until the content editor uses the Submit command to move it to the next state. If the item is rejected it reverts to Draft. If the item is approved and published the workflow is complete.

This is until the editor needs to amend/update approved/published content. When this happens the content is auto-versioned when the editor Locks and Edits the content. For example, if version 2 is already published, when Lock and Edit is selected version 3 is created.

To send a content item to the next workflow state:

  • Navigate to the relevant item or page in the Sitecore Content Editor or the Sitecore Experience Editor
  • Edit the item and save changes
  • Submit the item

In the Content Editor, Submit is in the Review tab:

How the submit button looks in sitecore content editor
How the Submit button looks in Sitecore Content Editor

In the Experience Editor, Submit is in the notification bar:

How the submit button looks in sitecore experience editor 
How the Submit button looks in Sitecore Experience Editor
  • Click the relevant workflow command to send the item to the next workflow state
  • In the dialog box enter a comment about the page to give the approver information on what has changed or what they need to review
  • Click OK

The item is now in the next workflow state and new workflow commands are available in the notification bar for the approver.

How the approve reject buttons look in Sitecore content editor
How the Approve / Reject buttons look in Sitecore Content Editor
How the approve reject buttons look in Sitecore experience editor
How the Approve / Reject buttons look in Sitecore Experience Editor

Content gets that all-important second set of eyes to check it before it goes live on the website.

The Sitecore Workbox

The Workbox displays information about items in a particular workflow.

Accessible from the Desktop interface and Sitecore Launchpad, the Workbox provides an overview of all workflowed items. It enables approvers to manage these items and to approve/reject accordingly.

Sitecore workbox button
Access the Workbox directly from the Launchpad in Sitecore

For each Workbox item, approvers can Preview, Open and Compare different versions of the same item.

RSS feeds can also be configured to send notifications when changes have been made to an item, or when a version of an item changes workflow state.

Sitecore Workbox
The Sitecore Workbox

Want to know more about Sitecore?

Sitecore is a powerful, customer experience platform that helps you to deliver highly-optimised, personalised experiences for your customers that means a better customer experience and improved marketing results.

If you’re thinking about Sitecore as a website platform or you’d like to know more about it, or if you already have a Sitecore website and need guidance on its rich features, including workflow, then get in touch.