A workflow allows your organisation to have control over the content approval and publishing process through your website CMS – meaning only content that has been approved is published.

A new page, a new blog article, a new piece of content, should always have a second pair of eyes look over it.

Rather than being a troublesome middle-man that prevents you pushing content on your website live quickly, workflow is your friend that will help prevent mistakes.

How Sitecore Workflow works

In the Sitecore Experience Platform, the area that displays information about the items in a workflow – such as editing history or items you can find in each workflow states – is called the Workbox.

Sitecore Workbox
Image of the Workbox in Sitecore

Your workflow can be as simple or as complex as your organisation requires, and items do not necessarily have to go through all the workflow states you define – some could be optional or only applicable to certain kinds of content.

As a minimum however, each workflow must contain two workflow states – the initial and final.

The Sitecore Workbox

The Workbox gives you an overview of all items that are in workflows and enables you to manage these items.

For each item in a workflow state, you can preview, open and compare different versions of the same item. 

If you wish, you can set up an RSS feed, so that you receive a notification when changes have been made to an item, or when a version of an item enters or leaves a specific workflow state.

You can open the Workbox from the Sitecore Launchpad.

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

Moving an item to the next workflow state

When you create a new item in Sitecore, for example a new page, it is automatically placed in the initial workflow state.

The item will stay in this initial workflow state until you use a command to move it to the next workflow state.

If you edit an already-existing item that is in a workflow, Sitecore creates a new version of the item and places it in the initial workflow state.

If you then edit this item again later, you will edit the version that is in the workflow - unless you specify that you want to edit another version.

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 your changes.
  • If the item is in a workflow, you will see the workflow commands available to you.

In the Content Editor, you will see these on 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, you will see these 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 that appears, you can enter a comment about the page you have edited to give the reviewer / approver information on what has changed or what they need to review, and click OK.

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

The workflow function in Sitecore gets that all-important second set of eyes to check everything is ok before something new goes live on your website.

Want to know more about Sitecore?

Sitecore is an all-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 you’re having trouble getting under the skin of its marketing features and tool-set, including workflow, then get in touch with us.