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Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016: Business or Psychology?

ArcherPoint How-To Blog: Step-by-step instructions on how to perform specific tasks in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

With elements such as Condition and Response, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 workflows sound much like an experiment between Ivan Pavlov and salivating dogs—when in reality they are a very useful tool to help connect different system users in performing a business task.

Let’s look at some of the options available while implementing workflow into NAV business processes. One of the typically used NAV processes where workflows are needed is in the approval of new documents. Purchase order approval seems to be a popular process among NAV users, and rightly so, as it’s important to keep track of who and how the company money is being spent.

Workflows in NAV can be created from predefined workflow templates. There are roughly 20+ predefined templates to work from, and new workflows can be created from templates with one click. Once you have a workflow, you can use it as is or edit it to facilitate your business process.

Workflows are comprised of lines or steps. Each step has three elements: an event, a condition, and a response, and they work together. For example, the first step of the PO Approval workflow looks like this:

Event: Approval of a purchase document is requested.

Condition: Document Type: Order, Status: Open

Response: There are multiple responses:

  1. Add record restriction.
  2. Set document status to Pending Approval.
  3. Create an approval request for the record using approver type Approver and approver limit type Approver Chain.
  4. Send approval request for the record and create a notification.

Let’s break down what is going to happen at this first step when this workflow is enabled.

  • Once the user attempts to release the document, the enabled workflow will prompt the user to send an approval request for any PO with Status = Open. The Condition is met, and the Event of Send Approval Request is required.
  • Once the Event of Send Approval Request happens, the Response(s) take place.

There are other steps to this workflow geared around the approval itself and some notifications, but let’s see where the opportunity is to enhance this basic PO approval workflow step.


  • Any field in the PO Header or PO Lines can serve as a filter for a condition in this workflow. In the step example above. the only condition being applied from the PO document is that the Status = Open. We could easily add an additional condition/filter of “Buy-from Vendor No.” = xyz. Then the workflow would only invoke the approval process when those two conditions are met.
  • Now you have the opportunity to set up multiple workflows for the same business process (PO Approval in this case) driven by different conditions.
  • Each of these PO Approval workflows can now have different response(s) as well.


  • Let’s look at Response #3. With this response is the ability to pick an Approver Type and an Approver Limit Type.
  • Approver Type: can be Approver or SalesPerson/Purchaser as set up in the traditional “Approval User Setup,” or new is the ability to use “Workflow User Groups”. Workflow User Groups can be one or many users and can be sequenced. These groups provide an alternative to the traditional approval chain based on dollar limits.
  • This Approval response also has “Due Date Formula” and “Delegate After” fields to manage overdue entries.

Condition and Response are just a few of the opportunities within NAV workflows to make them a fit for your company’s processes. With 20+ predefined workflow templates and the ability to condition how those workflows are invoked, the opportunity to fine tune business processes within NAV using workflows is wide open.

There is even a workflow to manage the overdue notifications. Which when you think about it, those original notifications were created by a workflow. I think we’re back to the question: business or psychology?

Do you have questions about other functionality in Dynamics NAV? Contact ArcherPoint; we’ll be happy to help you find the answers.

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