Import Approval Groups

This feature allows for the importing of Approval Group information into the Unanet system (including new approval group names and the list of approvers for a given approval group --- but not the list of submitters for an approval group).  


This screen is available to users having any of the following roles: Administrator, P&R Administrator


This feature is available with any Unanet edition.

Performance Tip Note:  Depending on the number of users in your installation and other factors such as the overall performance of your platform, the activity of importing one or many files may take up to several minutes.  Should this be the case with your installation, you may want to consider running these processes at non-peak times to minimize database contention.


Topics covered on this help page include:

Import File Record Layout



Field Header Name





ALWAYS REQUIRED. This is the name you want to give the approval group and is a unique code.  If you are trying to update the approvers in an existing group, you must have the exact name as it appears in the Unanet system.

You can use the approval group import to change an approval group name for an existing approval group by supplying the following syntax in this field.

"!RENAME!,old_approval_group_name,new_approval_group_name"  -- this entire string must be enclosed in double quotes.

For example, if you were attempting to change:

  • Existing Approval Group Name "Accounting" to "Finance", the import file would include the following in this one field:


Maximum Length: 50 characters

See the Excel Tips regarding the use of double quotes and more.




This column will contain a list of your Approver's Unanet UserIDs.   Depending on how you format the data for this column, you can include zero to many Approvers (User IDs of the approvers).  


  • You can use the special tag !BLANK! to remove all of the existing approvers

  • You can use the special tag !APPEND! to add additional approvers to an existing approval group.  "!APPEND!,approver1,approver2"  -- this entire string must be enclosed in double quotes (note that if you are working in Excel, Excel will provide the double quotes and thus you do not need to add them in manually).

  • Similarly, if you would like to remove one or several approvers from an existing approval group, you can use the special tag !REMOVE!.   "!REMOVE!,approver1,approver2"  -- this entire string must be enclosed in double quotes.


See the examples below for syntax help.

Note that the Approvers that you are assigning to an approval group must be Active users.

If either Require Timesheet Approval  (unatime.approval.required) or Require Approval for Expenses  (unasense.approval.required) is enabled, the system will enforce that you have at least one active approver in an approval group that has either time or expense submitters.

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self)  is enabled, you will not be able to add a user as an Approver to an approver group where they are already defined as a Time or Expense Submitter.

See the Excel Tips regarding the use of double quotes and more.




Additional description or comments about this approval group. You can use the !BLANK! tag to remove an existing value.

Maximum Length: 2000 characters




This field can be used to trigger the system to delete an Approval Group (including all of it's Approvers and Submitters).  In order for the delete to happen, you must include the following text string !DELETE! in this field.

Note that if your system is configured to require time or expense approvals, you may not be able to remove a particular approval group if it has time and expense submitters currently associated.


Note: Check out the Unanet Data model for specific field data types, lengths, and other attributes.

Import File Format

The file to import must be saved in a comma delimited format.   The fields can be enclosed in double quotes -- which would be particularly necessary should the data being imported contain commas.  


Importing a Sub-Set of Columns using a Field Header Record

If you are not using the default column layout sequence as defined above, you must include a header record (prefixed with an asterisk *), containing the column Header Names for those columns you are including in the import file (to indicated what data is contained in each column).  The specific Header Names for each column are listed in the table above.


#Delete example

#Append example
#this will append the  JSMITH to the list of approvers in the Finance approval group

#Remove example
#this will remove the JSMITH  from the list of approvers in the Finance approval group

Excel Template

You can create the comma delimited import file with any number of tools.  For those interested in using an Excel spreadsheet to create the file, you can download an Excel Template with predefined headers and required fields noted.  

See the Excel Tips regarding the use of double quotes and more.

Import Screen

The Import Approval Group screen simply looks like:

Field Descriptions:



Type of Import

Select the appropriate import type from the list of available types of imports.

File to Import

Enter (or browse for) the file that you would like to import.

Output Options

Specify the level of detail included in the output.  


The import process is triggered by pressing the Import button.  All Warnings and Error messages are written to the screen and can then be saved if desired.  While some line items may be found invalid and rejected, the remaining line items will be successfully imported and saved in the database.  The rejected line items will be written out to a file on the Unanet server as well as displayed at the bottom of the user feedback screen.  The rejected record file name will be UnanetApprovalGroupsImportErrorxxx, where xxx is a randomly generated number.  The file will be placed in the Unanet temporary directory (which is defined by the Temp Directory (Fully Qualified Directory Name) (unanet.temp_directory) Unanet property).

Related Topics