I use simple 'Document Approval' workflows, where a task is created and the assigned user must reply (Request Review). The related content being a document is generally opened by the assigned user to read the changes prior to responding. It appears that if the document is open by anyone, including the assigned task user, the workflow cannot be completed. While this makes sense to a degree, I am surprised to see that the assigned person cannot open the document and go sign-off on the task while the document is open. They do get an error telling them that the document is opened exclusivly by someone. Is there a way to avoid this situation?
I could indicate in the message text to close the document before completing the task, but this doesn't solve the issue if someone else happens to have the document open in the library who is not assigned the task, which is also occuring.
Appreciate any advice.
The restriction may be because workflow is trying to update some of the metadatas of the document, however, the document is locked because its already opened in the edit mode by the user.
Since this the default behavior of SharePoint, one workaround you can do is, send the document as an task notification email attachment and remove the related content document link from the notification.
By doing this, the user will be sent an attachment copy of the document in the notification mail. So when the approver opens this attachment, there will not be lock on the item and the approval process can be performed without any error.