I was recently looking for a way to batch update items in a list that had “Require Content approval” (see Figure 1 below) enabled.  My requirement was that, after updating the item, it would be in an approved and not be placed into a pending status.  After doing some digging I was able to find the required command (<SetVar Name=”Cmd”>Moderate</SetVar>) that allowed this to work.  I’ve included a very simple test program below that updates the title field in a list and sets it to approved status (_ModerationStatus==0).  You can also assign other status values based on the enum SPModerationStatusType (values listed below).

public enum SPModerationStatusType
    // Summary:
    //     The item is displayed in public views of the list or document library.
    Approved = 0,
    // Summary:
    //     The item is not displayed in public views of the list or document library.
    Denied = 1,
    // Summary:
    //     The decision about displaying the item in public views of the list or document
    //     library is pending.
    Pending = 2,
    Draft = 3,
    Scheduled = 4,


Figure 1 – Content Approval Option

Code Sample (sans adequate error checking) that ‘batch-updates’ a single item

static void Main(string[] args)
            StringBuilder methodBuilder = new StringBuilder();
            string batch = string.Empty;
            string batchFormat = "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\"?>" +
              "<ows:Batch OnError=\"Return\">{0}</ows:Batch>";

            string methodFormat = "<Method ID=\"{0},Update\">" +
             "<SetList>{1}</SetList>" +
             "<SetVar Name=\"Cmd\">Moderate</SetVar>" +
             "<SetVar Name=\"ID\">{2}</SetVar>" +
             "<SetVar Name=\"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office#Title\">{3}</SetVar>" +
             "<SetVar Name=\"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office#_ModerationStatus\">0</SetVar>" +            

            using (SPSite site = new SPSite(""))
                using (SPWeb sourceWeb = site.OpenWeb())
                        int itemID = 1;
                        SPList list = sourceWeb.Lists["TestList"];
                        sourceWeb.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true;
                        string listGuid = list.ID.ToString();
                        methodFormat = string.Format(methodFormat, itemID, listGuid, itemID,"SomeValue1a1aa");
                        batch = string.Format(batchFormat, methodFormat.ToString());
                        string batchReturn = sourceWeb.ProcessBatchData(batch);
                    catch (Exception oEx)

                    }  // End exception block
                } // End using spweb
            }   // End using SPSite

} // End Main