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I believe the 'Hide Specs' tag within WFA can help with this.
You are able apply a 'Hide Specs' tag to a specific step/status. Wen you do this, if the use has 'Show Hidden Specs' unchecked in their Profile and Preferences, then the specs in these status will not show in their action list.
So in your case, you can put this tag on the Approved & Archived statuses and these specs will not show.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
I checked our current workflow settings (and the ones used for initial entry when we first started as many of the specs in the users list were intial entries) and they all had "hide specs" as a workflow action for Archived. The user in question also had the 'Show Hidden Specs' unchecked. So that's the two things you said to look at. ALL specs still show up in the Action Lists though.
This seems a little more like a user group workflow issue, where Approved specs are being assigned (as an owner) to a group that this user belongs to (or potentially to the user directly). Perhaps consider setting up a different group for approved spec ownership. You could still give the user Read/Write permission, but this way she does not get assigned Ownership, and therefore will not have an Action Item for it. This would take care of future specs.
One option you have to deal with the existing list of action items for this user is to remove her as a spec owner, using a DB script. (Of course, always back up the table or the DB prior to doing so). If you want to make sure she or the group still has Write access, be sure to update the Workflow permissions matrix accordingly.
To find out the list of specifications this user is an owner of that are in an approved status, you can use the following (TSQL) script:
declare @userID varchar(40);
set @userID = (select pkid from Users where UserName ='youruser');
from gsmSpecOwners owners
inner join specsummary ss on owners.fkSpecSummary = ss.PKID
inner join commonWorkflowStatus wfStatus on ss.SpecStatusID = wfStatus.pkid
where owners.OwnerID = @userID
and wfStatus.status like '%Approved%' and wfStatus.langID = 0
You could then delete those entries from the gsmSpecOwners table (remember to back up first)