Create an alert to get notified when a file or folder changes in SharePoint

To stay updated when your SharePoint documents or items on your site change, you can create alerts. Alerts can be sent to your team via email or text messages (SMS), depending on how your administrator has set up the server. If your site is part of an Office 365 subscription, alerts are enabled when your site is first created. If your site is part of an on-premises SharePoint deployment that your organization manages alerts and email on its own.

A server administrator must configure outgoing e-mail in SharePoint Central Administration before you can receive an alert as an e-mail message. Similarly, before you can receive an alert as a text message, a server administrator must enable the SMS/MMS service settings in Central Administration.

Another way of getting notifications is to use RSS feeds. For more info, see Create or subscribe to an RSS Feed.

Updated December 20, 2016 thanks to customer feedback.

You can set up an alert for a list, library, folder, file, or list item. For example, you can set up an alert for a specific folder in a library, without receiving alerts when changes occur in the rest of the library.

Get alerts on item changes in SharePoint Online

You can get an alert whenever a file, link, or folder is changed in a SharePoint Online document library. Depending on the item (file, folder, link), you may see different options when you set an alert.

  1. Open the document library and hover over the file, link, or folder for which you want to get an alert, and click the check mark.

    Document being highlighted with cursor over check box
  2. Click the ellipses (...) to the right of the item name, and then click Alert Me.

    Ellipses menu with Alert Me highlighted
  3. In the Alert me when items change dialog, select and change the options you want. For settings and descriptions, see Alert Options below.

  4. Click OK when done.

Get alerts on all changes in a document library in SharePoint Online

You can get an alert whenever any file, link, or folder changes. Depending on the item (file, folder, link), there are a few different alert options.

  1. Open the SharePoint Online document library and make sure no items are selected.

  2. Click the ellipses (...) on the toolbar at the top of the page and then click Alert Me.

    Ellipses menu with Alert Me highlighted (for whole library)
  3. In the Alert me when items change dialog, change or fill in the options you want. For settings and descriptions, see Alert Options below.

  4. Click OK when done.

Cancel alerts in SharePoint Online

  1. To view your alerts from a page on the site, click the ellipsis (...) on the top line, and then click Manage My Alerts.

    SharePoint Online Manage alerts button highlighted

    Note:  From a document library or list, click Library or List (instead of Page) to find the Alert Me button. The exact names of the tabs vary if you are in a specialized list, such as a tasks list or calendar list. For example, a calendar list has Events and Calendar tabs where you can find the Alert Me button.

  2. Click the checkbox beside name of the alert that you want to delete.

  3. Click Delete Selected Alerts, and then click OK.

    My Alerts manager with Delete selected alerts highlighted
  4. Click OK.

See updates without text message or email alerts

If you'd rather not get email or text messages, but still want to keep on top of changes in your document libraries, take a look at File activity in a document library.

Set an alert in SharePoint 2016, 2013, or 2010

  1. Go to the SharePoint library or list where you want to set the alert. If you’re looking at a view of the list or library on another page, you may have to click the title of the list or library first. For example, you may have to click Documents first to go to the Documents library.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set an alert for the entire library or list, click Library or List, and then click Alert Me, and then click Set alert on this library.

      Library tab with Set Alert on this library highlighted
    • To set an alert for a document, select the document and click Files or Documents, then click Alert Me, and then click Set alert on this document.

      In the Files tab, with Set Alert on this document highlighted
    • To set an alert on a list item, select the item and click the Items tab, then click Alert Me and then click Set alert on this item.

      SharePoint 2016 Set alert on an item with item selected
  3. Select the options you want for the alert. For settings and descriptions, see Alert Options below.

Note: The exact names of the tabs and buttons in steps 1 and 2 vary if you are in a specialized library or list, such as a picture library, tasks list, or calendar list. For example, a calendar list has Events and Calendar tabs where you can find Alert Me.

Depending on how your site and servers are set up, the person you created an alert for might receive an e-mail message that confirms that you created an alert. The alert e-mail message might provide links to the list or library, alert settings, the name of the person who created the alert, a mobile view, and other information and commands.

Cancel alerts in SharePoint 2016, 2013, or 2010

  1. Go to the SharePoint library or list where you want to set the alert. If you’re looking at a view of the list or library on another page, you may have to click the title of the list or library first. For example, you may have to click Documents first to go to the Documents library.

  2. Click Library or List, click Alert Me, and then click Manage My Alerts.

    SharePoint 2016 Manage alert button highlighted

    Note:  From a document library or list, click Library or List (instead of Page) to find the Alert Me button. The exact names of the tabs vary if you are in a specialized list, such as a tasks list or calendar list. For example, a calendar list has Events and Calendar tabs where you can find the Alert Me button.

  3. Click the checkbox beside name of the alert that you want to delete.

  4. Click Delete Selected Alerts, and then click OK.

    My Alerts manager with Delete selected alerts highlighted
  5. Click OK.

Create an alert In SharePoint 2007

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set an alert on a list or library, on the Actions menu Menu image , click Alert Me.

    • To set an alert on an item or document, point to the item for which you want to create an alert, click the arrow that appears, and then click Alert Me.

      SharePoint 2007 drop down with Alert me highlighted

      In some views, such as a view of items in a calendar, you may need to click the item, and then click Alert Me.

  3. On the New Alert page, select the options you want for the alert. For settings and descriptions, see Alert Options below.

    SharePoint 2007 Alert options page
  4. Click OK.

Depending on how your site and servers are set up, the person you created an alert for may receive an e-mail message that confirms that you created an alert. The alert e-mail message may provide links to the list or library, alert settings, the name of the person who created the alert, a mobile view, and other information and commands.

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Cancel alerts in SharePoint 2007

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. On the Actions menu Menu image , click Alert Me.

  3. On the New Alert page, click View my existing alerts on this site.

    SharePoint 2007 Alert options page
  4. Click the checkbox beside name of the alert that you want to delete.

  5. Click Delete Selected Alerts, and then click OK.

    My Alerts manager with Delete selected alerts highlighted
  6. Click OK.

Alert options

In the Alert me when items change dialog, the following settings are available for alerts on an item, file, link (where supported) or folder.

Note: Not all settings may be available for all alert types or versions of SharePoint.

  • Alert title    This is the subject for the email or text message. It's pre-filled with the name of the document library and item name, but you can change it.

  • Send Alerts To    This is the user name or email you want the alert sent to. To enter more than one, separate the addresses with semicolons.

  • Delivery Method    You can choose email or a text message for alerts. For text messages, add the phone number and check the box if you want the URL of the item to be sent. If you want SMS and it's grayed out, talk to your SharePoint admin or IT dept.

  • Change Type    This option appears on links and folders, and lets you get alerts when new items are added, or existing items are modified or deleted.

  • Send Alerts for These Changes    This lets you pick the type of changes for which you receive alerts. You can pick when someone changes any file, link, or folder, or when someone changes a file, link, or folder you created or last modified.

  • When to Send Alerts    This specifies how frequently you get alerts. You can get notifications immediately when changes happen, or a daily or weekly summary. For daily summaries, you can set the time of day to send. On weekly notifications, you can set the day and time to send. The default is to send notifications immediately, but if your site is active or you don't need to know right away, you might want to choose daily or weekly summaries.

List of alert option settings

Configuring email or SMS services

Find information about how to configure outgoing e-mail, or the SMS service see Configure outgoing email for SharePoint or Configure mobile accounts in SharePoint.

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