Get notified when a file or folder changes in a document library

If you're working with a team on a set of documents or files, you might want to get an alert when changes happen. SharePoint Online can notify you and other team members by email or text (SMS) as document library activity happens. Here's how to set up and use alerts to get notified on changes.

Notes: Does your screen look different from the examples here? Your administrator may have SharePoint classic mode set on the document library, or you're using an on-premises version of SharePoint. If so, see Create an alert or subscribe to an RSS feed.

If you're not sure which version of SharePoint you're using, see Which version of SharePoint am I using?

If you're a document library owner, site owner, or administrator, see Switch the default experience for document libraries from new or classic for the steps to set the default experience.

Updated October 4, 2016 thanks to customer feedback.

Get alerts when a specific item changes in a document library

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.

    If you don't have the Alert Me option, you may be on a different version of SharePoint. Instead, see Create an alert or subscribe to an RSS feed.

    Ellipses menu with Alert Me highlighted
  3. In the Alert me when items change dialog, change or select the options you want. The following settings are available for alerts on a file, link or folder.

    • 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.

    • 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
  4. Click OK when done.

Get alerts on anything that changes in a document library

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. You can set the following are options for a file, link, or folder.

    • Alert title    This is the subject for the email or text message you'll get. It's pre-filled with the name of the document library, 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 in the text so the user can view the item.

    • 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.

  4. Click OK when done.

Cancel alerts for items in a document library

You can cancel an alert, but in SharePoint Online it requires returning to Classic SharePoint. At the bottom of the Quick Launch bar on the left side of your screen, click Return to Classic SharePoint. Once there, follow these steps.

  1. To view your alerts from a page on the site, click Page > Alert Me > Manage My Alerts.

    Alerts menu with Manage My Alert 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

To exit the Classic SharePoint interface, close all instances of your browser, and then reopen Office 365 and SharePoint Online.

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.

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