By: Simon Williams
SharePoint document libraries can be used to contain related folders and documents. Recently, I was gathering information from an Access database stored in a SharePoint project documents library. The database was updated frequently and not on a fixed schedule; continually checking the Modified Date to ensure I was working with the latest data quickly became a chore.
Surely, there was a better way…
In fact, SharePoint allows you to set up alerts based on changes to individual documents within a library, or changes to the library as a whole.
Monitoring Individual Documents
From the document library, hover over the document name that you want to monitor. A drop down arrow should appear to the right of the name. Clicking the drop down arrow opens a menu of SharePoint options specific to that document, including ‘Check Out’, ‘Workflows’, and ‘Send To’. To monitor a document, select ‘Alert Me’.
The New Alert menu opens from which you can configure an alert specific to that document; what triggers an alert; how you are notified, and how often.
In my case, I needed an immediate alert whenever that particular document was updated. Since immediate notification is not always practical, SharePoint also allows for a daily or weekly summary to be sent. The alert can also be configured based on who created or modified the document.
Monitoring a Library
If you need to monitor a whole library, select the ‘Library’ ribbon at the top of the document library page. About half way across the ribbon, in the Share & Track section, is the ‘Alert Me’ icon. Click this, and select ‘Set an Alert on this Library’.
The New Alert menu opens and you can configure the library alert similarly to how the individual document alert was configured.
Managing Your Alerts
Receiving unwanted updates? Need to edit existing alerts? To manage your alerts, follow the directions above to get to the ‘Alert Me’ icon in the library ribbon. Click it and this time choose the ‘Manage My Alerts’ option. The alert manager also contains an alternative way to add alerts.