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Create a new Alert to a SharePoint list

Alerts. That magnificent functionality in SharePoint, that let’s you get a heads-up anytime someone touches your precious documents (so you can go and revert the changes), or changes files in Style Library (so you can go and remove that pink custom CSS they tried to add). They are ancient, quite cumbersome and CERTAINLY not pretty, but quite reliable (and despite my expectations – they were included in Modern SharePoint, too!), so there’s really no reason to still keep using them.

However, every now and then, they’re quite hidden from the GUI. This post describes how to access them on pretty much any site!

I’m going to include a lot of screenshots for your convenience – should be easier to figure out that way.

Description

For most libraries, you can just browse to some of the list item views and click Ribbon (see below), or sometimes even access the Alerts -functionality through the List Viewer webpart. This functionality has been there for a while, so it’s a nice, consistent and a truly “classic” user experience.

How to access Alerts in a SharePoint library
How to access Alerts in a SharePoint library.
Pardon my French in this particular example!

So, how does this work in Modern?

Not too badly! It’s actually even easier than in Classic – the Alert subscription appears as a pretty pop-up, when you just click “…” -> “Alert me”. That’s a nice small improvement over the Classic (or “classic”) experience, I’d say.

See an example below!

"Alert me" in Modern SharePoint Library ribbon
“Alert me” in Modern SharePoint Library ribbon

However, every now and then, this functionality is hidden. Why? Hell if I know! It seems foolish to hide this out-of-the-box functionality, that’s quite battle-proven, and provides an useful and consistent user experience.

Luckily, there’s a workaround!

Solution

You can access the alert creation for all lists in a SharePoint site by browsing to this url:

https://[yoursharepointsiteurl]/_layouts/15/SubChoos.aspx

The best part? This works in both Modern and Classic SharePoint! Now, I’m not saying it’s pretty, but this is a very convenient shortcut to start creating your new alert to pretty much any list.

So, for example, browsing to https://thebesttenant.sharepoint.com/sites/mybestsite/_layouts/15/SubChoos.aspx, you should see something like in the screenshot below:

How to create a new Alert in SharePoint - first you select the list
How to create a new Alert in SharePoint – first you select the list from this view

This’ll open up this very classical looking window you can use to create your subscription – or subscribe someone else! Pretty neat.

Creating new Alerts in pretty much any SharePoint library
Creating new Alerts in pretty much any SharePoint library. Yeah, it’s that easy!

Just click “OK”, and you’re done! Remember to test that it works, though. And if you’re on-premises (SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016…), remember to configure outgoing email.

Okay – with that, you should be good!

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Antti K. Koskela

Solutions Architect / Escalations Engineer at Koskila / Norppandalotti Software / Valo Solutions
Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world. He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff. This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

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