17 November 2015

SharePoint E-mail Alerts With And Without Workflows

SharePoint iconSharePoint is a platform where several people share and work with the same files and list items, so the possibility to have automatic e-mail notifications when something has been changed or needs attention is a valuable feature. It can be done in various ways, with more or less customization and control, and I show some examples in my new demos in the SharePoint Online from Scratch series.

Alert me
SharePoint Alert iconSharePoint libraries and other lists have an Alert Me button for e-mail notifications on either all items or singular items. These e-mail alerts can be somewhat customized, because you can decide at what time they should be sent and for what changes. The site collection administrator can set alerts to be sent to other users, and each user can also set his/her own alerts.

Tasks and Issues alert
The Alert Me button is easy to use, but SharePoint lists that build on the Tasks and Issue Tracking templates have another option that is even quicker to set. These lists have a radio button for e-mail alert to users when they have been assigned a task.

This notification cannot be customized at all, and once the radio button is selected an e-mail is sent to every user who is assigned a new task. There is no control over when the e-mail is sent out, but normally it is sent within a few minutes after the assignment.

SharePoint Designer 2013 iconWhen you create a workflow in SharePoint Designer, you can customize the e-mail and decide to whom and under what conditions it should be sent. SharePoint Designer 2013 lets you create both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows, and I show both options in my demos.

Visio 2013 logoI also show how to use the SharePoint 2013 workflow Visual Designer view, which can be used if you have Microsoft Visio installed. The Visual Designer view gives a picture that explains the workflow's conditions and actions, and you can add your own comments to it. This makes the workflow easy to explain to users and customers.

Open the item in edit mode
The workflow I use to introduce the Visual Designer view and to show the difference between the SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows is simple and just gives the assignee a link to the list where a new high priority item has been created.

In the last Alert articles I describe how to create more advanced workflows. One of them gives the assigned person a link to the exact item and opens it in edit mode. This saves a few clicks and is of course the most efficient way to receive the alert. I also show how to add a CC to an alert and how to send an e-mail when a task is overdue. HelpDesk for Outlook and SharePoint logotype

Use with SharePoint Solutions
These tips articles are useful for all, but we have especially created them for subscribers to our solutions HelpDesk OSP, which converts Outlook e-mails to SharePoint list items, and Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint.

I use a helpdesk list in most of my demos, and in a later blog post I will come back to this list and show ways to enhance such a list. All these Tips articles and demos are part of the SharePoint Online from Scratch series, which already has 132 articles and will contain more before it is finished. Welcome to browse!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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