A complete guide to setting up alerts for file changes in SharePoint Online

When you’re working collaboratively, it’s good to ensure things are going as planned. Therefore, the ability to be made aware of changes to your documents is greatly valued. Such an ability is provided to users within Office 365’s SharePoint Online. This is achieved via alerts that users can set up for themselves and/or other team members. An alert is simply a form of notification, intended to get your attention under given conditions. In this case, the condition would be new changes being saved to a file.


  1. Open your document library of choice
  2. From the option ribbon select the context menu (…)
  3. Click alert me
  4. Configure alerts to your preferences
  5. Click OK

In this post, we will be going through a step-by-step demonstration on, setting up alerts for file changes in SharePoint Online. If you are not well acquainted with computers, we highly recommend utilizing this demo. We always try to find the easiest solution and teach it both comprehensively and simply.


  1. Demo | Setting up alerts for file changes in SharePoint Online
  2. Support | I don’t want to receive alerts for an entire document library
  3. Endnote | Recap & Farewell

Demo | Setting up alerts for file changes in SharePoint Online

Step 1 – Open your SharePoint Online document library

While the document library in question does not matter, we’ve chosen to use the default Documents document library. This choice was made to keep things simple. You should be able to follow along just fine regardless.

Step 2 – Access the alert configuration window

Above the file list is an option/action ribbon. Towards the right half of the ribbon is a context menu, represented by the icon. To proceed, open it up with a click and select Alert me with another click.

Step 3 – Configure your alerts

Your alerts must be configured to determine the following:

  • How your alerts will appear: Alert title
  • Who will be alerted: Send alert to
  • Where recipients will be alerted (email or SMS): Delivery method
  • To what extent should changes cause alerts: Change type
  • Additional alert conditions: Send alerts for these changes
  • Scheduling: When to send alerts

Step 4 – Confirm your choices

Both at the top and bottom of the window is a means to confirm your configuration choices. This is the OK button. Locate and select one.

Step 5 – Check the alerts were activated

Upon activation of alerts, you will normally receive an email or SMS notification indicating to you that the alerts were enabled.

Support | I don’t want to receive alerts for an entire document library

Is it possible to track a single file or folder

Yes. It’s quite easy to track changes for a select few files or folders within a document library. Fortunately, no significant part of the process is changed. You need only select Alert me from the file or folder’s context menu- as opposed to the document library’s. From this point on, you may proceed with the demo initially provided in the prior section of this post.

Endnote | Recap & Farewell


Alerts in SharePoint Online allow users to receive email or SMS notifications when a particular change occurs within a document, file, link, or folder. The process to achieve this is quite simple. Only requiring you to access the document’s context menu, followed by selecting Alert me. After which you will be given the option to configure your alerts. Alerts are configured to establish how your alerts are presented, who will receive your alerts, how your alerts are received, and to what extent file changes trigger alerts. Lastly, upon activation, alert targets will receive a notification to inform them that they will now be receiving alerts for your specified document/library.


As usual, this section is dedicated to thanking readers for their support. We’d be pleased to know you found this post useful and/or informative. If you have any more Office 365 related queries, please consult our related articles (listed below). However, if you have other queries, consider looking at the rest of the site. We’re frequently posting new stuff each week and may just have the guide or troubleshooting tips you need. Regardless, we wish you a good day/night. Farewell readers.

Our related articles: 

  • How to unsync SharePoint folder from desktop – When a user uses the OneDrive sync client to synchronize a SharePoint Document library, the whole library of files and folders is transferred to the user’s PC. It is not, however, simply replicated. Between the user’s PC and SharePoint, a two-way relationship is formed. Any changes in one location are immediately reflected in the other. This is unwanted behaviour if you intend to merely copy. As such we’ll be showing you how to unsync SharePoint. 
  • How to approve access requests in SharePoint Online – People can use the access request function to seek access to material that they do not presently have the authorization to see. As the site owner, you may set the functionality to send you an email whenever someone seeks access to your site. You can then decide whether to accept or reject their invitation. If you approve the request, you may additionally indicate the degree of authority you want to provide a user. 
  • SharePoint: can’t add site members: Causes and fixes – SharePoint servers as a collaborative document manager. As such, the collaboration-based functionality is about as important as the management functionality. Despite that, SharePoint may on occasion run into issues adding site members- in this blog we’ll be running through some causes and discussing fixes. 
  • All the ways to change your SharePoint site’s URL – These days, SharePoint has gone through many revolutionary changes, and Microsoft has made SharePoint professionals’ lives much easier, one of which is changing or renaming the site URL – now, we should not be concerned about the site URL; if your site URL does not meet your requirements, you have the flexibility to rename or change the site URL. Previously, the SharePoint Online URL could not be altered, which was a huge issue for firms that rebranded or went through a Merger, Acquisition, or Divestiture (MAD)

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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