The Out-of-the-box (OOTB) SharePoint toolbox is very powerful, and one of the many great features is the possibility to set alerts on items, lists, documents, libraries, pages, and more.
Typically an alert is being set for one of the following actions:
An Alert can also be set for any of the following changes:
What is often overlooked, though, is the fact that an alert can also be set on changes to a particular view.
I suspect this feature is often overlooked, because it requires creating a view first. And to create a view a user needs to work with metadata columns, which at first can be a tough concept to get across.
If no view has been created, there is no indication in the alert set-up screen that the feature exists, except for the small print, which nobody reads.
If a view has been created it would be listed below “The time or location of an event changes”.
Let’s use the following scenario to utilize Alerts with a particular view. An office with about 200 employees receives recurring visits of clients and remote employees. Those visits are recorded in the Outlook Conference Room Calendar and there is no notification to the local employees about those visits.
Local employees would like to be aware of those visits to a) meet the clients / remote employees in person; b) dress more business-like as often clients are visiting the corporate office for the first time.
To utilize Alerts on particular calendar views follow these steps:
- Add the Calendar App to your site
- The OOTB calendar contains a Category column, with the following values:
Meeting | Work hours | Business | Holiday | Get-together | Gifts | Birthday | Anniversary
- Remove those values and replace them with:
Client Visit and Remote Employee Visit
- Create a Client Visits as well as a Remote Employee Visits view:
IMPORTANT: When creating the view, choose the Standard View Type. It’s easy to automatically select the Calendar View Type, we are working in a calendar after all. A view generated from the Calendar View Type will NOT display in the Alert Set up form.
- If the Create View page looks like this, you have selected the correct View Type:
- Under Filter, select Category and Client Visit. Repeat the steps to set up the Remote Employees view, selecting Remote Employee in the Category column.
- Once the views have been created, select your calendar, the Calendar tab, Alert Me, Set alert on this list
- You will now find the option to set an alert when Someone changes an item that appears in the following view:
All that’s left to do is send instructions to all local employees on how to set an alert based on the type of visit they are interested in.
A few more thoughts about the SharePoint Calendar:
It is possible to connect a SP Calendar to Outlook. Updates to the SharePoint Calendar will automatically sync to the SP Calendar in Outlook and vice versa.
Once the SP Calendar is connected to Outlook, if a user drags an appointment from the SP Calendar to his/her own calendar, the dragged appointment will not be updated if there is a change made to the original appointment in the SharePoint Calendar.
Another great functionality is Calendars Overlay. Unfortunately, views created from the Standard View Type cannot be used in Calendars Overlay. To utilize Calendars Overlay views have to be created from the Calendar View Type.
Alerts on views and Calendars Overlay can be used in the same calendar, but a separate set of Standard Type views for the Alerts, and a separate set of Calendar Type views for the Overlay would have to be created.