Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Unlike RSS feeds, alerts actively notify the user by email when there is a change made to a list
item. The user can decide what kind of change can trigger the alert, to a certain degree, and
control when the alerts are sent, from immediately to once a week. SharePoint actively sends the user
an email when the notification is triggered, which means more resources are used than the more
passive RSS feeds. However, setting alerts does mean that the user will be more likely to notice
any changes than with RSS, which requires opening the browser or feed reader to see the update.
Another plus is that a user can set an alert for someone else so that person can be informed when
a new item or changes to an item might involve them.
Alerts are managed by the SharePoint Timer service and do take some processor effort to generate
and track. For this reason, it is common practice to limit the number of alerts that a user can have
going at any one time. This setting is configured at the web application level (Central Administration
Application Management Manage Web Applications General Settings, in the Alerts section).
The default maximum is 500. But commonly that number is changed to something far lower,
particularly if you are using multiple web applications for your sites.
Regardless, keep that limit in mind before teaching your users to go alert-crazy. It may be better for
them to subscribe to an RSS feed on a list to track changes instead.
For the Announcements list, it would be good to have an alert set up for the list overall. There
are three ways to set up an alert: in the drop-down list for an item, in the ribbon for the list (or
library, if that’s where you are), or in the Items ribbon for a selected item. In our case, I am going
to focus on changes to the list overall (also, creating an alert from the List ribbon gives you a few
more, redundant, options). Keep in mind that because the Alert Me button on either an Items or
List ribbon looks the same and is in a similar place, it’s easy to set an alert on the wrong ribbon.
1. To enable an alert on a list, make sure you’re on the List ribbon, click the Alert Me button,
and then select Set Alert On This List.
2. On the New Alert page that appears, the first section gives you a chance to give a more
descriptive name for the alert. The default title for the alert is the list name (or list item)
from which it stems. For now, let’s keep that title.
3. In the Send Alerts To section (at the top of Figure 6.38), the default email address is fine,
since I’m setting it for myself. You can see that you are allowed to enter not only someone
else’s email address but also as many other people’s email addresses as you like. Use
semicolons to separate them.
Be careful. Alerts can keep the SharePoint Timer service very busy. Teach users to limit
alerts to only those lists that are the most important to them. The desire to alert other
people might overcome their caution, however, particularly if they know that everyone is
limited in the number of alerts they are allowed. Encourage them to keep the number of
alerts they set for anyone to a minimum.
Also note that, if SMS is set up in Central Administration and the user account has a
mobile phone number listed, alerts can be sent as SMS text messages instead of email.
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