Set and manage notification alerts on SharePoint discussion boards, lists, & libraries

In both modern and classic SharePoint experiences, you can navigate to any discussion board, list, or library and set a custom alert just for you (or for others if you’re an admin) to get emails on new items, modifications, and more. All of the setup and management guidance below is classic, but modern is almost exactly the same except for how you initially access the “Alert me” options.

Set up a new alert

First, navigate to the list or library. Once there, you’ll see “Files/Items” and “Library/List” at the top. In the example below, we’re setting an alert on a document library so our options are “Files” and “Library.” Click the second option for the library, then “Alert Me.”

Select “Set alert on this library/list”

In the first part of the dialog, choose the Subject line of the email notifications (Alert Title), who should get it (just you if non-admin), and how they should get it. Your administrators may not have text messaging set up, so that may not be an available option.

Finally, choose what you care about (new items, modifications, deletions), the context/criteria for notifications, and how frequently you want emails (immediately, daily, or weekly). I find the daily option is great for discussion boards so users aren’t overwhelmed with back and forth discussion and can instead read a digest and catch up in a single email.

Click OK.

When ribbon menu isn’t there (classic)

Sometimes when you’re on a page with multiple web parts, you won’t see the Files/Library or Items/List menu options. This is because you need to “select” the relevant web part on the page by clicking in “white space” on the web part. The ribbon menu should then appear. And unless settings were changed by your site owner, you can sometimes click the title of the web part to go to just that app where you’ll see the menu as well.

Modify existing alert (end-user)

From the email notifications you receive, you can just click “Modify my alert settings” to see all alerts you have on that particular site, and be able to delete them or edit the settings.

You can also get there the same way we started. Ribbon menu –> List/Library –> Alert Me –> Manage my alerts

Manage all user alerts (admin)

Go to site settings

Under “Site administration” select “User alerts”

Choose for whom you’re modifying/deleting the alert(s) and click Update

You’ll now see all alerts that user has set up on that site (or alerts someone set up on their behalf). From here, you can delete any unwanted alerts, or report back to the user or interested party on frequency and topics/lists with alerts.

Add a print button to SharePoint list items

One of my more popular requests is an easier way to print list items (either to PDF or paper). Using SharePoint Designer, we can add a “Print Item” button to the display forms for all list items. This button appears in the “Actions” section of modal dialogs AND standalone display forms in their own window. See above for an example of a modal dialog implementation.

You can do this rather quickly, but will need to be a site admin with access to SharePoint Designer to make the change.

Note: This only works for classic view lists.

  1. Download the print icon
  2. Add print icon to Site Assets
  3. Add a custom action to list

1. Download the print icon

2. Add print icon to Site Assets

  1. Open your site in SharePoint Designer
  2. Go to Site Assets and import the downloaded print icon (using import/browse OR drag-and-drop)

3. Add a custom action to list

  1. Open your list in SharePoint Designer
  2. Add new custom action for display form ribbon (upper left dropdown)
  3. Name it “Print Item”
  4. Set “Navigate to URL:” to
    javascript:window.print()
  5. Browse for the button image URL (I used 32×32) and select the print.png image you added to Site Assets
  6. Change “Manage” in Ribbon Location to “Actions” and click OK

    Ribbon.ListForm.Display.Actions.Controls._children

Test away!

Troubleshooting

I don’t see the “Ribbon Location (Tab.Group ID:)” option!

You need to double-check step two of “Add a custom action to list.” You must create the action from this dropdown field and specifically select “Display form ribbon” to get this option.

It’s not showing up!

  1. Make sure you types “Actions” (plural) and not “Action”
  2. Refresh your SharePoint list (Ctrl+F5 for a hard refresh)
  3. Make sure you’re using the classic experience. This does not work in modern. You can accomplish this by forcing the classic experience for all users (recommended for consistency):

If you’d rather let users choose, just be sure to educate them on the ability to switch back and forth.

How to increase lookup column limit in SharePoint lists

Lookup columns include workflow status columns, traditional lookup columns to other lists, and person/group columns. This includes the two default people fields “Created by” and “Modified by”. If your list has more than 12 of these, you may receive the following error:

“This view cannot be displayed because the number of lookup and workflow status columns it contains exceeds the threshold (12) enforced by the administrator.”

list view threshold.PNGIn SharePoint Online, you’re not able to increase the lookup column limit. Lists created prior to the June 2013 CU update are capped at 8 lookup columns, while those afterward are allowed 12.

However, on-premise SharePoint (server) allows you to change this limit to your heart’s content.

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5 ways you can use SharePoint list and library view settings to improve the user experience

SharePoint has many out-of-the-box (OOTB) ways to improve the way data is displayed in lists and libraries. Many of these can alleviate headache your users experience when adapting to a new way of working with their abundance of ever-growing information. Let’s check out a few things you can do right now, in less than five minutes:

  1. Prevent horizontal scrolling by carefully selecting displayed columns
  2. Sort items appropriately
  3. Filter to relevant info per view
  4. Group items into logical “buckets”
  5. Adjust item limits

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Use Microsoft Flow to get the number of items in a SharePoint list or library

Sometimes you need the number of items in a list or library for reporting, notifications, or just curiosity. The following details three methods you can use to get the count of items for different purposes.

  1. Use Microsoft Flow to get the number of items and use in various ways
  2. Add “count” to the top of a classic view SharePoint list for all to see
  3. Quickly find “count” just for your information in site contents or list settings

(Video at bottom of first section)

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The “Edit” icon column: a SharePoint essential for all lists and libraries

Asset 2edit

Yesterday in a SharePoint 200 session I gave at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, I shared one of my favorite SharePoint “nuggets” which is the “Edit” icon available out-of-the-box, and easily added by any level of user in just 4-5 steps.

This edit icon column can be added to any list or library view in SharePoint and allows you one-click access to edit the properties of a document or edit a list item or form. In addition to that it’s security-trimmed, meaning only people who have edit/contribute permissions will actually see the icon at all. Everyone else will only see an empty column.

To add the column, you must have the ability to create or modify views and list settings.

Note this is only available in classic view lists and libraries. In the O365/Modern experience you can simply select an item, click “Edit” and the right edit pane appears to allow a similar experience.

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How to resolve SharePoint list view threshold error: “The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold…”

SharePoint lists have a default limit of 5,000 items per view. But lists can contain 30 million items (just not all available in one view). Since you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve already learned this from an error message such as:

The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold (5000 items) enforced by the administrator.

To view items, try selecting another view or creating a new view. If you do not have sufficient permissions to create views for this list, ask your administrator to modify the view so that it conforms to the list view threshold.

First of all, when in doubt, refer to the documentation provided by Microsoft. Read it carefully to understand limitations in your specific environment, explanations of various actions and rules and the permissions required to correct the issue.

Here’s my summarized version:

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Using today’s date and/or current time in calculated columns and list view filters

I previously shared how to create a “Today” column in SharePoint that would always be up-to-date even if list items weren’t modified. These were no-code solutions that utilized either SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Flow. You can, however, use Today’s date/time to create views and calculated columns without workflow or script or the need to create another column.

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Show more or all views in a classic view SharePoint list

ViewCount

By default, you’ll see 3 views in a SharePoint list. Using simple javascript, we can make sure our users see that fourth or fifth view as well, reducing the number of clicks it takes for them to get to the data they need.

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Change SharePoint “Save” button to “Submit” in new item forms

SaveToSubmit.PNG

“Save” isn’t as familiar/intuitive to non-SharePoint users as language such as “Submit” can be. Change “Save” to “Submit” by adding a script editor or content editor web part (CEWP) to the newform.aspx page for your list.

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