SharePoint alerts – view restrictions

I recently hit a problem in SharePoint Online when trying to configure some alerts — I have a document library that uses document sets to group together all the files related to a single client proposal. That document library has meta-data relating to the client, the proposal status and other relevant details to make finding and managing the proposals easy.

I wanted to set up an alert to let me know each time a new proposal (document set) was created. This should be fairly easy – from the library tab select “Set alert on this library” and choose the option to alert me only when new items are added.

Unfortunately, this ended up sending me a notification every time a document was added within one of the document sets, not just when a document set was created.

I thought the solution to this would be easy — SharePoint allows an alert to be based off a specific view, rather than all items in the library.

Alert View

So I configured a vew that included a filter to only include files of a specific content type — the content type of my document set. However, when I went to configure the alert, the drop down list of views I could base the alert off did not include the view I had just set up!

My initial searches for a solution to this did not show up anything helpful. Then I found a note in the Microsoft Alerts overview – “Only some of the views are available as filters for alerts.” If only they provided information about which views cannot be used as filters for alerts and why.

In the end I found the answer thanks to this blog post – for some reason views that filter results based on either system generated or calculated columns cannot be used for alerts. That includes content type, created date, etc.

I tested this new information by removing the filter in my view that restricted the content type and all of the sudden I could set an alert using that view.

I have no idea why this restriction exists, but it is frustrating. I don’t have a work-around for this problem yet.

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