How to Set Document Alerts in OneDrive for Business

ONEDRIVE for business alerts

Working collaboratively in the cloud is a great convenience, and something that you can do very well in Office 365 if you use OneDrive for Business, as many schools do. However, sometimes it is nice for teachers (and students) to know when others have changed or modified a document that they co-author. To achieve such an outcome, you can set up document alerts. Here’s how.

1. Navigate to your OneDrive for Business page and find the file that you would like to set up an alert on. (You can set an alert on any Microsoft Office document).

2. Select the document by clicking on it, and then click the Files tab in the top left-hand corner of your screen to open the Files ribbon.

files tab in onedrive for business

3. Look for the Alert Me icon on the middle of the toolbar, (it looks like a bell). Click Alert Me and then choose Set alert on this document.

set alert on this document

4. The pop-up window that follows gives you a number of options as to what you would like to be alerted for and how often. These options include:

  • Alert title: This is included in the subject of the email or SMS notification you are sent. By default it is the name of the document, but you can change that here.
  • Send Alerts to: Choose who you would like to be alerted to a document change by entering their email addresses.
  • Delivery Method: Alerts can be sent as emails or an SMS.
  • Change Type: What kind of changes would you like to be notified about? Set your preferences here.
  • Send Alerts for These Changes: Specify whether to filter alerts based on specific criteria.
  • When to Sent Alerts: Choose whether you want your alerts sent immediately, as a daily summary or once a week.

Alert settings onedrive for business

5. To cancel alerts on one or more files, simply select Alert Me from the Files ribbon, and then Manage My Alerts. This will show you a list of all the alerts you have set up on your documents. From here you can look for the document you want to remove notifications from. You can also edit the preferences you set up in step 4 by clicking on the document and making the relevant changes.

Alerts are great for group projects at school, or for times when you are waiting for others to complete their portion of a document before adding additional details or finalizing it for submission. Teachers could also use it to monitor select student participation. However, perhaps one of the best uses for document alerts is in conjunction with Excel Surveys. You can add an alert so that you get notified every time a Survey is completed (or at least get a daily or weekly notification).

Note that document alerts can only be set up on files that you created. You cannot set alerts for documents that have been shared with you.

22 thoughts on “How to Set Document Alerts in OneDrive for Business”

    1. Hi,

      Sorry for the late reply, I have been on vacation. The notification feature is still there, but it is hidden by default. If you click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner, and then select Show Ribbon, you will see the options as posted originally in this blog post. Thanks! 🙂


      1. I still don’t see it – has it been removed for good now? When I am in the folder and set a check mark next to the file I want to set a reminder for and then click on the gear icon, the only options I get are: Change Theme, Office 365 Settings, Add an app, Site contents and Site settings – no ‘Show ribbon’.

        1. Yes. I am afraid it looks like it is going away…or has yet to be added to the new interface. If you look in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen you will get the chance to return to the “old version” of OneDrive. This lets you show the ribbon and activate notifications, however, the latest version of OneDrive for Business does not appear to have this feature…yet.

  1. Is it possible to set alerts for documents shared in a group on Office 365? (Clicking the gear icon and then “Show Ribbon” isn’t an option in groups, sadly.)

    You’d think it’d be especially useful to have a notification feature for group document updates. I’d almost configure that to be default, then have the option to turn it off. Maybe that’s just me… 🙂

      1. Actually it’s still there. If you don’t use IE that is.

        If you do use IE you have to click “Use classic OneDrive” (or something along those lines, it’s not in English in my version) in the lower left corner. After clicking that you can go back to the gear symbol and find Show ribbon in the menu. Makes perfect sense 😉

        1. Yes. It is (kind of) still there. I added that in a comment to a previous poster so you should see that listed as a reply to Sam Spade above, but thanks for the additional details 🙂

  2. ARGH – Totally agree – this is so annoying – utilizing Office365 with my team and can’t get alerts when they update documents for me.

  3. I agree! Alerts are a “must have” to function at its best for my team as well. Is it on the docket to be added soon?

  4. Thanks for your explanation, it was support easy to set. I am wondering if there is a way to personalize your automatic message?

  5. Hey Jonathan,
    How do set up to send notification via email to others, if a new document is added.

    1. I don’t know if there is any way to automate that. Each individual may have to set up their own notifications. There may be another way, but this is about all I know as a solution 🙁

  6. Hi – Does this still work? In the Office 365 for Business Tenant my school district uses, the “FILE” options look completely different than the screenshots in this post. I do not see an Alerts option.

    1. Yes. In the bottom left-hand corner of OneDrive you will see an option to switch to classic OneDrive. Once you make that switch, click the gear icon and turn the ribbon on. When the ribbon is on you will see the File tab for notifications.

  7. All this and still cant set an alert for a file shared with me. The ribbon bar is on as advised but “file” not available when looking at files shared with me. What’s up with that?

  8. Can we do the same thing with notifications on a local level through our server? We may not want to put our info in the cloud.

  9. After reading through the comments I was able to use the older version and complete my task. Thanks so much!

  10. In 2018, we’re able to use Microsoft Flow to create actions based on triggers. For example, you can monitor a folder in OneDrive for Business and receive both an email notification when a file is created/added. Slick stuff!

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