SharePoint Alerts, Notifications and News Digests

When training SharePoint users, I always group these three together as they are all ways of finding out what is happening in your SharePoint sites. But they do do different jobs:

  • Alerts – email notification of changes in a list/library or an individual item/document. Good for monitoring information, documents, lists & libraries for additions, updates and deletions
  • Email Notifications – notification via email of comments, replies to comments or page likes plus digest of unread news posts. Good for monitoring responses to page comments
  • News Digest – summary email of news posts customised by sender and saved as a SharePoint page too. Good for transitioning from regular newsletters to using SharePoint news posts or getting both without recreating content


To illustrate the position of options, the image shows the ellipse menu from SharePoint library showing Alert me and Manage my alerts options.

SharePoint Alerts can be set on an entire library/list or single item within the library/list.  To set an alert choose Alert me from the toolbar, without selecting an item to set alert on the whole library/list or after selecting an item to set alert on single item.

News Posts

If a news article is posted to a SharePoint site you are a member of, then you will received a weekly email summary of the posts you have NOT read.  To control these emails, so to the SharePoint start page and from the cog choose Email notification settings.

To illustrate the location of the options referenced this image shows the SharePoint gear icon menu with Email notification settings option highlighted

From here you can also control notifications about comments & likes on your pages, as well as unread or missed news posts.

To reinforce the options for notifications this image shows the email notifications screen including options for notifications of comments on your pages, replies to comments, likes on your pages and digests of news posts you've missed.

News Digests

A news digest is a custom collection of news articles which is emailed and stored as a SharePoint page.  To create a news digest navigate to the site showing the articles you want to include and click See all on the news web part on the home page.

To illustrate the location of the see all link this image shows the news web part header with the see all link highlighted

Click Email a news digest then compile the digest choosing the articles to include then click Next and add any additional information, pick the recipients and give the digest a name.

To illustrate the location of the link to create a digest this image show the all news posts page with the email a news digest link highlighted
To demonstrate the appearance the News digest composition page this image shows the News digest composition page including search for user in the to box. additional text in the message box and the chosen news posts for the digest


  • The digest title will be used for a page include a date if it’s a regular mailing
  • People you send the digest to will only see the information if they have permissions in SharePoint already
This image shows an example of news digest email to show the style of the email and to illustrate the content matches the digest composition.
Sample Digest Email

Mobile App

You can also get notification from the SharePoint mobile app. Although please note that admins can limit this functionality, so the setting you pick will not give you any notification if it has been disabled by your admin. To configure notifications in the SharePoint mobile app, tap the Me icon at the bottom of the screen then the gear icon at the top right.

To illustrate the position of the referenced buttons this image shows the Me tab of the SharePoint Mobile app.  Me is located at the bottom right and the gear icon at the top right.

Choose Push Notifications

This illustration shows the settings page of the SharePoint mobile app and highlights the position on the page of the Push notifications option.

And pick what you want to see notifications about

This illustration shows the push notification settings available.  These are Interesting news (Posts that might interest you), Comments (Comments on your pages and replies to your comments), Page Like (Someone likes your pages), Mentions in Comments (You are mentioned in comments or comment replies)

Side Note

I recently read an article about describing images in technical documentation for people with vision impairments and (hopefully) have learnt from that and included adequate alternative text on the images in this blog. If anyone reading this has expertise in this area, your feedback is welcome.

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