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Set alerts, get notified when changes occur

Go here to open the Visual Studio 2015 version of this topic.

As changes occur to work items, code reviews, source control files, and builds, you can receive email notifications for alerts that you define. For example, you can set an alert to be notified whenever a bug that you opened is resolved or a work item is assigned to you.

If you have access to Team Web Access, you can set alerts for yourself. If you’re a team administrator, you can set team alerts. And, you can view, create, edit, and delete alerts for team members and teams when you’re a member of the Project Collection Administrators or Team Foundation Administrators groups.

Set alerts just for yourself

  1. From a web browser, connect to your team project and open alerts management (My alerts from your profile menu).

    Manage individual alerts from Team Web Access

    If you don't see this option, then you must configure an SMTP server to support TFS.

  2. Enter one or more email addresses. Separate addresses with a semi-colon.

    Set email address for alerts

  3. Select the check box for each alert of interest. My work items and My build refer to work items and builds that you created.

    Manage TFS Alerts

    All alert templates are based on a query which you can customize.

    For Git repository-based team projects, A commit is pushed to this team project appears in place of Anything is checked in.

  4. For more options, open custom alerts and choose one of the options available. Also, you can open a basic alert and modify its settings, such as changing the email format from HTML to plain text or SOAP.

    Open custom alerts

  5. Define alert filters in the same way you define query filters.

    Fill out the custom alerts form

    For a list of available fields, see Index of work item fields.

  6. For even more options, open the Select New Alert Template.

    Open all alert options

  7. Choose from one of the several alert types listed.

    Choose an alert type from all alert options

Set alerts for your team

  1. If you’re not a team administrator, get added as one. You need to be a team, project, or project collection administrator to create team alerts.

  2. Open team alerts from Manage TFS Alerts.

    Open team alerts

  3. Expand the team and open Select New Alert Template.

    Work Item Alerts link on Alerts admin page

  4. Choose an alert type.

    Choose an alert type for the team

  5. Notice how the subscriber is set to the team context. Alerts are sent to each team member based on their preferred email address, which they set through their profile.

    Choose an alert type for the team

    For the team context, the @Me query variable is interpreted as anyone who is a member of the team.

You can set filters for as many as 20 different alert types, specify the email addresses for yourself and other team members, and select the delivery format. Also, you can set team alerts to keep all team members notified of important changes.

Administer alerts for a team project

To administer alerts for a team project, you must be a member of the Project Collection Administrator or Team Foundation Administrator groups. If you’re not a member of these groups, you’ll not see the options available for administering alerts.

As an administrator, you can view, create, edit, and delete alerts for team members and teams.

View alerts set for a team project

Find alerts set for a team member or team

  • Choose the name of the team member from the drop down list, or type the name in the search box.

    Find alerts defined for a team member

    Alerts defined for a team member

Create, edit, or delete an alert

  1. To create an alert for a team member, first find the alerts defined for that subscriber as described in the previous step. Then, create an alert in the same way that a team member creates alerts.

    Create an alert for another team member

    To create an alert for a team, first find the alerts assigned to that team, and then create an alert in the same way. The team should appear in the Subscriber field.

  2. To edit or delete an alert, open it from the short cut menu.

    Open or delete an alert


    When you clear an alert, you also clear all email addresses defined for the alert.

Q & A

Q: How do I get access to Team Web Access?

A: You need to be added to the Basic, Advanced, or Stakeholder groups as described in Change access levels.

Q: Where can I learn more about defining alert filters?

A: See Query fields, operators, values, and variables.

Q: What alerts support Git?

A: If your team project uses Git repositories for source control, then you’ll have access to the following Push category alerts. Checkin alerts only appear when the team project uses Team Foundation version control.

Push category alerts (Git repository)

Q: How do I create alerts to notify specific people when a bug or other work item is created?

A: You can create alerts for others only when you’re a member of the Project Administrator or Team Foundation Administrator groups. This membership provides access to the administrator tasks to view and manage all alerts for the team project.

To create an alert for a team member or team, go to Administer alerts for team projects.

All alerts contain links to objects that open in TWA. If a recipient of an alert doesn’t have permission to access TWA, then they won’t be able to open the linked object.

Q: Where can I see a list of all the fields that are available for monitoring changes to work items?

A: Go here for an index of work item fields defined for TFS default process templates.

Q: Is there a way to customize the email format?

A: Yes, there is a template format for each alert category. See Customize the format for TFS email alerts.

Q: How do I manage alerts when I connect to TFS 2010?

A: The instructions in this topic require you to connect to TFS 2012 or TFS 2013. If you have upgraded to VS 2012 or VS 2013 and are connecting to TFS 2010, then you might have to install Team Explorer 2010 side-by-side to manage alerts stored on TFS 2010.

Q: What tools are available to monitor builds?

A: You can monitor build progress using the build notification application.