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How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

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Now that you’ve started using a document such as our leave tracking spreadsheet on Excel and have invited your team to view and edit, you know it can be super helpful to know when they’ve taken any actions on this file. After all, being kept in the loop is always a good thing, isn’t it? 

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to coordinate these actions and be notified when something important happens—like a coworker leaving the comment “lol” on a spreadsheet. You get what we mean. 

Long story short, you can set up alerts in Excel to keep track of all changes being made in your leave-tracking spreadsheet! There are many ways to go about it, and we’ll be showing you the best 3 ways to set up Excel notifications in this article.

Excel notifications: how do they work?

Notifications are key in helping your company run like a well-oiled machine during all times of the year.

They’re a great way to keep everyone on your team informed about all upcoming leaves so that you don’t have to deal with any last-minute leave surprises during the busy season or the day of an important deadline. But achieving the same results using just Excel is harder than you’d think it is.

Can Excel actually send users notifications?

The answer is a combination of yes and no.

Excel cannot email an alert to you automatically unless you write a macro in the Visual Basic (VBA) editor to perform this function. And, the reminder Alert only works if the Excel software is open. Not quite the convenient method you were hoping for, right? So, until Microsoft decides to provide a functioning solution, we have to settle for workarounds, using macros plus a little manual intervention to work with setting up alerts on your document.

There are three different ways you can choose to track changes on your file — here’s how each of them works:

  • Alerts on SharePoint – You can receive notifications right within Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, when people you’ve shared your file with make changes, edits, comments, etc. 
  • Version History Panel – You can track any edits or view changes that were made to your file using OneDrive
  • Reminders in Excel – To keep track of deadlines or employee absences, you can set up your spreadsheet with reminders

Lastly, you can also type in additional code to reprogram your file and send emails using Power Automate. However, this only works if you are logged into OneDrive and have a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Ways to set up Excel notifications

View file history on OneDrive

Perhaps the easiest way to keep track of changes made to your leave tracking spreadsheet is to use OneDrive. All you have to do is:

Start by opening your OneDrive.

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

Click on the three dots next to the file you want to view and select ‘Version history’. 

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

You will then be able to view who modified your spreadsheet.

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

Not only will you be able to track who viewed and edited your spreadsheet using the Version History Panel, but you can also use the following steps to set up alerts accordingly. 

Set up alerts on SharePoint

To stay updated when a SharePoint document or an item on your site changes, you can create an alert. 

You can get alerts whenever a file, link, or folder is changed to a SharePoint document within your Microsoft Lists library. 

Go to your Microsoft list or library.

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

Select the file, link, or folder for which you want to get an alert. In this case, it would be the leave tracking spreadsheet, along with any other secondary files you use to manage leaves. From the list of options for the list or library, select the … (ellipses), and then select ‘Alert Me’.

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

In the ‘Alert me when items change” dialog, select and change the options you want. 

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

To save, select OK.

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

You will then receive a confirmation email to alert you of the change you made. And that’s it! 

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

Set up Reminders in Excel

You can set up your spreadsheet to alert you when a deadline is approaching or an employee goes on leave. Here’s how to set it up.

First, open the workbook that contains the data you want to be alerted about, and add designated leave dates to the Monthly sheet. 

Then, fill in the days each member is off and create a table on another sheet with the dates of leaves. Choose the cells that contain the due date for which you want to be reminded. 

On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, and then click Data Tools. In the Data Tools group, click Data Validation.

In the Data Validation dialog box, on the Settings tab, select the type of alert you want in the Alert Style list. Here, you can add the message you want to send. For example, this can be a reminder that Mia has a day off on 23rd March, or that Tony will take a sick day on 8th March. Then in the Message box, type the text of the message you want to display when the alert occurs. Click OK to close the Data Validation dialog box. 

You will now get Alerts every time you open the Reminders tab on your spreadsheet.

If only there was a way to automate this…

Does all this sound like too much work? Not good enough for you? Or not quite what you’re looking for? That’s because it is.

With Vacation Tracker, you can send leave notifications to all employees with our handy Notifications feature, which takes just a minute to set up and is easy as 1, 2, 3. 

Using our tool, you can deliver daily/weekly leave notifications containing all selective company-wide or department-wide leave information. Let’s dive into how it works, shall we?

Start by going to the new Notifications tab (or the little bell icon) on the left side of the Vacation Tracker dashboard. 

Here, you will see a list of all active and inactive notifications, alongside other useful information like the notification name, owner, frequency, and scheduled time. This information can also be filtered on the basis of Locations, Departments, Labels, or any combination of the three.

To create a new notification, start by clicking on the New Notification button on the page. You will then get redirected to a page where you can configure all settings related to your notification. Fill that in according to your needs and once everything looks good, hit Save Notification and you’re all set!

See how quick that was? It takes just a minute to set up and saves you hours of headaches and hassles. Think of a better ROI. We’ll wait.

And here’s an example of what the notification will look like when it arrives:

How To Set Up Notifications in Excel

I hope these tips regarding Excel notifications will help make tracking leaves in your organization even easier. If you have any additional questions about automating your workflow, please let us know at hello@vacationtracker.io — we’re always here to help!

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Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

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