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Is it possible to send an email alert when a field of a list is empty ?

I've tried the following :

  • Create a custom list, add a field named "TestField"
  • Create a personal view named "TestView", filter : Show when column "TestField" is equal to "" (leave the box empty)
  • Create an alert, immediate email when items appearing in "TestView" are modified
  • Create an item with both fields filled
  • Create an item with only title filled

Now you should receive two alert emails, but in the view "TestView" there is only one item. Is it a bug ?

Clarification : even though the item with "TestField" filled doesn't appear in the view (filtered on "TestField" empty), an alert email is sent. The alert is related to "TestView", so it shouldn't be sent, as "TestField" is not empty.

share|improve this question
@mathieu: can you clarify this question a little bit? It seems like the problem is that you aren't getting alerts for new items added to a list - but you added detail about empty columns and custom views, so I'm not sure. – MattB May 5 '10 at 19:09
@MattB : you're right, clarification done. Is it better ? – mathieu May 6 '10 at 7:18
thanks - after re-reading your original I'm not sure how I misunderstood...but I get it now, see answer below. – MattB May 6 '10 at 14:07

I did some testing on this, and it does seem to be a bug - but only related to views that filter on blank/empty fields. I setup 2 views with alerts based on them:

  • testblank - filter for TestField to be blank
  • test12345 - filter for TestField to be 12345

test12345 seems to work as planned - it only alerts when items with TestField set to 12345 are added or edited.

testblank "sort of" works. When editing items, it only alerts on items that have been edited where TestField is blank. The big bug is that when you add a new item, it alerts no matter what TestField is set to.

I played around with this for a few minutes, and couldn't find a simple view/alert based workaround. I even tried creating a view in SharePoint Designer (where you can actually filter on field "Is Null") and the same bug persisted.

The only workaround I could come up with is to create a custom workflow in SharePoint designer that sends an email when TestField is empty. It isn't great for end users, but it is something.

share|improve this answer
Ok thanks, this looks like a bug... – mathieu May 7 '10 at 12:04

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