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How to customise Sharepoint Alert Email Template

Sharepoint allows users to setup email alerts on any change or adding to a list or libraries. However, the management of the email alert template can be pretty limiting as many users like to know if it's possible to customize the email alert templates that get sent out by Sharepoint.

After a bit of googling, I had it done successfully by overriding the default template. Basically, it's all managed in an XML file called alerttemplates.xml located in

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\XML

To edit this, it is recommended you create a copy of it and use STSADM command to point Sharepoint Timer Job to use this customized copy. Editing the original XML might result in getting overriden by any future updates and is not supported by Microsoft.

The structure of the XML file can be quite complicated. Basically, it consists of:

<AlertTemplates>     <AlertTemplate Type="List" Name="SPAlertTemplateType.GenericList">         <EventTypes IsVisible="True">         <Format>             <Digest>             <Immediate>         </Format>     </AlertTemplate> </AlertTemplates>

There are many templates assigned to different content types. For our usual custom list, we would want to edit the SPAlertTemplateType.GenericList one. The format tag is where we want to customize.
Within the Format tag, there are Digest and Immediate tags.

Digest would be the format used in digest format, which is if we set to receive email alerts in daily summary; whereas Immediate would be what it sounds as, immediate notifications.

To get rid off the default links in the email template is easy, simply refer here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb862021.aspx

For full guide on how to do it in Visual Studio, see: http://blog.zebsadiq.com/post/SharePoint-2010-custom-alert-template.aspx

For more information for the XML schema, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff408182.aspx

And remember to restart your time job service after applied the update!

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