TFS & Visual Studio ALM – by Neno Loje

(formerly Team System, VSTS)

Notifying users when a particular work item changes in TFS

May 14th, 2014 · 9 Comments · 18401, 18402, Tools and Utilities

The Goal

In TFS you can set up Project Alerts that alert users when work items change. But sometimes you would like to be able to add a list of people to be notified when a particular work item changes.

The Solution

You can achieve this by using a server-side plug-in.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Enable SMTP settings for your TFS in TFS Admin Console (if not already done)
  2. Add a custom field to your work item types:
    Type = “string”, Reference Name = “TFS.CcNotificationReceivers”
    … and display it on the Work Item form:
  3. Install server-side plug-in:
  4. To install, copy TFS.WorkItemTracking.CcNotifications.dll to the “PlugIns” folder, located at: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 12.0\Application Tier\Web Services\bin\Plugins
    (to uninstall, simply delete the .DLL again)
    Download the .ZIP package with all event-handlers for TFS 2018 here (for TFS 2017 here, for TFS 2015.1 or higher, you can find it here and for TFS 2013, here).
  5. Done. When you enter user names (or e-mail addresses) into the new field (separate multiple values with commas or semicolons), those users will be notified of any changes that happen to that particular work item.


Note: Server-side plug-ins work on TFS on-premises only (not with Visual Studio Online Team System).



Update (February 23, 2016): Added link to TFS 2015.1-compatible .ZIP file.

Update (June 6, 2017): Added link to TFS 2017-compatbile .ZIP file and changed “Visual Studio Online” to “Visual Studio Team System”.

Update (July 19, 2018): Added download link to TFS 2018-compatbile version, and fixed the link for the TFS 2017 version.


9 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott Presson

    I’m not in any way complaining, The CcNotifications plugin worked great for me from day one. It does look like TFS 2013.2 has broken it.
    Is the source code available so I can adjust for 2013.2?

  • Nagaraj

    You can check this URL for TFS Alerts

  • Michael

    This is what we are looking for. Currently we just added our entire organization to our team and use a Team Alert for State Change and send it to the Created By field (not optimal as we lose functionality due to performance; 20 Minutes to get the capacity screen on the Task Board 🙁 ).

    How easy would it be to use change the plugin to use the CreatedBy field instead of ( or as well as) the ccNotificationReceivers on State Change only?

    That way we would not need to add the person we want to notify manually. We would also like to restrict it by work item type, e.g., “Product Backlog Item” and Team Project(s).

    • vstsblog

      @Michael: In TFS, you can already set up an alerts that would inform the creator of a work item when it has been changed by somebody else. Let me know, if that works for you.

  • Scott Presson

    Hello Neno. Happy 2016.
    I was wondering if the solution would support adding specific fields to the alert generated. Obviously not as is. Can you suggest a new class?
    PS I compiled for 2015.1

    • Neno

      Hi Scott! Sorry for the wait…
      What fields would you like to see in the alert generated?
      Would it be the same fields as with the normal work item alerts?

  • Bina

    Will this dll work for TFS 2012? If not, anyone know if one exists for TFS 2012. Thank you!

    • vstsblog

      Unfortunately, the CcNotifications server plug-in has never been released for TFS 2012 (it supported TFS 2013 when I first published it).

      As TFS 2012 is more than 5 years old, I don’t see a huge value in backporting it. If it’s very urgent for your company I would happily reconsider though. Is there anything particular stopping you from upgrading to a more recent version of TFS?


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