Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

How to set custom contact alerts on Windows Phone 8.1

For those who can't find the setting in the People app, I explain how to set custom alerts.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure
This advertising widget is powered by Navi and contains advertisements that Navi may be paid for in different ways. You will not be charged for engaging with this advertisement. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, this advertising widget does not include information about every product or service that may be available to you. We make reasonable efforts to ensure that information in the featured advertisements is up to date, each advertiser featured in this widget is responsible for the accuracy and availability of its offer details. It is possible that your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms in this advertising widget and the advertised offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser which will be presented to you prior to making a purchase. All information is presented without any warranty or guarantee to you.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Setting a custom ringtone or messaging alert is a quick and easy way to identify who is calling or messaging you without looking at your phone. In the end, you don't have to run across the room to see if an important someone is calling you; you can tell just from the sound.

The process for setting a custom alert on a contact-by-contact basis is easy, taking just a few minutes of your time.

  • The first thing you'll need to do is decide what contact you'd like to have a special alert for, then launch the People app and open the respective contact listing.
  • Next, tap on the pencil (edit) icon. Once you do that, you'll see the photo and name of your contact, and just below that is where the options to set custom alerts can be found.
  • Tap on the respective alert type, select a sound, and then save your work.

That's all there is to it. The next time the contact calls or messages you, your device will use the custom alert to notify you.

For users who want to use an MP3 or ringtone not included in Windows Phone, you can add your own alerts by following the instructions laid out by Microsoft here. The instructions are simple and easy enough to follow. You need to have a non-DRM music file, under 30MB, and move it to the Ringtones folder on your mobile device. Once you have the file saved to your device, you can then select it using the method outlined above for a custom contact alert.