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This is really weird as it seems so simple to me, but just won't work.

 myserver/site/lists/ExampleList/AllItems.aspx?ID=133

isn't this the basic url filter to only show that item?

it does work however if I use

 ?FilterName=ID&FilterMultiValue=133

but this just seems wrong to me as I am only filtering by the id (ya know...to send emails with link to the item/doc). am i missing something?

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I think you are thinking of the new/edit/display forms which usually look like this:

dispform.aspx?ID=133
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    right. this is totally correct...not sure what I was thinking. thanks though. – Justin Apr 18 '13 at 21:44
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AllItems.aspx is a view and as such it expects to display multiple items which is why the second approach works. That syntax creates a filter on the view based on the ID field and shows the ID you specify. This is the same thing that happens when you filter on a column from a view.

If you are looking to link directly to an item, the URL would be something like this :

myserver/site/lists/ExampleList/DispForm.aspx?ID=133

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