Manage the Settings of Office 365 Groups through OWA
Given the attention Microsoft dedicates to Teams, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that many people use Outlook Groups via OWA or Outlook as their collaboration platform. An Outlook group is an Office 365 Group that stores conversations in the group mailbox instead of Teams or Yammer. Although more people tend to use Outlook than OWA as their full-time client, the restricted nature of the Outlook user interface makes it difficult to introduce new Outlook Groups features. On the other hand, OWA is in a perpetual state of development and evolution, and every time you look at the browser client, it seems to have changed slightly.
OWA group management has never been particularly strong, but now it’s been revamped in the new version of OWA. The new Groups management UI is revealed through the Manage Groups section in OWA’s email tab or in the Groups section of OWA’s People tab.
Group members and owners can see details of the groups they belong to (including group membership), perform actions like leave the group, and access the different resources associated with a group. Members can also create invitations for others to join a group. Invitations to public
Owners have additional options as they can edit the group settings and take care of any issues that need action to maintain the group. For example, in Figure 1 we see that the group is under the control of the Office 365 Groups expiration policy (explained in Chapter 10) and that it is due to expire in 18 days. The owner can renew the group or, if the group has served its function and is no longer needed, allow it to expire and go into the removal cycle. During the cycle, owners have 30 days during which they can recover a deleted group. To do this, open the Deleted link under Groups, select the group you want to restore, and click the Restore button.
Notice that OWA puts groups with outstanding actions at the top of the list. We can see that one of the flagged groups has a pending join request while the others are awaiting renewal.
Other Ways of Managing Group Settings in OWA
The group management interface isn’t the only place you can edit group settings. If you open a group in the Mail section of OWA and click the member link, you see the UI shown in Figure 2 and the option to edit group settings is in the […] menu.
You can also click on a group’s card to expose the Edit group option. The same UI and capabilities are displayed in both cases.
Although you can’t do everything to manage group settings through OWA, the new group management UI is a major improvement to the previous interface. You still have to use PowerShell for some management operations for Office 365 Groups, but not as many as you had to before.
Need to know more about Office 365 Groups? We dedicate two chapters of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook to Office 365 Groups, and even more if you count the chapter on using PowerShell to manage Office 365 Groups and Teams.