Using the Activity Tab in Teams Personal Chats

An Insight Into What The Other Person Has Been Doing

In the Teams desktop and browser clients, personal chats have three default tabs:

  • Chat: shows the messages in the conversation.
  • Files: access to files shared with chat participants. These files are stored in the OneDrive for Business accounts of the people who share them.
  • Activity: shows recent messages posted by the person to team channels. Both tenant users and guests can see messages through the activity tab. The tab isn’t available for federated chats or group chats.

The Organization tab is also visible to tenant users if the Show Organization tab in chats org-wide setting is enabled (under Teams settings in the Teams Admin Center). Group chats do not display the Activity tab.

Anyone in a chat can add extra tabs to point to documents or apps.

What’s in the Activity Tab?

The idea of the activity tab is that it gives you an insight into what the person you’re chatting with has been doing recently in teams where you share common membership. Teams shows activity from the last two weeks and if the person hasn’t been active, you’ll see a message saying that they haven’t “been active lately in any teams you have in common.” In Figure 1, another person is chatting with me and uses the Activity tab to see what I have been up to recently.

User activities show up in a personal chat
Figure 1: User activities show up in a personal chat

If you see an interesting item in the list, you can click on the message to go to the channel to see the full conversation. There’s no risk that you’ll see something you shouldn’t because the client limits the set of displayed messages to those from teams that you both belong to.

Even so, some people immediately worry that others (like their manager) can see something that they’d prefer not to share by looking at their activity. The simple truth here is that Teams only shows someone what they could already see by browsing through the channels in the teams of which you have common membership, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Cross-Channel Posts

As pointed out in this post, the activity tab is a also good way to discover the destination of a multi-channel post if you want to see the replies to each post. It’s not what the activity tab is designed for, but using the tab in this manner does work.

More great tips about Teams can be found in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. It’s important that you don’t just think about Teams: you need knowledge about the entire Office 365 ecosystem!

7 Replies to “Using the Activity Tab in Teams Personal Chats”

  1. Funnily i heard about similar fears when our users first discovered Delve and saw documents and emails others could see 😊

  2. If there wouldn’t be a workers council in some countries, I would totally agree. Unfortunately the activity tab could be misused for tracking user activity which workers councils usually don’t like and most likely is explictly mentioned in company agreements that there is no option of tracking user activities. So my question would be, if it is possible to deactivate this tab at least for a user group?

  3. The Activity tab does not seem to populate for guest users? At least it doesn’t from what I can see – “xxx (Guest) hasn’t been active lately in any teams you have in common”

    1. The activity tab absolutely works for guest users… if they have any activity

  4. Does anyone know if there is a way to deactivate notification in the Activities tab when someone posts a Reaction in the Chat tab?
    Basically, whenever someone posts a Reaction in Chat, I am getting two notifications (i.e., red counter in the icon, both Task Bar and tabs in Teams) and I need to activate the Activities tab just to dismiss the second one.

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