Limit Increasing From 100 to 250 in May
In a May 1 message center notification (MC211658), Microsoft said that the limit for a Teams chat is increasing from 100 to 250 participants. The update is now rolling out and should be available everywhere by mid-May. The limit covers both tenant and guest users.
Large Chats for Big Enterprises
Roadmap item 63577 explains the change as follows:
“Sometimes you need to kick off a big project chat with a large group, or organize an ad-hoc discussion with staff at an event, but it is unnecessary to start a new team; perhaps you don’t all work together on a regular basis, or maybe you need a communication channel with a large group of people at an event.”
Not every organization needs to run large group chats, but the increased limit is likely to be popular in large organizations, such as the twenty that now have more than 100,000 Teams users.
Limitations with Large Chats
However, it’s important to note some limitations that apply to group chats of more than 20 participants:
- Outlook out-of-office replies and Teams status messages are not displayed for participants.
- The indicator showing that someone is typing a message is disabled.
- Video and audio calls can’t be started in the chat.
- Sharing of documents (using OneDrive for Business) isn’t allowed.
- Read receipts for messages don’t work.
Teams disables these features to avoid excessive strain on the service. Fetching out-of-office information for 250 participants requires a lot of interaction with Exchange Online mailboxes while tracking who’s read a message for the same number consumes many processing cycles.
Channel Conversation Might be Better Option
With these limitations in mind, it’s clear that a very large group chat is a message-only affair. If you want to run a fully-featured conversation for large groups of people who are already members of a team, a channel is a better option, especially when sharing documents and running audio/video meetings. Channel meetings support up to 250 participants with recent features added like support for the hands-up signal when someone wants to speak. The 3×3 participant view is imminent and custom background images have been a huge hit.
And if you need to go larger than 250, Teams Live Events support up to 10,000 participants (Microsoft has increased the limit on a temporary basis to 20,000 until July 1, 2020).
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