How to Control Default Creation of Online Meetings with OWA

For Both Teams and Skype for Business Online Meetings

In May, Microsoft published Office 365 notification (MC213856) to say that OWA and Outlook Mobile would soon make online meetings the norm. This is now the case.

OWA calendar settings include the option to make all meetings online
Figure 1: OWA calendar settings include the option to make all meetings online

The calendar settings for OWA include whether an online meeting should be created for all meetings (Figure 1). By default, the setting is controlled by the OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled setting in the Exchange Online organization configuration, which can be examined using the Get-OrganizationConfig cmdlet. Here we see that the setting is true, meaning that all meetings created by OWA are online:

Get-OrganizationConfig | Select OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled


Mailbox-Level Control

You can also control the setting on a mailbox basis by updating its calendar configuration with the Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration cmdlet. The mailbox-level setting takes precedence over the organization setting. For example, this command disables online meetings by default for a mailbox:

Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration -Identity James.Joyce –OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled $False

OWA uses the Teams configuration to figure out if Teams or Skype for Business Online is the current provider of online meetings to the tenant. The provider is noted in the calendar configuration of each mailbox. We can check which provider is used by running code like this to report the provider and if online meetings are enabled. Fetching calendar configuration can take some time to complete for more than a few mailboxes:

$Mbx = Get-ExoMailbox -RecipientTypeDetails UserMailbox -ResultSize 50
$Mbx | Get-MailboxCalendarConfiguration |Select Identity, DefaultOnlineMeetingProvider, OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled

Identity       DefaultOnlineMeetingProvider OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled
--------       ---------------------------- ------------------------------
Andy.Ruth      TeamsForBusiness
Ben Owens      TeamsForBusiness
Ben.James      TeamsForBusiness
Brian Weakliam TeamsForBusiness
Imran Khan     TeamsForBusiness
James.Joyce    TeamsForBusiness             False
Kim Akers      TeamsForBusiness             True

Different Approach Used by Outlook Desktop

Outlook desktop takes a different approach to OWA. Outlook doesn’t use the calendar configuration settings stored in user mailboxes; its settings are in user profiles stored in the system registry. Currently, Outlook doesn’t have a setting to control whether all meetings should be online and instead loads an add-in to allow users to decide if a meeting should include Teams or Skype for Business Online.

When you create an online meeting, Outlook populates several properties for the meeting item stored in the mailbox containing links and other information about the online space for the meeting. The link allows users to join the online meeting at the appointed time. Apart from the link and the list of meeting attendees, Outlook has no connection to the online event, so items such as the meeting chat, participant list, and so on must be accessed through the online provider.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap item 58132 promises that Outlook for iOS will allow third-party online meeting providers like Zoom and WebEx to be the preferred provider. Microsoft was supposed to deliver the capability in August 2020, but there’s no sign of it still.

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3 Replies to “How to Control Default Creation of Online Meetings with OWA”

  1. With remote working the new normal and Teams meetings replacing traditional office space discussion, I was hoping Microsoft would provide the option for setting all Win 10 Outlook CTR ‘desktop’ created meetings to be Teams enabled by default.

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