Outlook for Windows Gets Meet Now Button for Microsoft Teams

Closing the Gap Between Outlook and Teams

Microsoft has been gradually closing the gap between Outlook and Teams over the last year or so. The headline work is probably the Share to Teams and Share to Outlook features, but lots of smaller changes have rolled out to make it easier for Outlook users to access Teams. Most recently, a change was made to have Outlook create Teams meetings by default.

Office 365 notification MC233463 (January 9) covers the addition of a Meet Now button for Teams in the Outlook for Windows (Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise version). The roadmap item is 68838 and deployment to commercial and GCC tenants due to start in late January with completion in mid-February.

Code for the Meet Now button is included in the Teams meeting add-in. In addition, you’ll need to run a recent version of Outlook (I am using version 2012 build 13530.20316) before the Meet Now button shows up in Outlook’s calendar tab (Figure 1).

The Meet Now button in the Teams meeting add-in for Outlook
Figure 1: The Meet Now button in the Teams meeting add-in for Outlook

What Happens When You Meet Now from Outlook

When you click the Outlook Meet Now button, Teams attempts to launch a new private meeting. This works well if you’re signed into Teams in your home tenant (in other words, Outlook and Teams are connected to the same tenant). The meeting starts and you can invite people to join and do everything that normally happens during a private meeting.

Things aren’t quite so good if you’ve moved away from your home tenant to sign into Teams as a guest in another tenant. Now things depend on settings in the default Teams meeting policy for that tenant, which dictates what guest users can do. First, guests must be allowed to create impromptu private meetings. In Figure 2 the setting is disabled, and guests can’t use Meet Now.

Teams meeting policy setting to control ability to use Meet Now to create private meetings
Figure 2: Teams meeting policy setting to control ability to use Meet Now to create private meetings

Guest Accounts and Meet Now

Even when guests can use Meet Now, they might run into another issue. It’s common that organizations set meeting policies to restrict the people who can join a meeting without going through the lobby. In Figure 2, the policy is set so that only meeting organizers can join a meeting direct. If the meeting policy doesn’t allow guests to join a meeting without going through the lobby, any attempt by a guest to use Meet Now will result in the frustrating situation where the meeting starts but the guest can’t join because they are in the lobby. No one else has been invited to the meeting, so no one can join to release the guest from the lobby. The meeting therefore enters a black hole and doesn’t come out.

The point can certainly be argued that guest accounts shouldn’t be using a tenant for Meet Now meetings. If they want to meet with someone in the target tenant, the guest can go back to their home tenant and create the meeting there. This is true, but a more elegant implementation could have communicated the problem better to guests.

Teams Meeting Policy Settings to Control Meet Now

Reverting to tenant users, two settings in the Teams meeting policy assigned to an account dictates if the user can use the Meet Now feature of the Teams meeting add-in. First, they must be allowed to use the add-in (else it won’t be loaded by Outlook). Second, they must be allowed to use Meet Now to launch private meetings. For instance, users assigned the meeting policy shown in Figure 2 won’t see the Meet Now button.

If you’re using the Teams PowerShell module to check or set policy settings, the settings are AllowOutlookAddIn and AllowPrivateMeetNow. Both must be True. Note that if you disable the Allow Meet Now in private meeting setting, users won’t be able to use the Meet Now option in the Teams calendar app.

Lots of changes happen in Teams as the platform expands to deal with user demands and requirements of organizations. Keep up to date with what’s happening by subscribing to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We do the heavy lifting so that our subscribers always have the best information.

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