Teams to Stop Auto-Provisioning Wiki Channel Tab

Least Popular Standard Teams Component Gets Deemphasized

I don’t know why this situation came about, but the Teams Wiki channel tab seems to stir strong emotions in many. Perhaps it’s a case of “I don’t know why Microsoft built this into Teams” or “OneNote is much better,” or even “I hate that the Wiki is a default channel tab along with Files and Posts.” Maybe it’s a combination of all three. In any case, the Wiki haters will be delighted with Message center notification MC399867 (July 12), which announces that Teams will no longer configure a wiki tab automatically during the creation of new standard channels after mid-August 2022. MC399867 mentions private channels but as far as I can see, new private channels don’t get a wiki upon creation and neither do shared channels.

Why Wiki and Not OneNote?

A lot of hot air and bluster is generated about the inadequacy of the Teams wiki and why Microsoft should have replaced it with OneNote everywhere. Although it’s fair to ask why tenants don’t have an option to switch off the wiki and replace it with OneNote (or not populate a channel tap for notetaking at all), it’s important to realize that the Teams wiki came about as a simple notetaking solution that was added at the start of the Teams journey when the development group was figuring out what Teams could deliver.

At that time, it seemed reasonable to include a tool that had no dependency other than SharePoint Online, and that’s what the Teams wiki is. The editor isn’t fantastic, it won’t support new advances such as Loop components which OneNote is supposed to do in the future, but it’s perfectly adequate for taking notes (Figure 1).

The Teams Wiki
Figure 1: The Teams Wiki

Experience since demonstrates that many Microsoft 365 customers prefer OneNote and don’t see the need to have another notetaking tool. But that’s the benefit of hindsight kicking in, and the change now being made opens up the possibility that Microsoft will allow customers to auto-provision a OneNote channel tab instead.

Not Dead Yet

Microsoft’s change to channel provisioning doesn’t mean that the Teams wiki is dead. You can still add a wiki as a tab after creating a new channel and there’s no impact on existing wiki tabs. They remain in place until a team owner decides to remove the wiki channel tab (Figure 2).

Removing a Teams Wiki
Figure 2: Removing a Teams Wiki

The elements that make up a Teams wiki are stored in the Teams Wiki Data document library inside the team’s SharePoint Online site. Separate folders in the document library store the Wiki files for each channel. The files are pointers to hidden list items where the real wiki data exists. When you remove the wiki tab from a channel, Teams removes the wiki files but leaves the folder intact. After all, you might want to add the wiki tab back in the future.

Finding the Wikis

If you want to remove the Wiki tab from existing channels, you need to know which channels are Wiki-enabled. To solve this problem, I adapted some code written for an article exploring the performance difference between cmdlets from the Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK modules and added a check for channel tabs.

Connect-MgGraph
$TeamsChannelData = [System.Collections.Generic.List[Object]]::new() 
[array]$Teams = Get-MgGroup -Filter "resourceProvisioningOptions/Any(x:x eq 'Team')" -All 
ForEach ($Team in $Teams) {
   Write-Host "Processing team" $Team.DisplayName
   [array]$Channels = Get-MgTeamChannel -TeamId $Team.Id
    ForEach ($Channel in $Channels) {
    [array]$Tabs = Get-MgTeamChannelTab -ChannelId $Channel.Id -TeamId $Team.Id
    $ChannelHasWiki = $False
    If ($Tabs.DisplayName -Match "Wiki") { $ChannelHasWiki = $True }
     $ReportLine  = [PSCustomObject] @{  
         Team     = $Team.DisplayName 
         Channel  = $Channel.DisplayName
         Type     = $Channel.MembershipType
         Id       = $Channel.Id
         Created  = $Channel.CreatedDateTime
         HasWiki  = $ChannelHasWiki
         SPOUrl   = $Channel.AdditionalProperties['filesFolderWebUrl']
       }
       $TeamsChannelData.Add($ReportLine) }
}
$AvgChannels = [math]::round(($TeamsChannelData.Count/$Teams.Count),2)
Write-Host ("{0} Teams found with {1} channels, an average of {2} channels per team" -f $Teams.Count, $TeamsChannelData.Count, $AvgChannels)
$TeamsChannelData | Out-GridView

After processing the teams in my tenant, I discovered that 120 out of 182 channels had a Wiki tab. Cleaning those up is probably a manual task because the possibility exists that some useful data might be in those files. Isn’t that something to look forward to?


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2 Replies to “Teams to Stop Auto-Provisioning Wiki Channel Tab”

  1. The auto-deployment of the tab aside, I believe there is a valid use case for a simple, plain text based doc tool. I just wish it saved content as markdown and not MHTL

    1. The most glaring weakness we’ve seen is the inability to search the Teams Wiki. Since the ability to search a wiki is just assumed for users, I’ve had to help more than one frustrated user after she put in the work to create a wiki that she intended to be a searchable resource for her team, only to find it had to be entirely removed and replaced with OneNote.

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