Add Participants to Teams Group Chats with @Mentions

Add Group Chat Participants to Keep Up with Fast-Paced Communications

When you spend as much time as I do in reviewing the changes that occur across Microsoft 365, sometimes you meet an update that’s good but should have been there a long time ago. This is the case with message center notification MC481196 (December 6 – Microsoft 365 roadmap item 97736), which proudly starts off with “Teams Chat is for fast-paced communication, and we want to ensure nothing gets in the way” before going on to describe how it’s now possible to add someone to a group chat by mention them in the compose box. The change is rolling out now and is due to complete in late December 2022.

Adding People to Group Chats

It’s not as if it is difficult to add another person to a group chat (if you add someone to a 1:1 chat, it becomes a group chat). Click on the participant icon at the top of the chat (Figure 1) and you have the chance to add another participant.

Reviewing the list of Group chat participants
Figure 1: Reviewing the list of Group chat participants

When you add someone to a group chat, you can allow them to see the previous chat history, a certain number of days of the chat history, or none of the prior history. It’s all very straightforward.

Using the Compose Box to Add New Group Chat Participants

The new feature kicks in when someone enters a @mention in the compose box (where you enter the text for chat messages). This has always been the case as Teams would suggest a name based on whatever was entered in the compose box. Now an extra choice is present to add someone to the chat (Figure 2).

The option to add a new group chat participant from an @mention
Figure 1: The option to add a new group chat participant from an @mention

When adding a new chat participant, the normal option to allow access to the chat history are available (Figure 3). You don’t see this dialog if you are adding participants to a new group chat. You can go back 999 days when including chat history or simply allow the new participant to see everything.

Allowing a new group chat participant to see some or all of the chat history
Figure 3: Allowing a new group chat participant to see some or all of the chat history

Generally everything worked as expected and new participants joined the group chat. However, you must make sure that you pause after typing a couple of characters after the @ sign to let Teams recognize that you’re including an at mention that you want to add as a chat participant. It’s easy to keep on typing and miss out the chance. In that case, you’ll need to go back and re-enter the @ mention in the compose box to prompt Teams into action.

Good Change That Saves Clicks

I like this change but I’m not sure how often I will use the new feature. Microsoft says that being able to add a new chat participant from the compose box saves two clicks over navigating to the participant control. I’m sure that saving two clicks will be a big thing for some, but I think that this is a fit and finish update that should have existed earlier. Other changes in the same area, like being able to initiate a group chat from a distribution list, Microsoft 365 group, or tag released in summer 2022 are more important.

But don’t let me stop you saving all those clicks. Exploit the compose box to add new participants to group chats and be happy that the feature exists.

So much change, all the time. It’s a challenge to stay abreast of all the updates Microsoft makes across Office 365. Subscribe to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook to receive monthly insights into what happens, why it happens, and what new features and capabilities mean for your tenant.

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