Forwarding Teams Chat Messages

New Option to Forward Teams Chat Messages Arrives in November 2023

Message center notification MC684532 (26 October 2023, Microsoft 365 roadmap item 90585) brings news of the ability to forward Microsoft Teams chat messages. This doesn’t sound like an earthshattering feature, and in the context of most messaging systems, it isn’t. However, Teams has never been able to move messages from one chat to another and that’s exactly what forwarding enables in the new Teams (desktop and browser) client and the mobile clients.

Chat forwarding works in one to one chats, group chats, and message chats. It doesn’t work in channel conversations. A forward option for both chats and channel conversations has existed since late 2019, but only in the Teams mobile clients. Rollout is scheduled for late November 2023, starting with targeted release tenants, followed by standard release in mid-January 2024, and finishing with GCC, GCC-High, and DOD in late January 2024. Deployment worldwide should be complete by mid-February 2024.

How to Forward Teams Chat Messages

To forward a chat message, select the message to forward and click on the “overflow” menu, otherwise known as the ellipsis […] menu. Select forward (Figure 1).

The option to forward a Teams chat message
Figure 1: The option to forward a Teams chat message

Teams copies the original chat message to create a new message. You now address the message to one or more recipients and add any text to provide context to explain to the recipients why you are forwarding the message (Figure 2).

 Adding context when forwarding a Teams chat message
Figure 2: Adding context when forwarding a Teams chat message

Chats can be forwarded to:

  • Individual recipients. If you’ve never had a one-to-one chat with the recipient, Teams creates one for you. Otherwise, Teams posts the message to the existing chat.
  • A named group chat. Teams post the message to the group chat.
  • A set of recipients. If an existing group chat with these people does not exist, Teams creates a new group chat and adds the recipients.
  • A distribution list. Teams expands the members of the distribution list and adds the users to a new group chat. Oddly, Teams will add a shared mailbox to a chat, but only if it has a license.

When forwarding a message, Teams delivers the message to its destination and pops the target chat to the top of the user’s chat list. No trace of the forwarded message is left in the original chat. Figure 3 shows how a forwarded message appears to readers. In this case, the message started a new group chat. An indicator shows that the message was forwarded rather than being composed directly in the chat.

A group chat created after forwarding a Teams chat message
Figure 3: A group chat created after forwarding a Teams chat message

Compliance Records for Forwarded Chats

From a compliance perspective, the Microsoft 365 substrate treats forwarded messages as if they are brand-new messages and creates compliance records in the mailboxes of the chat participants to capture the complete content of the message, including the original message together with any text added when it was forwarded. Figure 4 shows the result of a content search to find a forwarded message.

Finding a Teams forwarded chat message with a content search
Figure 4: Finding a Teams forwarded chat message with a content search

Because the message create a new group chat, the substrate created four compliance records (one stored in the mailbox of each participant), which accounts for four of the search results shown here.

A Welcome Improvement

Forwarding chat messages is a small and incremental improvement that will be welcome by Teams users. We’ve survived without the ability to forward messages in Teams chat since 2016, so it’s not like this is something that people have been crying out for. Nevertheless, being able to forward chat messages is a welcome improvement. Now how about channel messages?

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One Reply to “Forwarding Teams Chat Messages”

  1. It is unbelievable it is taking them so much. Support is littered with requests, such as this, we have been asking for the bets part of 4 years. I am very much wondering who would be using MS Teams, if MS was not a monopoly, and we were not strangled into it.

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