Sharing Excel Workbooks in Teams Meetings

Teams meeting participants can open Excel workbooks through the Share Tray and collaborate with everyone in the meeting through Excel Live. The new feature builds on several existing capabilities, including co-authoring and autosave for Office documents and it’s a useful addition to how people can work together during online meetings. The only thing to remember is that all the workbooks used by Excel Live need to be in OneDrive for Business, but that shouldn’t be a big issue.

Teams Adds Video Messages to Chats

Teams video messages are clips of up to 1 minute in length that can be sent in 1:1, group, and meeting chats. They’re a powerful way to deliver a message to chat participants, but they come with a downside in that support for eDiscovery is poor. But that’s not a reason to eschew their usage. Who doesn’t like receiving video messages from their closest friends?

Microsoft Brings Scheduled Send to Teams Chat

The Teams scheduled send feature allows users to set a time when Teams will deliver chat messages. The feature works for Teams enterprise and consumer users. It isn’t available for channel conversations. If you’re used to the delayed send feature in OWA and Outlook, you’ll know the value of being able to schedule a message to arrive at the most appropriate time!

End of the Road for Teams Linux Desktop Client

According to notifications sent by Microsoft to customers that have users of the Teams Linux client, Microsoft plans to retire the client in early December and replace it with a progressive web app (PWA). The news is not unexpected. The Teams Linux client has always lagged its Windows and macOS counterparts and was buggy to boot.

Microsoft Launches Expanded Reactions for Teams

Instead of being limited to five emojis to express reactions to Teams chat and channel messages, Microsoft is making over 800 emojis available as expanded reactions. Whether this will make any difference to the way anyone uses Teams is entirely personal. For me, I think I shall remain content by using the limited set available to date because it’s just too much hard work to choose from over 800 options.

Viva Engage Storyline Appears in Preview

Viva Engage Storyline is a new way of posting information to Yammer. Instead of posting to communities, people can post to their personal storyline, with the aim of fostering better communication and creating their personal brand. Storyline works in both the Viva Engage app in Teams and the traditional Yammer browser UI. It’s a nice way to post stuff when you don’t have a good home for the information, but I do have a nagging doubt that storyline is just another way to share information inside Microsoft 365, which is exactly what’s needed.

Teams Reactions Captured in Audit Records

Every time someone reacts to a message in a team chat or channel conversation, Teams captures an audit record and sends it to the Office 365 audit log. The Teams reactions audit records are an interesting source of information. In this article, we show how to use PowerShell to interpret the contents of the reactions, and how to use the data to find the underlying messages.

How to Restrict the Creation of Regular Microsoft Teams Channels

No Teams administration policy controls the creation of regular channels. Policies are there to control the creation of shared and private channels, but not the regular variety. Team owners can restrict creation on a team-by-team basis, but if organizations want to apply central control, they’ll need to do it with PowerShell.

Yammer Powers Viva Engage and Teams Q&A

Some recent announcements have shown Yammer’s new direction. The Communities app is now Viva Engage and Teams Meeting Q&A app is powered by Yammer. That’s all good because it negates some of the tension between Teams and Yammer in terms of positioning within Microsoft 365. The messages that make up Q&A in Teams meetings are captured for compliance purposes, and that’s also a good thing.

Start Teams Group Chats with Distribution Lists, Groups, and Tags

A new feature allows Teams users to start new group chats by adding participants from the membership of distribution lists, Microsoft 365 groups, or mail-enabled security groups. It’s a neat way to add up to 249 participants to a new group chat. And while we’re covering the topic of adding people to group chats, we also mention the oft-overlooked feature that allows Teams tags to be used for this purpose.

Report the Membership of Teams Private Channels

In this article, we explain how to create a report about the Teams private channels found in a tenant together with the members and owners of each channel. The PowerShell script is relatively straightforward and once the data is extracted from Teams, it can be sliced and diced in different ways.

Using the Get-AssociatedTeam Cmdlet to Report Team Memberships

The Get-AssociatedTeam cmdlet is part of V4.6 of the Microsoft Teams PowerShell module. It reports the membership a user account has in teams, including where the account has direct membership of shared channels. The cmdlet makes it easy to generate a report of teams membership, and the PSWriteHTML module makes it easy to output nice PDF reports.

Populate the Membership of a Teams Shared Channel for All Users

This article explains how to populate the membership of a Teams shared channel using PowerShell. The idea is to create a shared channel that’s used for organization-wide communications, like a HR questions and answers channel. Alternatives like using a dynamic Azure AD group with a filter to find Teams users are also considered.

Using the Get-TeamAllChannel Cmdlet to Report Microsoft Teams Channels

Version 4.6 of the Microsoft Teams PowerShell module includes the Get-TeamAllChannel cmdlet. As the name implies, the cmdlet returns details of all channels in a team (regular, private, and shared). To see what it does, we wrote a script to report all the channels in teams in a tenant.

Teams Native Files Policy Disables SharePoint and OneDrive Access

The Teams Files policy gives a way for administrators to control if users see the Teams Files tab in every channel and Teams chat, and if they can access OneDrive and SharePoint to upload files. The policy exists for organizations that have standardized on other file storage systems such as Box or Dropbox.

Microsoft Forces Backup Vendors and Customers Toward Teams Export API

In a July 12 announcement, Microsoft says that they will restrict the use of Exchange Web Services to access Teams message data from September 30. Microsoft wants customers to use the Teams Export API instead. All that’s fine, but it means that customers have to change their Teams backup product to one that uses the new API – and they’ll be charged for the privilege of using the Export API.

Teams Files Channel Tab Keeps Improving

Microsoft has improved the functionality of the Teams Files channel tab since its introduction. The most recent update adds SharePoint’s Grid View and Details pane, and the net effect is that the Files channel tab is now almost as functional as the SharePoint browser interface.

Teams to Auto-Terminate Stale Meetings After 10 Minutes

Stale Teams meetings have just one participant and last more than 10 minutes past the scheduled end time. Soon, Teams will end these meetings automatically. It’s a small but useful change that will prevent Teams meetings lingering on in cyberspace long after anything useful ceased happening in the gathering.

Viva Topics Stretches to Teams Chat

Two recent and useful enhancements for Viva Topics are rolling out to Microsoft 365 tenants. You can now include topic cards in Teams chat messages and knowledge managers can add external references (website links) to topic cards. Neither might seem terribly important, but both changes make Viva Topics more useful and usable.

Teams and its Unwanted SharePoint Online Channel Folders

Teams likes to control the channel folders it creates in SharePoint Online, which is why it removes the Delete and Move to options from the folder menu. But once Teams removes a channel permanently, shouldn’t it allow the SharePoint folder to be removed?

Disabling Chat Write Access in Teams Meetings for Anonymous Participants

A new feature allows administrators to block the ability of anonymous participants to send chats during Teams meetings. They can still read chats, but can’t send messages. Microsoft calls this write access to chat, which I guess it is. In other news, the new browser interface for Teams meetings is arriving in tenants and it’s much better than the old one.

How the Language for Teams Meeting Invitations is Set by Meeting Policy

A new setting in Teams meeting policies allows administrators to control the languages used to generate Teams meeting invitations. The policy setting takes precedence over the language used by the user who creates a new Teams meeting. You can select up to two languages.

Microsoft Stresses Software Dependencies for Teams Meeting Add-in

Message center notification MC392289 highlights the need to keep the .NET Framework and the Edge WebView2 components updated to make sure that the Teams meeting add-in works with “degradation.” No further information is offered as to why Microsoft needs to sound this warning several years after introducing the Teams meeting add-in.

Don’t Get Stuck in the Teams Meeting Lobby

It’s easy to create a Teams meeting from Outlook, but it’s also easy to create a Teams meeting in the wrong calendar. This can lead to the “message of doom” when you try to connect to the meeting and end up in the Teams meeting lobby with nowhere to go. Apart from being careful about which calendar a meeting is created in, it’s a good idea to add an organization logo to Teams meeting invites so that if you create the meeting when signed into the wrong organization, you’ll get a visual clue.

Microsoft Teams Launches Chat with Self Feature

Microsoft Teams users can use the chat with self feature to create a special chat designed to take notes and capture other information someone might want. It’s similar to features that exist in other messaging platforms, so it’s likely that the Teams chat with self capability will be well-accepted by users, especially those with secrets to share with themselves.

Don’t Give Up on Azure AD Guest Accounts

Despite the advent of shared channels in Teams and the wonders of Azure AD Direct Connect, the chances are that Azure AD B2B Collaboration (Azure AD guest accounts) will remain the predominant method for external collaboration for the immediate future. That’s not so bad, as long as you maintain good guest hygiene!

Microsoft to Close Teams Compliance Gap with Reactions

Microsoft will soon make an update available for Purview Premium eDiscovery to reveal Teams reactions to chats and channel conversations when investigators review the results of searches. The information comes from Teams rather than the compliance records stored in Exchange Online. The new feature isn’t coming to Standard eDiscovery.

How Many Teams Compliance Records Are in Your Tenant?

The Microsoft 365 substrate captures Teams compliance records for chats and channel conversations and stores them in Exchange Online. How many do you have? Although you might not care, sometimes it’s good to know (like a tenant to tenant migration), so we explain how to count Teams compliance records for chats and channel conversations.

Monetization Opportunities Open Up for Teams App Developers

The Teams platform is an attractive target for developers, especially now that Microsoft supports monetization opportunities for Teams apps. In other words, ISVs can make money by selling licenses for their apps or through in-app purchases. That’s a good thing from an ISV perspective, but it’s yet another factor for administrators to factor in when deciding to unblock apps for users.

Users Can Request Access to Teams Store Apps

A new feature allows Teams users to request access to Teams Store apps that are currently blocked. Administrators review requests and decide to release or continue blocking the app. Microsoft says that seamless communication happens between users and administrators. That’s not what I experienced…

Teams Introduces a Team Owners Tag and Smart Replies

Two new features are available to Teams users. The Teams Owners automatic grouping (tag) allows users to address channel messages to the owners of a team (but not in private or shared channels),. Teams desktop clients catch up with their mobile counterparts by supporting suggested replies in 1:1 chats. Neither are particularly earthshattering features, but both are useful in their own way.

Why Loop Components Have Some Compliance Problems

Microsoft Loop components are available now in Teams chats and will soon become available in OWA. Loop components are a new way of collaborative working that some will find very attractive. However, under the covers, some compliance issues can block organizations from allowing the use of Loop components. This post explains the issues involved in eDiscovery and export of items containing Loop components.

How to View LinkedIn Contact Information in Microsoft Teams Chats

Outlook users have been able to see LinkedIn profile information for several years. Now Teams chat has the same kind of LinkedIn connection to expose profile information of people you chat with. Because Teams is more internally-focused than email is, the integration might be less useful than it is in Outlook. Then again, you might need to find out some information about people you work with!

Why the Admin Teams App Isn’t as Good as It Seems

On the surface, the Admin-Microsoft 365 Teams app seems to offer a lot of promise. However, its functionality is disappointing and anyway, do you really want administrators performing tenant management through Teams when they’re signed into their personal accounts? Some will like the app, but I’m not a fan.

Teams Live Streaming Isn’t Difficult, Even for Video Novices

A new capability for Teams meetings allows streaming of content using RTMP to platforms like YouTube. To Microsoft’s credit, they’ve built a feature that even video novices can use. The possibilities to live stream in scenarios like webinars and product announcements are endless.

How to Report Team Archive and Restore Events

It’s a good idea for administrators to know when people archive or restore teams, just in case users lose access to private or shared channels. This article explains how to search the audit log to find records for these actions, extract the relevant data, find information about channels belonging to the teams, and create a report.

Archived Teams Pose Visibility Challenge for Shared and Private Channels

When a team owner or administrator archives a team, any shared or private channels in the team along with their SharePoint Online sites are archived and become read-only. This is fine if the team owner realizes the effect on these channels and their users, but problems might happen when team owners aren’t members of the channels and therefore don’t know of their existence. Unless of course they take the time to check using the Teams Admin Center or PowerShell, which is exactly what happens when archival occurs – or is it?

Post to Teams Channels from Azure Automation Scripts

Sharing information generated by a PowerShell script running in Azure Automation can be a challenge. Some time ago, I wrote about creating an output file in a SharePoint Online document library. Here I explore how to do the job by posting to a Teams channel using two different methods.