Praise History Coming to Viva Insights for Teams

The Viva Insights app will soon have the ability to display the last six months’ data about praises users receive and send. This stunning engineering achievement will bring joy to the folks who like to send praise around. It leaves me cold. I’m probably not the target audience interested in praise history.

How to Stop Teams Clients Auto Starting

After upgrading to Windows 11, you have Chat in the taskbar. This is really a Teams personal client, meaning that you end up with two Teams clients on the PC. To make life even more confusing, if you search Windows 11 for Teams, you see the personal version suggested first. Some pruning of clients is needed.

How to Mark an Obsolete Teams Channel as Defunct Before Removal

Every Teams deployment has some defunct or obsolete channels. In this article, we explore how to mark unwanted channels as defunct before their eventual removal. It’s a manual but very easy technique that’s very effective when explained to users. As long as everyone remembers to recover any required information from channel conversations before its deletion, everything goes swimmingly

Teams Gets a New Search Results Page

A new Teams search results page (in preview) makes better use of space, presents results in a clearer manner, and is more accurate. Even after stripping away the normal Microsoft hyperbole and grand statements about artificial intelligence powering everything, there’s lots to like about the change, which should show up to all tenants in mid-November.

Massive Refresh of Whiteboard App Delivered for Teams and Other Clients

Microsoft has delivered a massive refresh for the Whiteboard app. Now available in Teams, browser, and Android clients (Windows native and iOS updates are coming), the update delivers many new features including reactions, importing graphics into whiteboards, and object alignment. A bunch of out-of-the-box templates can help people use Whiteboard in different scenarios, and if you’re looking for some digital smarts, there’s ink shape recognition to play with.

Teams Highlights Top Hits in Its Search Suggestions

A new Teams preview feature introduces Top Hits in the set of suggestions it makes for a search term. Teams also highlights the search term in its suggestions to provide context. Neither feature will make much different to end users in the overall scheme of things, but both are useful in a kind of fit-and-finish way.

How to Use Quoted Replies in Teams Chat

Teams clients can use quoted replies in group, 1:1, and meeting chats. A quoted reply is where Teams inserts a snippet from a previous message to create a new message. It’s a tremendously useful feature which allows users to add context to something discussed in a chat. (quoted replies are not supported in channel conversations). The only question is why it’s taken Microsoft so long to add this feature to Teams?

How Teams Makes Webinar Information Available for Search and eDiscovery

Teams-based webinars are a popular way of hosting events like product briefings or announcements. Behind the scenes, the Microsoft 365 substrate stores information about webinar speakers, attendance, and event details as lists in the meeting organizer’s OneDrive for Business account. The information stored in OneDrive is indexed and available for eDiscovery. It’s a great example of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem in action.

Teams Background Effects Available in Browser Clients

Microsoft has released support for background effects for Teams browser clients. It seems like only Microsoft-curated background images (including blur) works and that you can’t use organization images or custom uploaded images. This might just be a timing issue and Microsoft will enable this functionality in the future. For those who like using the Teams browser client to join meetings, this is a nice solution.

How Microsoft Search Finds Spoken Text in Teams Meeting Transcripts

Adding the ability to search for spoken text in Teams meeting recordings is just one of the new features added after Microsoft moved storage for meeting recordings to OneDrive for Business. A new video viewer and support for 27 additional languages (some different variants of a base language) are also important developments. In this article, we explore how Exchange Online captures the text spoken in Teams meetings, how OneDrive for Business links the text with the video, and how Search can find spoken text from the transcripts.

Teams and SharePoint Online to Synchronize Channel Names Properly

The longstanding problem where the renaming of a Teams channel did not rename the folder in the SharePoint document library is being fixed. First flagged as an issue in 2016, this is one of the oldest bugs in Teams and it’s taken far too long for Microsoft to squash. The good news is that the fix will deploy in mid-September to close off the problem once and for all.

Lightweight Plans Coming in Fluid Component for Teams Meetings

Microsoft is preparing to enable lightweight plans soon. The new plans are managed via the Planner app and should turn up in Teams meetings as a fluid component to allow meeting participants to capture tasks assigned during calls. It’s a neat way to use a plan that isn’t associated with a Microsoft 365 group. We’ll see what happens in September/October when the functionality lands. Also, a new cmdlet is available to export Planner data for a user. You never know where this might be useful.

Is PSTN Connectivity for Teams Relevant in 2021?

Teams has more than 250 million monthly active users, but many fewer than this use Teams Phone. As we return to work from the pandemic, Ståle Hansen asks if it’s time to enable PSTN connectivity for Teams. This is a follow-up to an recent interview between Ståle Hansen, author of the chapter on Teams Phone and Devices in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, and the esteemed journalist Mary-Jo Foley

How the Satin Codec Makes Teams Music Mode Work

A new music mode for Teams desktop clients is rolling out now to improve the quality of music playback in Teams meetings and calls. The new feature depends on the Satin codec released earlier this year. Basically, music mode delivers high-quality playback even when connected across poor networks when packet drops are common and throughput is uncertain. A range of other controls are available to adjust the audio stream when hosting meetings using professional facilities. It’s all too much for this non-audiophile, but music mode is great for those who care.

How to Pin Messages in Teams Chats and Channel Conversations

Teams supports pinning of chats to highlight important messages to chat participants. You can also pin messages in channel conversations, but the highlighting is different. Like many things in life, it’s the details that matter when figuring out how useful message pinning will be for individual users. I’ve found a way to make chat pinning useful for me. The question is whether you can do the same!

Headspace Meditation Available in Viva Insights App for Teams

The Viva Insights app for Teams now boasts Headspace-powered meditation to add to its mindfulness capabilities. Available to English users with Exchange Online mailboxes, the set of six meditation exercises and two music selections will help some people relax and destress. Others won’t be interested, but that’s OK because a new PowerShell cmdlet is available to turn the Headspace feature off.

Microsoft to Introduce Auto-Expiration for Teams Meeting Recordings

In September Microsoft will introduce a new auto-expiration feature for Teams meeting recordings stored in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. By default, recordings will be moved to the recycle bin 60 days after creation (30 days for users with Office 365 A1 licenses). Tenants can control the default expiration period using Teams meeting policies while users can override expiration for individual files. And if you use retention policies to control Teams meeting recordings, their instructions take precedence over auto-expiration.

Real-Time Safe Link Protection for Teams Messages

The Safe Links capability in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is now generally available to protect Teams messages in chats and channel conversations, and even in web site links pinned as a channel tab. Most bad links flowing into an Office 365 tenant will continue to arrive by email, but this new capability closes off a gap where users are tempted to make a poor decision to share a malicious link through Teams.

Is Microsoft’s Claimed 250 Million Teams Monthly Active Users Believable?

Microsoft claims that Teams has “nearly” 250 million monthly active users, which is quite a jump for the 145 million reported in April. We take a closer look at the numbers to try and figure out how Microsoft arrived at such a number. It seems like they can get there by lumping the numbers for commercial, education, and personal users together, but that’s not the same as reporting a nice simple number for commercial usage.

How to Customize the Properties of a Teams App

If their developers allow, Office 365 tenants can customize the properties of Teams apps to add their own icons, text, and links. In this article, we show how by customizing the Yammer Communities app to add a most remarkable photo taken at an Ignite event, a snazzier title (that no one can see), and some modified text. Is this enough to make the exercise worthwhile? that all depends on how you feel about corporate branding!

New Option to Control How Teams Clients Open Office Documents

A new option in the Teams desktop and browser clients allows users to choose how they open Office documents. The choices are Teams (a viewer), browser (Office Online), and the desktop app. Being an old-time stuck-in-the-mud kind of person who’s used Office for 30-odd years, I naturally selected desktop apps. After all, who doesn’t like seeing Word spin up for the 99th time in an afternoon?

Teams Private Channels Gain Support for Retention Processing

It is now possible to apply Microsoft 365 retention policies to Teams private channel messages. The messages are in user mailboxes and discoverable due to their properties. All the retention policy must do is find the messages and apply the policy settings, and if an item is expired, remove it from the mailbox. Easy… or is it?

How to Hide Teams-Enabled Groups from Exchange Online

New teams created using Teams clients are hidden from Exchange Online, but those created using administrative interfaces are not. The result is potential confusion. in this post, we describe a PowerShell script to find any team-enabled Microsoft 365 Groups which are visible to Exchange and hide them. It’s easy scripting, but you need to run the script periodically to update the settings for new teams.

How to Generate a Report of Teams and Their SharePoint Online Sites

How do you create a report of all the Teams in a tenant and their SharePoint Online sites? As it turns out, a two-line script does the job. We make the script slightly prettier, but it’s still simple. And because it’s PowerShell, anyone can change the code to make it work the way they want it to.

Linking Public Preview for Teams Desktop Client to Office Current Channel

A change to the Teams update policy allows tenants to connect Teams preview mode for the desktop client with Office Current Channel (Preview) for the Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise. When the change happens in late July, accounts configured to use Office Current Channel (preview) will automatically use Teams preview. It’s kind of logical because Teams is so closely connected to Office. In any case, settings are available in the Teams update policy if you want to move away from the enabled by default status favored by Microsoft.

How to Track the Creation of Teams Meeting Recordings in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online

After writing about auto-label policies for Teams meeting recordings, we were asked about how to track the creation of the recordings. The key to be able to report the data us events in the Office 365 audit log. Once you know where to look, it’s easy to find the audit records and extract data about the creation of Teams meeting recordings.

Why Microsoft is Changing How the Teams Guest Access Setting Works

Microsoft is changing how the “Allow Guest Access in Teams” setting works (from the Microsoft 365 admin center). Because few tenants switch this setting on and off, the change might not be noticeable. However, it’s a good one because it might help change the way Teams deals with disabled accounts. And if you want to control guest access, you should really use an Azure AD B2B Collaboration policy instead of the on-off switch.

Teams 2.0 Moves Away from Electron to Embrace Edge WebView2

Windows 11 will include a consumer version of Teams, which looks as if it will be the first iteration of Teams 2.0, a new architecture which replaces Electron with Edge WebView2 as the basis for the Teams client. Microsoft predicts that the change will reduce the memory footprint by half and make it possible to introduce some new features. There’s no dependency between Windows 11 and Teams 2.0, but given the amount of work needed to make architectural transitions, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an enterprise Teams 2.0 client until sometime in 2022.

Teams Gets Automatic Meeting Recording Option

Teams meeting organizers will soon be able to configure an option to start recording when the meeting starts. The option must be set for each meeting and there doesn’t seem to be an available method to preconfigure recordings for all meetings through a policy or programmatically. The new option is useful, if you remember to set it.

How to Apply an Auto-Label Retention Policy for Teams Meeting Recordings

Teams meeting recordings are now accumulating as MP4 files in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. If you have Office 365 E5 licenses, you can use an auto-label policy to remove recordings after a set period. If you don’t have those licenses and need to remove recordings, you’ll have to come up with another plan, maybe after tracking the creation of recordings through the Office 365 audit log.

SharePoint Online Document Library UI Refreshed for Teams Private Channels

Microsoft is changing the SharePoint document library UI for sites used by Teams private channels to make sensitivity labels read-only and move a link into the command bar. That doesn’t sound so important, but it’s part of the preparation for the introduction of Teams Connect, aka Shared channels. It’s just a pity that the text of message center notification MC261534 was so confusing when it first appeared.

Chat Bubbles New Way to Highlight Messages in Teams Meetings

Chat bubbles in Teams meetings are another way to surface information. Using chat bubbles is a personal choice and it doesn’t replace the regular chat window. Microsoft says that chat bubbles make chat more central to a conversation, but it really depends on the type of meeting, the topic being discussed, and the number of participants. In any case, chat bubbles are there to be used if you want to.

How to Use Organization Background Images in Microsoft Teams Meetings

A preview Teams feature allows organizations to upload approved corporate images for people to use during Teams meetings. When generally available, this feature will need a Teams advanced communications license. An organization can distribute up to 50 images, which users see ahead of Microsoft curated images and their own custom images (if they’re allowed to upload these images). However, there’s no way for an organization to force people to select one of the corporate images.

How to Create Tasks from Teams Chats and Channel Conversations

A new feature allows Teams users to create tasks from personal chats and channel conversations. Tasks from chats are personal while those created from channel conversations can be personal or go into a Planner plan. Although you might like the tasks to be populated more fully, the overall implementation is a nice addition to the Microsoft 365 tasks system.

Teams Introduces New Attendance Reporting Dashboard

Now rolling out to Office 365 tenants, Teams meeting organizers can review the attendance data for meetings and webinars in a new dashboard. The same data can be downloaded to a CSV file for analysis. Teams stores the attendance report data in the Exchange Online mailbox of the meeting organizer. It’s a good example of the Microsoft 365 substrate in use.

Speeding Up the Groups and Teams Activity Report by Replacing PowerShell with Graph API Calls

Sometimes it’s wise to give PowerShell scripts a turbo boost. This is certainly true for the Groups and Teams Activity report script, where a large amount of PowerShell processing has been replaced with speedy Microsoft Graph API calls. The result is much faster processing, which means that the script is more useful in large tenants. I still wouldn’t try to run it against 100,000 groups, but anything smaller should be OK. I think!

How to Disable Attendee Cameras During Teams Meetings

A new control allows organizers of Teams meetings to disable videos for attendees before or during calls. Organizers and presenters can also selectively enable video for specific attendees. It’s probable that this feature will be most interesting to those who want to run webinars through Teams meetings, but other use cases exist too… like when someone turns up with an objectionable background image!

How Teams Mobile Clients Can Translate Channel Messages

Teams mobile clients can translate messages into the preferred language of the device owner by sending text to the Microsoft Translator service. This is the same capability that the desktop and browser clients have had for nearly three years. The implementation works well and is very useful when people want to share their thoughts with others in a channel and need to write in their own language.

How to Use Teams Approval Templates

The value of the Teams Approvals app is much improved when organizations create their own approval templates to meet business needs. It’s easy and quick to do, with the only challenge being the limited set of field types available to build the form. Even so, you can get creative and build some nice approvals templates for use everywhere in an Office 365 tenant, limited to just some users, or in a specific team.