How to create polls pre-meeting in Microsoft Teams

This post is a short guide for how you can create polls before or during a meeting in Microsoft Teams. In this post:

Polls were launched in late 2020 as a kind of extension to Microsoft Forms to give meeting organisers/ presenters a way to poll attendees before a meeting is set to start, or as a meeting is taking place. I was familiar with creating polls during a Teams meeting, but I wasn’t aware that you are able to create polls prior to a meeting starting!

How to create polls during a Teams meeting

If you haven’t created one already, Polls are really easy to create during a meeting and pop up as an on-screen notification when sent. To create a poll during a meeting as meeting organizer or presenter:

  • In the Teams meeting, click on the show conversation button
  • Press the … messaging extensions button
  • If you can’t see Forms in the apps listed, search for “forms”
  • A pop up box will appear asking you to add Forms > press Add

Your first poll will now appear. You can add your question, options or enable multiple answers. You can also specify whether to share results automatically after voting, or keep responses anonymous.

  • Press Save. You will then see a preview of your poll which you can either Edit or Send
  • Press Send
  • As well as appearing as a pop up, the poll is also added to the meeting chat, along with the results if selected to show

How to create polls before a meeting starts

As well as creating polls during a meeting, you can also create polls prior to a meeting taking place.:

  • In Teams > Open the Calendar
  • Double-click on the meeting you want to add polls to
  • Press the Add a tab + icon > Add the Forms app
  • A pop up box will appear asking you to add Forms > Press Add
  • An additional pop up box will appear introducing Forms > Press Save

You will now see for the Forms tab view, from here you are able to create, manage and launch polls.

  • Press + Create New Poll
  • Add your question, options or enable multiple answers
  • There are additional options you can turn on/off:
    • Share results automatically after voting
    • Keep responses anonymous
    • Allow others to co-author
  • Press Save

Managing polls within meetings

Once you’ve created your polls pre-meeting, they will all show under the Polls tab within the meeting in Teams. Polls display as draft by default, then change to live once you launch them.

Under the launch drop down button for draft polls, you have the option to launch, edit or delete the poll. Launching the poll adds it into the meeting as a pop up and within the meeting conversation.

For live polls you are able to view results, close the poll, export results or delete the poll.

When you close a poll, the “live” status (shown above) will change to “closed”. One a poll is closed, the options slightly change to allow you to reopen, export results or delete the poll.

Where do poll results get saved?

Poll results are saved within the meeting organizers Forms app in Microsoft 365. To view the form results:

  • Navigate to
  • Open the waffle > select Forms
  • If you don’t see your polls on the landing page > Press All My Forms
  • Your polls will now be displayed

From here you are able to open each poll and view the responses for each poll, plus export to excel. Polls are denoted differently to standard Forms, by the small graph icon next to the poll.

New features coming soon

Microsoft announced in March 2021 a series of improvements being made to Polls in Teams Meetings that are due for release in April 2021. Here’s a look at all the announced new features:

Intelligent Poll suggestions

While preparing for your meeting in the “Polls” tab of your meeting, you will soon discover poll suggestions, where Forms AI services will suggest historical polls to users based on their meeting purpose. AI in Forms can also suggest poll questions that might be useful for your particular meeting and multiple-choice answer options based on your typed poll question.

thumbnail image 1 captioned Intelligent Poll Suggestions

Support for open-text Polls

Also coming soon is the ability to ask open-ended questions to meeting attendees. Once submitted, their answers are visualized in a word cloud, where words that are mentioned more often in the responses appear larger. given the context and nuance it can provide, can serve as helpful starting points for discussion.

To best leverage Forms’ text analysis within this feature, we recommend that you ask short answer questions, in which your attendees respond in one to five words.

thumbnail image 2 captioned Open Text Poll
Support open-text question poll for Teams meeting

Mark correct answer choice in Polls

You will soon be able to mark a correct answer for your multiple-choice polls in Teams meetings. Whether you are doing a quick knowledge check for your supply chain class or engaging colleagues during a training, this quiz-like feature could prove useful.

thumbnail image 3 captioned Correct Answer Choice Poll
Correct Answer choice feature added to Microsoft Forms Poll in Teams Meetings
  • Correct Answer choice feature added to Microsoft Forms Poll in Teams Meetings: Roadmap ID: 80519

Word Cloud for Polls in Teams meeting and Forms Surveys

When users have collected responses for an open text poll / question in a Teams meeting or in a regular form, word cloud data insight will be available to help them get a quick view on the top text phrases people answered.

Post-meeting Poll insights

Also coming this April, you will find a data report under the same “Polls” tab where you initially created your polls. Here, you can discover and analyze poll engagement and response data.

Create and Answer Polls in Teams Mobile App

You can soon create and launch polls on mobile. To do so, you will have to add the Forms app to the Teams Meeting on your desktop first. Then, while managing your meeting on your Teams mobile app, you can create and launch polls under the “More” tab.

Your attendees can vote in polls from their mobile devices without having to visit the Teams chat. They can directly respond via the pop-up window, an experience on par with the desktop experience.

thumbnail image 4 of blog post titled 
							Discover intelligence, insights, and more for Polls in Microsoft Teams Meetings
Create and Answer Polls in Teams Mobile App.

External guest participation in Polls

With this update, anonymous (guest) attendees will be able to view the poll and vote just like registered users. Previously, anonymous attendees vote on a poll in Meeting chat. This update is available for Teams desktop apps, Teams on the web, and Teams mobile.

Availability for Government Community Cloud (GCC)

Microsoft are also rolling out Polls in Teams Meetings for customers in GCC. Soon, you can add the Forms app to launch polls in your scheduled Teams meetings.

Microsoft Teams status stuck on ‘offline’ – how to fix

This post details a potential issue observed with Teams user status, some considerations and how it the issue was resolved.

The situation

I recently had several instances of users Teams status either being slow to update, or in some cases showing as ‘offline’ or unavailable. There is an amount of information if you search for it online, but I couldn’t find a definitive answer on how to resolve it through my googling.

I dealt with one user for whom this issue was particularly persistent, their status was stuck as ‘offline’ 100% of the time in Teams, but also Teams showed all their colleagues status as ‘offline’ too.

The image above is an example of how a users status was set to ‘offline’, whilst team mates in their chat were showing as ‘offline also, and active participants in a chat also showing as ‘offline’.

Things to try

So I wrote a post last year, in which I covered many of the troubleshooting steps involved in getting set up with the desktop app. However I’ll summarise what I tried to do (and failed), before finally resolving the issue.

#1 Reset status

  • /available in the search bar within the Teams app, or;
  • Press your photo icon > click on your status > reset status
Try resetting your Teams status to set it back to available.

In my users case this did absolutely nothing, didn’t change the status within the Teams app whatsoever.

#2 Logging in using web browser

In my experience Microsoft generally advise logging in via the browser to either a) clear whatever cache is causing the status to get stuck, or b) verify it is a local issue and not one with the Teams app. Just ask the user to login to and verify if their status changes.

In my case, the users status updated to available whilst in the browser, but when closing it reverted back to ‘offline’.

#3 Clearing the Teams cache

As documented here, clearing the Teams cache fixes many of the issues users have with the desktop app, but in my case this didn’t work either.

What worked for me

They always say the simplest solution is the best right? Another saying I like is why use a hammer when a screwdriver will do…well in this case the hammer was needed!

After trying all of the above, what fixed the issue was to uninstall and re-install the Teams desktop app…that was it!

Before uninstalling/ re-installing, I got the user to try logging into Teams desktop on a different machine, which low-and-behold worked. After a fresh version of Teams was installed on the users machine, all the status problems disappeared, so if anyone else has the same problem – try uninstalling & re-installing the Teams app!

Don’t forget the new Offline Presence status!

During my investigations I also remembered reading this from the Microsoft roadmap regarding a new offline presence status coming to Teams this month. So if you do find yourself in a similar situation as me, be sure to include this in your thinking too…

Messages posting on moderated org-wide Team – how to resolve

This post is more a re-telling of a series of events I observed recently, which at first led me to believe I was going mad until I found a conclusion which I was somewhat happy with!

The situation

In my organisation we have created an org-wide Team in which the General channel is moderated, as described in my post on how to restrict posts in org-wide teams. Owners of the org-wide Team are also limited to global admins and members of the internal communications team, so only a very small number of people are able to post messages within the Team.

So imagine my surprise when one evening when a new message had been posted in the general channel by a standard user!

Example of the ‘Scheduled a meeting’ message as appeared within moderated channel in org-wide Team.

Just delete the post…not so fast

Naturally the internal communications team were asking questions as to how this happened also. Whilst I was working that part out they also wanted to delete the post from the org-wide team’s general channel. Easy enough if you’re the Teams Owner and a Teams Admin to boot right? Wrong!

The ability for Teams Owners to delete sent messages is switched off by default and is a relatively recent feature. If you want to enable Teams Owners to be able to delete sent messages you will need to be a Teams Admin and do the following:

  • Teams admin center > Messaging policies
  • Either create a new or configure the org-wide default policy
  • Enable Teams Owners to be able to delete sent messages
  • Wait up to 24 hours
Turn on ‘owners can delete sent messages’ via messaging policies in the Teams Admin Center.

However, even if you do this any replies to the message post won’t be deleted as part of this, nor will the message post completely disappear. I’ve wrote a separate post about deleting message posts and chats in Teams that goes into much more detail about this plus more.

Link: Deleting posts in Microsoft Teams


Meet Now and Schedule a Meeting

At first I believed that the user in question must have had some sort of elevated permissions for the org-wide team that enabled them to post. After reviewing the post above and testing differences between what org-wide team owners and members can see I noticed that the Meet Now and Schedule a Meeting buttons were only available to Team Owners.

The ‘Meet’ and ‘schedule meeting’ option becomes available for Teams Owners in org-wide Teams.

After reviewing the audit logs for the user, checking the owners of the org-wide team through the Teams Admin center and Azure AD groups it became clear that wasn’t the issue.

Trying to schedule a meeting with the org-wide team email address

Other ideas I had around what might be the cause of this was that maybe the user had the email address for either the Team or the group behind and had managed to schedule a meeting and include that address. Firstly, if you’re a member and you try to “get email address” for the channel you get an error message.

Also, I noted that you are unable to search the global address list in Outlook for the org-wide team email address, nor are you able to search Groups within Outlook and find it.

Add the org-wide team’s email address as a shared mailbox

One final area I looked into was based on the audit events I’d seen earlier. What was interesting was there was an activity event in the logs called “Sent message using Send On Behalf permissions”, which led me to test adding the org-wide team’s email address as a shared mailbox to see if that might be it.

Audit log details including the ‘Sent message using Send On Behalf Permissions message’.

Again, only an owner is able to do this, but interestingly enough as an owner I was able to see the emails surrounding the scheduled meeting in the mailbox for the org-wide team.

Conclusion/ Resolution

After ruling out all of the above lines of enquiry we did notice within the Teams app, under + New Meeting there is an ability to create a live event.

When you create your live event and press next, you get a “live event permissions” screen. The default is set to org-wide, which is the exact same wording as the org-wide team we’ve set up. I haven’t tested this myself as of yet, but based on the audit information I was able to get around the event that was created, I think there is a high probability that this is how the meeting was created and posted to the org-wide team.

Creating a live event, by default sets the permissions to Org-wide.

As another aside, if you select people and groups, you are able to add the org-wide team as a participant in the meeting, which may also render the same results.

You can select the Org-wide Teams 365 Group from under People and Groups.

So, I want to throw this out to you, loyal reader! Should anyone be in this situation, or be able to test my theory please comment below and let me know what you find.

Q&A – other org-wide team issues

So since I wrote this post (only a week ago!) I’ve had a couple of new issues crop up related to org-wide teams that I wanted to document. So here goes:

#1 Can members can reply to posts in moderated channels?

So with the scenario described above, it was my belief that the org-wide team was pretty much locked down for comments, minus the ability for users to react to posts.

Recently I’d suggested to our communications team to start @ing the org-wide team in posts to send out notifications to all users, which proved successful as engagement on posts where we did this increased massively.

However, in doing this we also quickly noticed that all members of the org-wide have the ability to reply to posts in moderated channels! Needless to say this came as a bit of a surprise, especially since we had been using the org-wide team since April with zero comments on any post until now!

There are no settings within the Member permissions that control whether users can reply to posts or not either, so it cant be controlled at the team level.

Answer: encourage owners who author posts to set who can reply to their posts

So the way I tackled this problem was to encourage the org-wide team owners to consider who they want to be able to reply when they create new posts using the reply settings. You have two choices in the post formatting settings:

  • Everyone can reply
  • You and moderators can reply

#2 Can members can upload files in an org-wide team?

Short answer to this is again, yes. As members of the org-wide team users have the ability to upload files in the General channel that are visible to everyone in your organisation.

So how can you stop it?

Answer: Change the SharePoint site permissions

The answer to this for me was an easy one, change the permissions so that all members only have read permissions to the files tab. As everything files in Teams is ultimately SharePoint so for me it was a simple permissions change that did the trick.

There are two ways you can go about changing the permissions in this scenario:

  1. Move the users out of the Members SharePoint group with edit permissions, into a Visitors group with read
  2. Break inheritance on the General folder within the Shared Documents library, add all users to the Visitors group and remove the Members group

In essence, they both do the same thing but I tested both approaches and either work – I chose the first option as I don’t like to break folder inheritance if I can avoid it.

To change the SharePoint site permissions behind a Team, follow these steps:

  • Open your Team > select the relevant channel (i.e. General)
  • Press the Files tab > Open in SharePoint
  • In the SharePoint site > press the cog icon
  • Site permissions > Advanced site permissions
  • Open the Members group > make a note & select the objects listed in there (for me I had a members group again and everyone except external users)
  • Actions > remove users from group
  • Go back to the main permissions page. TIP: just add /_layouts/15/user.aspx after the name of your Team
  • Open the Visitors group
  • Pres New > enter the names of the groups that were previously in the Members group
  • Press Show Options > untick send an email invitation
  • Press Share

That’s it! Now when users navigate to the files tab of any channel within your org-wide Team they will no longer have the upload button visible.

Deleting messages and chats in Microsoft Teams

In this post we will look at what options are available to enable deletion of messages and chats in Teams, more specifically how you can enable owners to delete messages posted in the general channel.


Delete at the tenant level

At the tenant level, there are no permissions or special powers set by default to enable Teams Owners or Teams Admins to delete messages or chats.

However, there is a setting within a Messaging Policy in the Teams Admin Center that allows you to change this.

  • Navigate to
  • Under Messaging policies > either create a new custom policy or edit the Global (org-wide default)
  • Set Owners can delete sent messages to On
  • This can take up to 24 hours to take effect (it took 24 hours in my tenant)
Set owners can delete sent messages to yes to enable tenant-wide deleting of sent messages in Teams.

Things to note

Enabling this will only allow Teams Owners to delete the initial message, not the entire thread. There is a Teams UserVoice suggestion that relates to private chat threads, but does relate to public messages in threads too.

Even after the message has been deleted, any replies will still be visible.

Delete at the Team level

At the Team level, Teams owners have the ability to configure channel settings that will apply to all channels within the Team. As you would imagine, any settings configured by a tenant-wide policy will be hidden at the Team level.

Within Manage Team, you are able to switch on/ off member permissions which control their ability to delete or edit messages.

The settings to call out here specifically are:

  • Give members the option to delete their messages
  • Give members the option to edit their messages

Delete at the individual level

As an end user, you are able to delete in the following ways:

  • You can delete you own messages* and chats
  • You can hide threads in your own private chats
  • You are able to mute threads in your own private chats

* You can delete your own messages where moderation isn’t in place, or any Team level settings don’t stop you from doing so.

Example of how an individual has the ability to delete their own messages posted within channels in Teams.

Things to note

You can’t currently delete entire threads within your own private chats, as above this is on the backlog in the UserVoice community.

As suggested by Andrew Warland, if you have an Microsoft 365 retention policy set for Teams 1:1 or channel chats, deleted messages will not be deleted for the period specified in the policy, even if the option to delete chats is available. For more information on retention in Teams, I highly recommend his blog post understanding and applying retention policies to content in MS Teams.

5 tips for getting started with Microsoft Teams

In this post we will look at five useful tips – in no particular order, to help owners or members to get started using Microsoft Teams.


  1. Pin your favourite teams channels
  2. Use post formatting, there’s cool stuff in there
  3. Get to know the General channel
  4. Standard vs. Private channels
  5. Consider how you create new teams

#1 Pin your favourite teams channels

This is a simple one, but a really effective way of managing teams you are a part of. Once you start using teams in anger, it can become easy to lose track of what teams you frequent if you don’t manage teams gallery or your notification/ activity feed.

On notifications and the activity feed, notifications are actually turned off for teams by default, so it’s up to the members to manage their own notifications. Naturally, you still see updates by the channel being in bold and any @mentions will notify you.

It’s worth pointing out the distinction that you actually cannot pin an entire team, but only channels within it. Here’s how you pin a channel

  • Click on the ellipsis button … next to the channel you want to pin
  • Press Pin
Pin a channel for easy access from the teams gallery.

NOTE: To unpin a channel, follow the same steps as above button the option will be Unpin.

#2 Use post formatting, there’s cool stuff in there

One thing I’ve definitely starting using more and more is post formatting. There are several extra features post formatting gives you that you don’t get with the standard reply, such as

  • Add a subject – give you new post a prominent subject that stands out
  • Extra formatting options – heading options, text highlight colours, font colours
  • Announcement option – similar to a news post in SharePoint, but adds background colour or image to headline
  • Reply options – allow everyone to reply or just the you and/or moderators
  • Post in multiple channels – allows you to post a message in any of the channels you have access to
  • Format links – display text instead of a full URL, particularly useful if sharing links from Teams, as they are long and pretty ugly
There are several post formatting features that you don’t see in a regular reply.

#3 Get to know the general channel

The general channel is provisioned as standard when you create a new team. It’s generally the place where all communication within a team takes place.

The general channel comes with Posts, Files and Wiki tabs “out the box” to allow you to start collaborating straight away. That said, the general channel does have it’s limitations, such as:

  • You cannot use moderation in the general channel
  • You can’t delete the general channel
  • You can’t rename the general channel
  • You can’t hide the general channel or change the order of the channels to move it down
The general channel comes with Posts, Files & Wiki tabs as standard.

This post I wrote goes into more detail on using the general channel within the context of an org-wide team.

#4 Standard vs. private channels

There are two types of channels you can create in teams:

  • Standard – accessible to everyone on the team
  • Private – accessible only to a specific group of people within a team
When creating new channels you can choose between standard and private.

However, both options are not created equally. Here’s a look at the differences between the two:

Number of channels in a team20030
Number of members in a channel*10,000250
Can team owners manage the channel?**YesNo
Can guest create channels?YesNo
Support for connectors & tabs?YesYes
Support for Stream, Planner & Forms?YesNo
Create’s additional SharePoint site collections?NoYes
Creates additional Microsoft 365 Group?NoNo

* The number of members within a standard channel derives from the team membership.

** Team owners can’t see the files, conversations or members list in a private channel unless they are members themselves. Owners can see the names of the private channels in teams they own and also delete them.

Here are some more resources teams limits and standard/ private channels:

Private channel SharePoint site collections

Just to add to the point in the table about of additional SharePoint site collection, each private channel has it’s own, slimmed down version of a SharePoint site optimised for file sharing and fast provisioning.

The key differences between these site collections and standard ones is that private channel site collections are created in the same geographic region as the site collection of the parent team, have a a custom template ID, "TEAMCHANNEL#0" and cannot be accessed via the SharePoint admin center – only through PowerShell and the Graph API.

An example site collection for a private channel.

The URL for a private channel URL concatenates the team name with the private channel name, meaning it will look like this:

#5 Consider how you create new teams

So this point is really to understand what gets provisioned when you create a new team, the different ways you can create them and any limitations with creating in those different ways.

What else do you get when you create a new team?

There is an absolutely brilliant everyday guide to Microsoft 365 Groups by Matt Wade at jumpto365 that does a better job explaining what you get when you create, well anything in Microsoft 365 than I can, but here’s the overview from his site:

Credit – Matt Wade jumpto365:

Outlook groups and the global address list

What I wanted to highlight was depending on how you create a team, the Microsoft 365 group behaves differently – particularly in Outlook.

What I have noticed is that teams created via the client app or web browser are will not appear in Outlook groups or the global address list.

Teams created any other way, be it from the Teams admin center, Outlook, Exchange, Azure or Groups will appear in Outlook groups and in the global address list.

How to restrict posts in an org-wide Team

In this post we will look at the permission settings within a general channel in Teams, how this relates to an org-wide team, plus channel moderation!



Before diving into this post, it’s worth calling out that channel permissions and moderation are not limited to just org-wide teams, they are available to any team you create. My brief was to limit the ability to post in an org-wide team to just owners, so I figured I would write this in the context of org-wide teams as it would be a common use case for many organisations!

What’s an org-wide team?

For those new to Teams, an org-wide team is something you can create that will automatically all users in your organisation. Microsoft defines it as:

Org-wide teams provide an automatic way for everyone in a small to medium-sized organization to be a part of a single team for collaboration.

Create an org-wide team in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams Documentation

You can have up to five org-wide teams as part of your tenancy, but will need to be a global admin to create them. As part of a recent roll out of Teams, we created a private team which was later converted to an org-wide team. Here’s a post I wrote about creating new teams where I added some thoughts on org-wide teams.

The General channel, permissions & moderation

If you already have an org-wide team created, the next step may be to restrict or moderate who and what can be posted within the channels in the org-wide team. Sounds simple enough right?

#1 you can’t moderate the general channel

So if your first thought is to have an open-ish org-wide team where anyone can add posts or replies in a moderated fashion, think again! Unless you have already created bespoke teams templates to avoid this issue, your org-wide team will be using the default general channel which cannot use channel moderation.

So that leaves two options, either create a new channel that can be moderated, leaving the general tab unused or manage the permissions of the general channel.

You currently cannot moderate the general channel in Teams.

#2 you can’t delete or hide the general channel

If you do decide that a new, moderated channel is the best way to go you will be left with a potentially unwanted general channel. This can be problematic for a few reasons, namely:

  • You can’t delete the general channel
  • You can’t rename the general channel
  • You can’t hide the general channel or change the order of the channels to move it down

There is a UserVoice request to remove or rename the general channel here that Microsoft will respond to if a request gains enough traction.

How to add a new channel and set up moderation

If you do decide to go ahead and create a new channel for your team to apply moderation, here’s how to do it.

Add a new channel

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > Add new channel
  • Give the channel a name and description
  • Set the privacy of the channel
    • Standard – accessible to everyone in the team
    • Private – accessible to a specific group of people in the team
  • Tick to automatically show the channel in everyone’s lists (optional)
  • Press Add

Turn on channel moderation

  • Select your newly created channel, press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > manage channel
  • In channel settings, under permissions > set channel moderation to on
  • The default channel moderators are the team owners, press manage to change this and select the individual(s) required
  • Turn the following check-boxes on or off as desired (on by default):
    • Allow members to reply to channels
    • Allow bots to submit channel messages
    • Allow connectors to submit channel messages
Create a new channel and turn on post moderation in Teams.

What does an end-user see?

So with all the out-of-the-box options switched on as above, only moderators can start new posts, but members can reply to channel messages.

When a user navigates to the moderated channel, they see the following message:

Channels with moderation turned on will display a message to end-users in the channel.

However, when a moderator adds a post, this is what an end-user sees:

With channel moderation turned on, end-users cannot add new posts, but are able to reply.

How to restrict permissions in the general channel

Microsoft recommend you only allow team owners to post in the general channel, and switch off @team and @[team name] mentions in an org-wide team. Here’s how to do it:

Restrict permissions to post in the general channel

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the general channel name > manage channel
  • Under channel settings, permissions you have the following options:
    • Anyone can post
    • Anyone can post; show alert that posting will notify everyone (recommended for large teams)
    • Only owners can post messages
  • Select only owners can post messages

Switch off @team and @[team name] mentions

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the team name > manage team
  • Press the settings tab > expand @mentions
  • There are two options checked:
    • Show members the option to @team or @[team name] (this will send a notification to everyone on the team)
    • Give members the option to @channel or @[channel name]. This will notify everyone who’s shown the mentioned channel in their channel lists.
  • Untick both options
How to restrict who can post to team owners in the general channel and turn of @mentions.

What does an end-user see?

So much like with channel moderation, users are notified when post restrictions are in place in the general channel:

End users can see when posts are restricted in the general channel.

Although unable to post replies with this restriction in place, users are still able to add reaction emoji’s to posts, which are visible too all in the org-wide team.

Even with post restrictions in place, end-users can still use emoji’s to react to posts that will be visible to org-wide team members.

You can edit the policies and settings within the Teams admin center to manage GIFs, stickers and memes, but you cannot turn off reaction emojis. There is a UserVoice request here to add the functionality.

Four ways to create Microsoft Teams

In this post we will look at how to create new Teams in four different ways, using methods that are available from within Office 365, plus some thoughts and observations of each method.


#1 create within Teams

Sometimes the easiest way can also to be the best! Now this option can be done within the Teams desktop app, or from the web browser. Provided your organisation hasn’t disabled teams or group creation, you can use this method without admin privileges.

It’s as simple as pressing Join or create a team > Create team. Well, not quite that simple, there are a few extra settings to consider. Lets take a look:

Build from scratch, or create from existing Office 365 group or team

This option lets you either define your own O365 group as you create the team, or leverage an existing O365 group or team if available.

Private, public or org-wide

Choose whether people need permission to join (private) the team, it’s open to everyone in your org to join (public), or everyone is automatically added to the team by default (org-wide).

NOTE: the org-wide option is only available to global or Teams admins.

Name your team

Give your team a name and description. Microsoft recommend avoiding characters such as @, #, [, ], <, and > for the creation of O365 groups, so it makes sense to feed that through to Teams also.

Also worth bearing in mind that you can leave spaces in your team name as the creation process will remove them. This is useful for the back end SharePoint site to have a cleaner URL (no %20 in the url thanks very much Teams!).

Add members and create!

Next you can add any members to the team, this is an optional step as members can be added after the team is created.

That’s it! your team has now been created. The team will appear in your teams gallery and your good to go.

Creating a new team from the Teams web browser.

#2 Create from Groups in the admin center

This method will require some level of admin privileges as you will need access to the O365 admin center, specifically Groups.

To begin, on the left-hand menu press the Groups drop-down, then Groups > Add a group.

Choose a group type

As this section isn’t just about teams creation, you also have the ability to create distribution and mail-enabled security groups too. We’re only interested in creating Office 365 groups here, so make sure that’s selected and press next.

Set up the basics

As in method #1, here enter the name and description for your Group, which also is the same for your team. The same guidelines apply here as above with regards to characters and spaces.

Assign owners

You are able to specify who the owner(s) of the O365 group/ team should be here, as it may not be the person creating the Group. As with members, this can also be changed once created.

Edit settings

This part of the creation process allows you to define a name for the group email address, set the privacy of your group and crucially add teams to it. Make sure Create teams for the group is checked and press next.

NOTE: for the group email address, as well as the characters to avoid mentioned earlier, you also cannot use spaces as part of the email address.

The final screen is a review screen, if you are happy with the configuration just press Create group and you are done! If you switch over to Teams after creation you will see your newly created team (please see thoughts and observations for more on this).

Create a team from Groups within the O365 admin center.

#3 Create from Azure Active Directory

This method also requires admin privileges, most likely the global admin role unless you have custom roles created.

To begin, open Azure Active Directory from the O365 admin center, once in press Azure Active Directory from the left-hand menu, then under manage, select Groups > New Group.

New group settings

Within the new group settings, add the following information:

  • Group type: Office 365
  • Group name: this should be the name of your team
  • Group email address: avoid invalid characters like spaces, hyphens and underscores are ok
  • Group description: description of the team
  • Owners: assign any relevant owners
  • Members: assign any relevant members
  • Press create!

This will then create the O365 group based on the above configuration. Next we can jump into Teams to create our team from the O365 group!

  • Open the Teams app, desktop or web
  • Press join or create a team > create team
  • Press create from an existing Office 365 group or team
  • Under create a new team from something you already own, press Office 365 group
  • Select the O365 group from earlier and press create
Create a team from Azure Active Directory.

#4 Create from teams admin center

This method will also require either the global admin or Teams admin role. To begin, open up O365 admin, and select the Teams admin center.

  • From the navigation icons on the left-hand menu, select Teams > manage teams
  • Press Add
  • Under add a new team, give your team a name, description, set the owner and set the privacy (private or public)
  • Press create a team

That’s it! Your team has now been created and is visible from the Teams admin center. In the example below, we also check the status of the O365 group by going back into Groups within the O365 admin center, selecting the newly created group and checking the members tab.

Create a new team from the Teams admin center.

Thoughts and observations

During the process of creating teams in all of the above methods, I noticed several things that may be a consideration when creating teams yourself:

  1. The only way to create an org-wide team at the point of creation from any of the above methods is via the Teams app or browser, this is not an option via Groups, Azure Active Directory or the Teams admin center.
  2. With the above, you are able to convert an existing team to an org-wide team, here’s the Microsoft guidance on how to do it.
  3. When converting an existing team to org-wide, its worth considering the approach for when to convert. For example, in my organisation we wanted to some starter posts to the team for people to see once the team became org-wide. However, once you convert the team the posts become buried beneath the “XXXX added Joe Bloggs and 199 others to the team” messages.
  4. I’ve focused on ways to create Teams through native options within Office 365. There are, of course programmatic ways to do this – for example via PowerShell.
  5. Managing Teams and their SharePoint sites is not as straight-forward as with SharePoint. Even as a global admin or teams admin, if you are not an owner of a Team then you cannot manage the Team or the corresponding SharePoint site. Granted, expected behavior in Teams, but if you just need to manage the SharePoint site, you need make yourself an owner or site admin.
  6. There is a noticeable delay when creating new Teams in any other way than via the Teams app or browser. This thread makes mention to the fact that it can take up to 24 hours to create teams via PowerShell or using the Graph API, this also seems to be true for via Groups and Azure Active Directory in some instances.

    NOTE: a factor in this could likely also be the throttling and shifting of resources based on the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

A guide to troubleshooting Teams

My organisation has started to use Microsoft Teams, albeit not globally but in small pockets there are groups of users with access to the product and are using it in anger interally.

Getting setup correctly and granting external, or guest access can be not such a simple request in my experience, so I thought it useful to document what I have observed, and some of the resolution steps applied to get Teams set up and working correctly for internal users, and how to make sure external access is enabled for guests.

In this guide:

  1. How to enable Teams for internal users
    • Turn on/ off Teams at the tenant level
    • Turn Teams on/ off for individual users
  2. How to enable guest access
    • Check Azure Active Directory
    • Check O365 Groups
    • Check Teams guest access
    • Check O365 settings
    • Check SharePoint sharing settings
  3. Configuring the user initated Teams licenses
  4. Troubleshooting Teams desktop application
    • Tip #1: the Office version matters
    • Tip #2: turn it off and on again
    • Tip #3: clear the cache
    • Tip #4 run credential manager

1. Enabling Teams for users internally

To enable Teams for individual users, they will need need to be assigned a Teams product license from the O365 admin center. Depending on your own policy for rolling out Teams, you can either do this at the tenant level or at the individual user level (for example, we turned off the Teams product at the tenant level, but assigned licenses at a user level).

Turn on Teams at the tenant level

  • Navigate to the O365 admin center, click on Services & add-ins
  • Search for Teams > under Settings by user/license type select the product license used in your tenant (for example E3)
  • Make sure the ‘turn teams on or off for all users of this type’ is set to On
Turning Teams on at the product license/tenant level

Turn on Teams for individual users

  • Navigate to the O365 admin center, click on Users > Active Users
  • Find the user you wish to turn Teams on for
  • Under Product licenses > press edit
  • Find the relevant product license (for example Office 365 E3) > press the drop down icon
  • Find Microsoft Teams from the list of options, and make sure it is switched on
Turning Teams on at the user level

I believe that by default when an enterprise product license is switched on that by default all the apps and services will be set to on. However, if your organisation is within a managed service agreement, you could well be in a situation where some of these apps are switched off as part of the product license.

2. How to enable guest access

OK so before I begin detailing the steps I followed, there is a pretty great guest access checklist that Microsoft has provided that covers all the steps plus explanation in order to enable guest access in Teams. You can take a look at that below:

Microsoft Teams guest access checklist

Much of what I detail below were already turned on for me, so this just acts as a series of checks – much like the Microsoft guide, to run through to make sure guest access is set up correctly.

Check Azure Active Directory settings

  • Log in to
  • Select Azure Active Directory > Users > User settings
  • Under External users, select Manage external collaboration settings

These are the settings I used for external collaboration:

  • Guest user permissions are limited: Yes
  • Admins and users in the guest inviter role can invite: Yes
  • Members can invite: Yes
  • Guests can invite: Yes
  • Enable email one-time passcode for guests: No
  • Collaboration restrictions: allow invitations to be sent to any domain (most inclusive)

Check Office 365 Groups

  • In the O365 admin center, go to Settings > Services & Add-ins > Office 365 Groups
  • Make sure Let group members outside the organization access group content is set to On
  • Make sure Let group owners add people outside the organization to groups is set to On
  • Make sure Let group members outside the organization access group content is set to On

Check Teams guest access settings

  • In the Teams admin center, select Org-Wide settings > Guest access
  • Set the Allow guest access in Microsoft Teams switch to On
  • Press Save

Check O365 sharing settings

  • In the O365 admin center, go to Settings > Security & privacy
  • Under Sharing > select Edit
  • Make sure Let users add new guests to this organization is set to On
  • Press Save

Check SharePoint sharing settings

Sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin center.

  • In the O365 admin center, select SharePoint
  • In the SharePoint admin center, select Sharing
  • Under Sharing outside your organization, select Allow sharing with the external users that already exist in your organizations directory

NOTE: Basically, any of these options will work, outside of don’t allow sharing outside your organization.

3. Configuring user initiated Teams licenses

Something else you might experience as part of the rollout of Teams, is the prevalence of user initiated Microsoft Teams (Commercial Cloud) licenses. These are auto-assigned licenses that users recieve that do not currently have a Teams license.

If you wish to turn off this ability, you can by doing the following:

  • In the O365 admin center, go to Settings > Services & add-ins > User owned Apps and Services
  • Make sure that Let users install trial apps and services is set to Off

4. Troubleshooting tips for the Teams desktop application

Since rolling out Teams, along with the desktop app I have noted a few common issues and some simple resolution steps:

Tip #1: the Office version matters

Some users struggle to open files in Teams, and get issues that the file is locked or has to be saved locally and re-uploaded.

The build version of Office has an effect on the behaviour between the Office apps and Teams. For example, I noted that someone who had Office Version 1611 (Build 7571.2109) would be unable to open files in Teams, and were unable to open the file in edit mode. Where as myself running Office Version 1802 (Build 9029.2253) had no issues. When the user updated their Office version to 1802 or later, the issues were resolved.

Tip #2: turn it off and on again

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one, and in these cases many times simply removing the Teams product license for the user > saving > then re-applying the license works wonders.

Along the same vein for this, having concurrent Teams licenses from your enterprise and commerical cloud user initiated licenses has also been promlematic for me, hence why we made the decision to turn off the commercial cloud licenses.

Tip #3: clear the cache

Tip #3 and tip #4 pretty much go hand in hand, but clearing the cache when trying to get Teams working is never a bad idea in my opinion.

  • Close the Teams app, and make sure the process has stopped in Task Manager
  • Go to Start > Run > and enter C:\Users\[YOUR_USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams

From here, delete all the files from the following folders:

  • \Application Cache\Cache\
  • \blob_storage\
  • \Cache\
  • \databases\
  • \GPUCache\
  • \Local Storage\
  • \tmp\

Then clear these files out from C:\Users\[YOUR_USERNAME]\AppData\Local\:

  • \Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache
  • \Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cookies
  • \Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Data
  • Internet Explorer Temporary Internet Files
  • Internet Explorer Cookies

NOTE: Mark Vale also includes a PowerShell script on his post about this that will be much quicker way to do it. You can check that out here.

Tip #4 run credential manager

This final tip helps if you see authentication errors when users try to login to the desktop app.

  • Press Start, type Run
  • Enter rundll32.exe keymgr.dll,KRShowKeyMgr
  • In stored usernames and passwords, find the msteams_adalsso credentials and press remove on each one

Microsoft 365 update for April 2019

Another bumper post for April, in this months update:

Let’s get started!

SharePoint updates

Files restore for SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

Files restore offers a self-service recover solutionthat allows administrators and site owners to restore files from any point in time during the last 30 days. Look for a new “Restore this library” option within the library settings panel.

Files restore example for SharePoint document libraries
Find out more:

Modern Document Sets

Long awaited modern document sets will update the user interface to bring them inline with modern sharepoint. Document sets allow you to group related documents together using shared metadata. Modern document sets also unlock the same intuitive user actions like drag and drop content, link to content that lives outside the document set, pin files and much, much more.

Modern Document Sets in SharePoint
Find out more:

News Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is a new feature within the news and highlighted content web parts that enables authors and site owners to tag news articles with Azure Active Directory groups to filter content through web parts to people within those groups.

Find out more:

Author reply emails for comments, replies and likes

Now when someone comments on your page or news post, SharePoint notifies you via email. Multiple comments will be batched so that you receive a single email. This feature will start rollout to targeted release in April, with worldwide rollout currently scheduled to be completed in mid-June 2019.

Find out more:

Connected web parts for SharePoint

Coming soon are three new connected web parts for SharePoint Online that allow you to display data from list and library web parts. With the List Properties, File Viewer and Embed web parts you can now connect to a data source and interact with lists and libraries in new ways.

Find out more:

Multi-Geo in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups

SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups now joins Exchange Online and OneDrive in having the ability to enable where SharePoint sites and their content is stored.

Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups enables global businesses to control the country or region where shared resources like SharePoint Team Sites, Office 365 Groups content (associated SharePoint Sites and Groups mailboxes) are stored at-rest.

Introducing Office 365 Multi-Geo
Find out more:

Autodesk AutoCAD integration for SharePoint and OneDrive

New integrations with Autodesk connect OneDrive and SharePoint to the drafting tools available through AutoCAD. As you work with DWG files across these applications, you can open and edit them in the AutoCAD desktop application, the AutoCAD mobile app, and the new AutoCAD web app.

Find out more:

You can now use larger, more flexible image types to upload your company logo in the Office 365 navigation bar. You will be able to upload a custom logo of any file size/ format via a URL in order to improve the clarity of the logo image that your users see.

Find out more:

Office 365 Group card enhancements

Improvements to the Office 365 group “hover cards” so that you can act on the group within the context of what you’re doing, rather than going to a separate page. You can search through all group members, renew the group per any set expiry, and approve pending members.

Office 365 Group card enhancements
Find out more:

Microsoft Teams updates

Praise badges

Praise in Microsoft Teams is the new way to show your appreciation and encourage each other at work. Send in a 1:1 chat or post it to a channel for the entire team.

Find out more:

Teams PowerShell module GA

The Teams PowerShell module is now generally available. This PowerShell module allows you to manage the lifecycle of teams within your organisation.

Find out more:

Request to add on behalf of

You can now request on behalf of someone else to join a private team. Teams can be created as either private, where admins control membership, or public, where anyone in the organization is welcome to join.

Increased member limits

Organisation wide teams now have higher size limits, so they can have up to 5000 members in a team. Global administrators can easily create a public team that pulls in every user in the organisation and keeps the membership up to date with Active Directory as users join and leave.

Org-wide teams now have higher size limits

Show/ hide teams

It’s now much easier to keep your teams list tidy. What used to be Favorite and Remove from favorites is now Show and Hide. Choose which teams and channels you want to show in your teams list and hide the rest. You’ll still get notified when @mentioned, they just won’t clutter your teams list.

Hiding a team from a list view
Find out more:

OneDrive updates

Golden folder icon design

OneDrive is introducing golden folders with subtle, yet noticeable clues emblazoned on the icon to remind you of the contents and sharing status of each folder. Golden folders are being rolled out across mobile and web in OneDrive, SharePoint and connected experiences in other apps.

Golden folders in OneDrive and the OneDrive mobile app
Find out more:

OneDrive sync client improvements

The OneDrive sync client lets you can access and share all your files directly from your desktop in Windows File Explore or macOS Finder. Some new updates for the sync client include:

  • Self-help option: “Illegal files names not syncing” 
    A new in-app resolution to sync errors – like when using an Asterix “*” symbol or any file name starting with “~$” – to help avert and solve naming blockers, to then rename the file and continue with upload
  • Request assistance
    Look for a new “Get Help” option in the OneDrive activity center on your desktop. This enables people to initiate a support ticket.
  • Prompt for pending uploads
    And one last “wait, before you go” feature… the OneDrive sync client will also notify users when they have pending uploads when the computer is shutting down or going into standby
Find out more:

Block download option for specific people sharing link

You are now able to use the “Block download” functionality that allows people to block recipients from downloading, copying and pasting shared content when using the “Specific people” style sharing links.

Find out more:

Office client apps – required document properties updates

Users will now be able to save Office files with missing required properties. This change only applies to the Office files synced by the OneDrive sync client. Additionally, users can add, or update required properties for a document by navigating to the file in the SharePoint document library and entering the appropriate value.

Find out more:

Other, related updates

Yammer conversations & highlights web part

The Yammer conversations wep part enables you to integrate topics, groups or users into SharePoint. This combines the social nature of learning across organizations with the content and knowledge management powers of SharePoint.

The Yammer Highlights web part, provides a quick overview of active conversations and a targeted portal to specific groups or conversations in Yammer.

Microsoft Search in Bing Preview includes Yammer conversations ​

Yammer conversations or conversations between co-workers will now start appearing Microsoft Search in Bing. Microsoft Search will only return information and files that you have permission to see.

Find out more:

New icons in Office 365 apps

Microsoft have updated their available icon set, with nearly 350 new icons being added to choose from. You are able to rotate, resize, and recolor the icons without any loss in the quality of the image. You can also separate the icon into its components and use only the pieces you want.

Find out more:

Power BI web by example connector

The Power BI web by example connector allows customers to scrape data from HTML pages. It supports ingesting any data element on the page, beyond just HTML tables. You can now automatically suggest Power BI tables based on HTML element repetition patterns.

Find out more:

Custom assessments in Compliance Manager

Compliance Manager now allows you to create custom risk assessments of any application used in your organization. This customised assessments capability enables IT to import their own security and compliance controls into Compliance Manager, including those for corporate policy, local law, and industrial standards.

Find out more:

Security Policy Advisor

Office Security Policy Advisor is a new intelligent service, now available in preview, that uses behavior-based analysis to help IT admins to quantify the risks and benefits of applying a tailored policy, and monitor policy health over time, for their Office clients.

Admins can now deploy policies with a single click and easily update, or even roll back, policies.

Find out more:

Links and resources

Microsoft 365 blogNew in Microsoft 365 – April 2019
New in Microsoft 365 video – April 2019
SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop –
April 2019
What’s new in Teams –
April 2019
OneDrive Roadmap Roundup –
April 2019

Microsoft 365 update for February 2019

Take a look at some of the best bits for the improvements and enhancements to Microsoft 365 throughout February:


SharePoint Migration Tool updates

The SharePoint migration tool now supports migrating content types and managed metadata term stores for SharePoint Server 2013. Global tenant admin permissions are required to do so.

Also, many of the on-premises SharePoint web parts can be migrated into Microsoft 365. Examples being blogs, chart viewer, content search, list form, list view media plus many more.

You can now pretty much migrate every element of a SharePoint site that is most important to you such as web parts, pages and site navigation.

Find out more: full list of supported web parts 
Find out more: new and improved features of the SharePoint Migration Tool

Drag and drop to re-order the left-hand site navigation

You can now re-arrange the order of your site navigation elements with a nice, user friendly drag and drop gesture. This removes the multiple clicks involved in he ellipsis, move up or down options of old. This new gesture also works for dragging/dropping into a sub-navigation location.

Drag and drop the left-hand site navigation

Bulk check in/out

This one I’ve been waiting for awhile for! You will soon be able to check in/out multiple files at the same time form the modern ribbon in a document library.

Bulk check-in/out documents from a modern library

File signals

File signals or status icons are being added into SharePoint to add visual clues regarding the status of a file, such as check-out status, sharing, DLP blocks or missing metadata. This applies to modern lists and libraries.

File signals give visual clues regarding the status of a file

Column totals

A revamp of an old favorite, column totals and subtotals are coming to modern lists and libraries. These totals and subtotals are displayed in the footer. This is a welcome change from the old total count in classic views!

Modern column totals

Add columns between columns and drag and drop

You can now insert new columns in place between existing in and modern list or library view, plus move a column around by simply dragging the header to a new location in the view.

Adding a column between an existing column in a modern SharePoint list or library

Smarter file hover cards

The file hover card gives you a sneak peek into your most important files. Now, as soon as your hover over a file you will be able to see important stats like number of views, who’s viewed and who’s modified. This functionality is now being extended to almost all file types.

This new experience will also appear for files listed in your Shared by Me view.

Find out more: file hover cards are getting smarter and is now available for all file types!

Hover over a file in a SharePoint library or OneDrive folder to see more information about a file

Microsoft Teams

Priority notifications and message delegation

Priority notification alerts will notify a recipient to an urgent message on their mobile and desktop devices and repeat the alert every two minutes for up to 20 minutes, until a response is received.

Priority notifications in Teams

Also coming soon is message delegation. Message delegation enables a recipient to delegate messages to another colleague when they are unavailable.

Message delegation in Teams

Priority notifications are currently in private preview.

Find out more: New capabilities in Microsoft 365 empower healthcare professionals

Microsoft Authenticator

Microsoft Authenticator allows you to receive security notifications for important events on your personal Microsoft Account. When you receive a notification, you can quickly view your account activity to take action if needed.

Microsoft Authenticator can be used to add two-step verification for added security if needed. It supports fingerprint, face ID or PIN authentication.

Microsoft Authenticator

Find out more: Microsoft Authenticator app now sends security notifications

Links and resources