Saving approvals as PDFs in Microsoft Teams

In this post we demo the ability to download approvals in Microsoft Teams as PDFs for filing, printing or transferring.


Microsoft introduced the ability to save, print and transfer approvals as PDFs in late 2022. With this feature, approval creators are able to save a completed approval request to a PDF file and have the option to print it. At the time of writing, there was very little online about this feature, or what it looks like – so here it is in action!

Demo – save a PDF from approval

  • There are several ways to trigger a new approval, via Teams chat or channel message, the approvals app or via Power Automate to name a few. In my example, I created a Teams channel approval:

Note: There’s a brief delay after sending your approval before it appears within your activity feed, or the approvals app (approx. 5 minutes). Once it does, you are able to go ahead and approve/ reject it. You cannot save approvals as PDF whilst they are in the ‘requested’ state.

  • Once the approval has been completed, you can either view the details of the approval (if a channel message) or open the approval up from the approvals app in Teams.
Approval details via the Teams channel message.
Approval details via the Teams channel message.
Approval details via the approvals app.
Approval details via the approvals app.
  • Once your approval is open > press Save as PDF.
  • A PDF export of the approval window will download into the local downloads folder on your device. The output will look something like the below:

Current limitations

  • There is no way currently to change the download location of the PDF or change the behaviour. It would be nice it it was configurable to set it to save to a OneDrive location potentially.
  • There are no standard approval triggers related to this functionality in Power Automate. Again, for the same purpose as above, it would be good to be able to leverage this functionality via Power Automate to route the downloaded PDF to a OneDrive/ SharePoint location.


How to change the expiration time for meeting recordings in Microsoft Teams

In this post we detail how to change the default expiration time for meeting recordings in Microsoft Teams.

In this post:


Microsoft introduced a meeting recording auto-expiration feature in Microsoft Teams in January 2022, which eventually became generally available (GA) in March 2022. The auto-expiration feature automatically deletes Microsoft Teams recording files stored in OneDrive or SharePoint after a pre-set period of time.

At the time of the announcement, Microsoft said:

“New recordings will automatically expire 60 days after they are recorded if no action is taken, except for A1 users who will receive a max 30-day default setting. The 60-day default was chosen because, on average across all tenants, 99%+ of meeting recordings are never watched again after 60 days”.

How to Manage Microsoft Teams Meeting Recording Auto-Expiration

The latest Microsoft documentation says that all newly created Teams meeting recordings (TMRs) will have a default expiration of 120 days. This means that by default, all TMRs created after this feature was turned on will be deleted 120 days after their creation date. However, I’ve tested in two different tenants and the 60 day expiration is set as default.

You will know that the auto-expiration feature is enabled by observing a yellow banner appearing underneath all Teams meeting recordings like the below:

Auto-expiration banner notification in Microsoft Teams.

Where to find the meeting expiration settings

The easiest way to find the meeting auto-expiration settings is within the Teams admin center. The auto-expiration settings are a part of the recording & transcription settings:

  • Open the Teams admin center
  • Navigate to Meetings > Meeting policies
  • Select the meeting policy in use in your Teams environment (Global) > press edit
  • Scroll down to recording & transcription
Auto-expiration settings are accessible via the recording & transcription section of meeting policies in the Teams admin center.

The recording & transcription settings of meeting policies also has the following features you can control:

  • Transcription: This setting controls whether captions and transcription features are available during playback of meeting recordings. The person who started the recording needs this setting turned on for these features to work with their recording.
  • Cloud recording: This setting is a combination of a per-organizer and per-user policy and controls whether the meetings can be recorded.
  • Meetings automatically expire: This setting controls where you want meetings to expire at all. If enabled, you can then set a number of default days before the meeting recordings expire.
  • Default expiration time: This setting specifies a a number of default days before meeting recordings expire between 1 and 99999.
  • Store recordings outside of your country or region: This policy controls whether meeting records can be permanently stored in another country or region. If it’s enabled, the recordings can’t be migrated.

How to update the default expiration time

Follow the steps below to update the default expiration time for meeting recordings:

  • Open the Teams admin center.
  • Navigate to Meetings > Meeting policies.
  • Select the meeting policy in use in your Teams environment (Global) > press edit.
  • Under recording & transcription > default expiration time > set the default number of days between 1 and 99999.
  • Press Save.

Update via PowerShell

You can also update the auto-expiration in PowerShell by setting the attribute NewMeetingRecordingExpirationDays. If you use PowerShell, set the attribute to “-1” to never auto-expire, or set it to a specific number of days (min: 1 day, max: 99,999 days). Example PowerShell cmdlet:

Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -NewMeetingRecordingExpirationDays 30

Additional information

Here is some additional information provided by Microsoft regarding how auto-expiration works and what products/ services it affects:

  • The expiration setting is not a retention setting. For example, setting a 30-day expiration on a file will trigger an auto-deletion 30 days after the file was created, but it will not prevent a different system or user from deleting that file ahead of that schedule.
  • Any retention/deletion/legal hold policies you have designated in the Compliance center will override this feature. In other words, if there is a conflict between your designated Compliance policy setting and the expiration setting, the compliance policy timeline always wins.
  • When a recording is deleted due to the expiration setting, the end user will be notified via email. The SharePoint tenant or site admin, or the end user with edit/delete permissions will be able to retrieve the file from the recycle bin for up to 90 days.
  • The admin does not have the ability to override end-user modification capabilities.
  • This will not impact any existing meeting recordings created before the feature is deployed. Also, any changes to the default date in the admin console will only apply to newly created meeting recordings after the change is made.
  • The min number of days that can be set on NewMeetingRecordingExpirationDays is 1 and the maximum is 99,999 (e.g. 273 years) or it can be set to never auto-expire.
  • This feature does not impact meeting recordings stored in Microsoft Stream (classic Stream) but will affect recordings stored in the new Stream (built on OneDrive and SharePoint).
  • This feature is only available for Teams meeting recordings created by the Teams service in OneDrive and SharePoint. It is not available for other file types in OneDrive and SharePoint.

Shared channels in Microsoft Teams

Shared channels in Microsoft Teams

What are shared channels?

Shared channels have arrived in public preview at the end of March 2022 globally. Microsoft define shared channels as collaboration spaces where you can invite people in who aren’t already part of the team – internally or externally.

I want to use this post as a reference point for all things shared channel related as there is lots of information out there already.


Admin Documentation

End user documentation

If there are any links you want adding, just pop a comment below.

NB: I tried out something different with the story for this post, but it didn’t turn out quite how I’d hoped – I’ll try again soon!

Enable praise history in Microsoft Teams

In this post we will explore how to access praise history, what to do to enable/disable it plus a use case around the praise history app not working.

What is praise?

Praise is feature within the Viva Insights app in Microsoft Teams that lets you send praise messages about employees or co-workers. Praise messages are shown as notifications in Teams and can be sent via a private chat, or for wider recognition in a Teams channel conversation.

Praise history

Praise history is a feature in Microsoft Teams that was released in late February 2022 that allows you to see personal praise history you have received over the last six months. When you give praise or view a praise badge in the Teams app you will see a link to “review your praise history”.

An example of a praise badge sent to a colleague in Microsoft Teams.

Can’t access praise history

Praise history relies on the Viva Insights app being allowed and available in Microsoft Teams within your tenancy. If you have Teams apps permissions policies in place without the Viva Insights app allowed, or haven’t deployed the Viva Insights app yet you will see this message when clicking on the review your praise history message:

App not found: the app may not exist, or your organisation may have disallowed you from using it.

How to enable praise history

To enable praise history you will need to enable the Viva Insights app in your tenancy. To do this you will need to be have the Teams Admin role applied to your account:

  • Open the Teams admin center
  • Expand Teams apps > click on manage apps
  • Find the Viva insights app > ensure it’s status is allowed
Ensure the Viva Insights app is allowed from manage apps in the Teams admin center.
  • You will also need to ensure the Viva Insights app is added to any custom permission policies or a customised global (default) policy. The example below shows a customised global permission policy allowing specific apps – including the Viva Insights app:
Ensure the Viva Insights app is added to any custom policies and the global default policy if changed.

Now, when you click on “review praise history” you will be taken to the praise history page within Viva Insights.

Praise history page within Viva Insights.

Things to note

  • There isn’t a direct, named link to praise history from the Viva Insights homepage. You have to press “send praise” from the homepage in order to actually find praise history


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.