Category: Office 365

Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes

The trick to understanding this is knowing that “Meeting Notes” are, for some reason, Wiki pages and not OneNote documents. There are two types of meetings — those held in a Teams channel and those held outside of a channel — and the ability to get a useful link to the Meeting Notes depends on which type of meeting you have.

Meetings in a Teams Channel:

When your meeting is in a Teams channel, you can use the ellipsis to grab a link to the Meeting Notes location in Microsoft Teams.

This link points to the “Meeting Notes” tab created in the channel. That tab is available without a link, too — so I can access the meeting notes just by going to the channel where the meeting was held.

Meetings Outside of a Teams Channel:

The meeting notes wiki file is stored in your OneDrive. You can find that file by searching your OneDrive for the name of the meeting. In this example, I have a meeting titled “Super Important”. You can right-click on this and select “copy link” to grab a link to the file.

The problem is that it’s an MHT (basically a self contained web page) file. I can give you a link to the file, but it’s not a convenient link to a OneNote page like you’d expect. For some reason, Chrome wants to save it as an EML (email) so the file opens in Outlook (or change the extension to MHT manually). Firefox keeps the MHT extension, and the file opens up in a browser so you can view the notes.


Did you know … Teams meetings now include closed captioning?

When you record a Teams meeting, Stream can generate a transcript of the meeting. Great for making meeting minutes or creating searchable content from meetings. But it doesn’t help someone who doesn’t here so well *participate* in the call. And the attendee at a noisy aeroport? They’re stuck waiting for the transcript to be generated. Microsoft had demonstrated a few new meeting features earlier in the year — background replacement and live captioning. While I still cannot drop the company logo behind me … live captioning has started to show up in tenants. This is currently in preview — which means you may encounter glitches. Instead of waiting for a transcript to be generated for a recorded meeting, live captions provide real-time on-screen transcription.

To turn on live captioning, click the ellipsis in the call control bar and select “Turn on live captions”.

A real-time transcript will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. The text is large and easily read — at least on my desktop.

Their transcription engine picks up random background noise as interjections — the “oh” in my test, of instance, wasn’t actually uttered. Participating in a discussion with esoteric terms might yield a lot of mis-transcriptions. But it did a decent job with Z-Wave, DSLAM, and antidisestablishmentarianism.

Exchange Mail & Calendar In Teams (duct tape approach, not official MS solution)

The Exchange web client renders in the Teams website tab now – Chrome and Chromium-based Edge. I use the nightly build of FireFox and it says ‘Blocked by X-Frame-Options Policy’

This isn’t a way to get new mail notifications in Teams – you’ve got to click over to the tab. But it does let you send a quick message without leaving Teams.

It’s a little inconvenient, though, to have to navigate over to the right channel to find the website tab. You can also create a custom Teams application to access the Exchange website. That’s a little more complicated, but you basically need a manifest.json with static tabs to the inbox and calendar.

Install and open “App Studio” in Teams. Create a new app. Fill in the details — use the generate button to get an app ID. Since you’re not going to publish the app to the Microsoft app store, the info you use isn’t super important … the privacy and terms of use, specifically, aren’t something anyone is going to read.


In the “Capabilities” section, add a personal tab

Add a tab for the mailbox:

If you wish, add a tab for the calendar – I prefer the weekly view, but you can replace “week” with “workweek”, “day”, or “month”.

In the “Test and Distribute”, click “Download”.

You’ll get a zip file that you can side-load (i.e. it’s not an app published across the company). In “Apps”, select “Upload a custom app”

Locate the downloaded ZIP file and open it

Verify that your app looks right – the permissions are base permissions for all apps (we didn’t add anything special)

Click “Add” and you’ll be able to select the new app from the ellipses in Teams.

And you’ll have an app that can access your mailbox

Or a week view of your calendar


Microsoft Teams: Private Channels Arrive

WooHoo! When creating a channel, I have a privacy setting!!

Individuals who do not have access to the channel do not see it in their Teams listing, and posts made to a private channel cannot at-mention the Team or individuals who do not have access. I’m glad Microsoft landed on the side of privacy in their implementation here.

It would be awesome if MS would have added the ability to move channels into other Teams with this rollout so we could consolidate Teams that were set up to restrict access to content. But at least we’ll be able to consolidate general-access and restricted-access content in a single Teams space going forward.


Upcoming Features from Ignite 2019

  1. Private channels should be coming this week … not my tenant yet, but soon
  2. Multi-window functionality where chats, calls, and such can pop out into another window
  3. Live captioning should land later this year — this is an obvious great feature for people with reduced hearing or frequency loss, live “closed captioning” is awesome if you’re working from a noisy location too
  4. Microsoft Whiteboard moved into general availability — it’s been a preview for quite some time now
  5. “Attendee” roll will prevent people from inadvertently sharing their screen in the middle of a meeting
  6. My Staff portal that allows managers to perform password resets (and maybe unlocks) for their employees. This is something I’ve done as custom code in IDM platforms, but it’s nice to see Microsoft incorporating ideas that reduce down-time due to password challenges.
  7. I’ll be curious to see if the healthcare-specific features move into other verticals — MS rolled out a feature that allows you to designate a contact when you’re in surgery (basically redirect all of my messages to Bob because I’m busy right now) that seemed like it would be quite useful in enterprise or education uses. The “patient coordination” feature they talk about might work as a contact management tool out of the medical realm too.
  8. URLs in Teams will be protected like the links in other Office 365 programs — if you click on a link and see something about “Advanced Threat Protection” … that’d be why 🙂

Extracting the Transcript from Microsoft Stream Videos

While Microsoft does not provide a way to export the transcript from Stream videos (thus recorded Teams meetings), it is possible to get something a nicer than the select/copy/paste from the transcript box. Click the video settings and select “Show transcript”

Display the browser developer tools – In Firefox, select the “Web Developer” sub-menu from the browser menu and select “Web Console”

This console is often used for displaying errors in a website, but it can also be used to send commands to the browser. There’s a “>>” prompt – click next to it and you’ll have a flashing cursor.

Paste this into the console:

window.angular.element(window.document.querySelectorAll('.transcript-list')).scope().$ => { return t.eventData.text; })

… and hit enter. Another line will appear below what you’ve entered. Right-click on that new entry and select “Copy Object”. Now paste into a text editor or Microsoft Word.

The output could use a little cleanup. You’ll see “\r\n” anywhere there’s a newline. This

Becomes “a new tip to make things quicker. So\r\nshare your knowledge” … you could replace “\r\n” with a space (I find the newlines to be superfluous) or use a regex replacement to replace “\\r\\n” (literal string, the backslash escapes the backslash to retain it) with “\n” (an actual newline)

Each time-stamped bit of the transcript is in a separate set of quotes – I’ve got a quick replacement that takes

",\n "

And replaces it with a newline … so


Depending on the target audience … for me, that’s where I stop. To send the transcript to someone else, I manually clean up the spaces and quote before the first line and the quote-comma on the last line.

Microsoft Teams: Cross-posting to multiple channels

Click on “Post in multiple channels”

To post in additional channels, click “Select chann…”

Check off the channels into which you want the post written – this can be a channel in any Teams space where you are able to post messages. Click “Update”.

When your message is posted, an indicator will appear letting everyone know it was posted in multiple channels. No, there doesn’t appear to be a way to see which channels – that’s probably a permission / information leakage nightmare (post something into the “Mass Layoffs” channel that I shouldn’t know exists … I shouldn’t be able to see that channel name). But the glif gives you some confirmation if you think you’ve seen this info elsewhere.

Note – the posts are not linked to each other. If someone replies in one channel, the post in the other channels will not include the reply. So while this is a quick way to disseminate the same information to various teams … you’re starting multiple conversations too.

Also note — there doesn’t appear to be a way to edit cross-posted messages.

Listing Column Widths in Excel

I hacked Box Spout to support column widths formatting, but wanted a quick way of adding appropriate column widths (yes, automatic width determination would be better … but I didn’t want to spend hours sorting that). Instead of wasting time on automatic column widths, I wrote a simple Excel code module to tell me the appropriate column widths. If your data width might vary, you can add some padding to the ReportColumnWidth function. My data, fortunately, is fixed width.

You will need to save your spreadsheet as a macro-enabled workbook (.xlsm). To add a function to Excel, hit Alt and F11. Select “Insert” => “Module” and paste in the following content and save.

Function iCeiling(iInput)
    iCeiling = Int(iInput)
    If iCeiling <> iInput Then
        iCeiling = Int(iInput) + 1
    End If
End Function

Function ReportColumnWidth(CellID As Range) As Double
 ReportColumnWidth = iCeiling(CellID.ColumnWidth)
End Function

In Excel, use the ReportColumnWidth function to print the width of a column into a cell. This is my row #3.

In row #2, I have a counter that provides the row number for use in Box Spout. Row #4 creates the line needed to set the column width in my code using the concat function.


Replacing the tab characters with newlines, I now have column widths set based on my data.