Tag: ms teams

Did you know … you can add Teams channel meetings to your calendar?

Holding a meeting in a Teams channel allows channel members to attend if they have time and are interested in the meeting – it also lets Team members access meeting artifacts easily.

But when you schedule a meeting in a channel, only direct invitees see the meeting in their calendar. This is great for people who aren’t going to attend, but I end up joining the call ten minutes late because I didn’t see the meeting when I check my calendar to see what’s coming up.

But you can add a channel meeting to your calendar – if you decide to attend the meeting, click the ellipses on the meeting item and select “View meeting details”

Click “Add to calendar”

Voilà! Now the meeting appears in your calendar.


Did you know … you can open Teams files directly from Office 365 Applications?

While you can go into a channel, select the files tab, and open a file from within Teams … that’s a lot of clicking just to open a file in another program. But you can open files stored in Teams (or any other SharePoint document repository) directly from Office 365 programs. How?

Open an Office 365 program – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio. Click on the “File” ribbon bar and select “Open”. SharePoint Online document repositories, including those used by Teams, are listed under “Sites – Windstream Communic…”.

You may already have SharePoint sites listed. To add a new site, you just have to follow it.

Select the SharePoint site that matches your Team name. Click “Documents”

You’ll see a folder for each channel in your Team. Click the channel where the file is saved.

Navigate to the folder where your file is stored, then select the file. It will open directly in the application. When you save the document, the SharePoint document is updated.

Tip: Frequently used documents can be pinned for quick access. After you have opened the file, it will appear in the most recently used list. Click the little push-pin next to the file and it will be pinned to the top of the recently used file list. The Excel files and Word documents that I use frequently can now be opened without navigating through the file structure to find them.


Information Barriers: Microsoft Teams

Information barriers preclude someone from communicating someone else (additional O365 services are going to implement it eventually, Teams just happens to be on the leading edge). Now there are lines of business where this is an awesome feature — law firm representing both sides of a case, for instance, don’t want people on side A chatting with people from side B. A company with a large front-line workforce may want to preclude the unwashed masses from communicating with Corporate.
If it were free and low effort to set up and maintain, I could come up with use cases for it here. Say, isolating the C11 people so someone unauthorized to talk to C11 people aren’t accidentally disclosing information. En mass blocking people from using federated communication is an interesting option — basically disallow it for everyone & have a specific request to be thrown into the “talks to people outside the company” group.
There’s some initial setup effort in building out the policies and applying them, and there would be effort in getting some mechanism for people to be moved into and out of policies. So it probably passes the ‘low effort’ test. Cost, not so much. It looks like, while anyone with an E3 SKU can use it during this preview, barrier’d accounts need an E5 or an add-on compliance/regulatory license once this goes GA.
Based on cost, I’m thinking we don’t want go dig into it. It’s an additional 8$/month for the compliance add-on license. Something like 15$/month to go from an E3 to an E5. And I don’t particularly care 8$ a user if people in our call center are inviting their friends from the MS call center to lunch over the chat federation.
Anyone else see a use case where it’d be worth the additional money for the technologically enforced barrier?

Did you know … you can copy files from OneDrive to SharePoint Online (thus Microsoft Teams too)?

Sometimes I work on a document privately before putting it out for my group to review, but it takes time to upload a copy of the document to our Teams space! You can move and copy documents from OneDrive directly to SharePoint Online. Since “Files” in Teams spaces are just SharePoint Online document repositories, this means you can move/copy documents to a Teams space too.

Open “OneDrive” from https://portal.office.com or the side-bar of any web-based Office 365 product.

Select the document(s) that you want to move/copy and select either “Move to” or “Copy to” from the menu bar.

A new pane will fly out from the right-hand side of the browser window. You’ll see some of the SharePoint Online sites and Teams spaces to which you have access listed. If the one you want isn’t listed, click “Browse sites” to see a full list.

Click “Show more” to browse through the list of sites.

If you are unable to locate the site you want to use, open it in SharePoint online and follow it. Click on the site into which you want to move/copy your documents.

For SharePoint online sites, you’ll see the site contents and can navigate through the hierarchy to the location you want the file stored. For Teams spaces, click “Documents”.

You’ll then see folders for each Channel. Click the channel into which you want to store the documents.

Navigate through the Channel’s file structure to the location you want the document stored. Click the blue button to copy/move the document to that location.

Voila, my documents are moved within Microsoft’s cloud from OneDrive to SharePoint Online.


Did you know … you can use Teams to collaborate with vendors?

There were a few organizations set up to “federate” with Skype for Business – from your Skype client, you could send messages to their Skype for Business account. This will continue to work when you move to Teams. Microsoft calls each company’s Office 365 environment a “tenant” – you are able to send messages from Teams in our tenant to a federated partner’s Skype or Teams in their tenant.

** If your account is upgraded to Teams Only, messages sent from federated partners will be delivered to you in Teams. Otherwise messages sent from federated partners will be delivered to you in Skype.

To chat with a federated partner, simply address a new chat message to them. The “We didn’t find any matches” message lets you know there wasn’t anyone found in our organization. Click to search for the account externally.

If you get an error indicating that the conversation cannot be set up, you may be mistyping the address. It is also possible that the organization is not on our list of allowed federation partners.

If their organization is on the allowed partner list, you’ll be able to start a new conversation. Along the top banner, there are a few indicators to ensure you realize you are sending information outside of our organization. Messages sent to external recipients transit Microsoft’s Skype/Teams interop gateway. Anything that is not supported through the interop gateway – screen sharing, file sharing, multi-party chat, rich text messages – will not be available when you are chatting with an external recipient.

The other person will see your message in their Skype or Teams application – if they’ve been upgraded to Teams Only, the message will be delivered to them in Teams, otherwise it will be delivered in Skype.

Teams expands on Skype’s federated messaging functionality – accounts from allowed organizations can be “guests” in our Teams. This means vendors can participate in collaborative discussions and access shared documents without having an “n99” account with an Office license. Federated partners can add you as a guest in their Teams spaces too.

Team owners add guests the same way they add internal Team members.

When you type the guest’s address, it will not match any records in our tenant and the option to add them as a guest will be displayed.

Once someone has been added as a guest to a Teams space, there are two ways you can send them chat messages – the external account and the guest account.

What’s the difference? Where the “external” listing delivered your chat message to Skype or Teams (depending on the individual’s account configuration) in the other person’s tenant, “Guest” will deliver the chat message to Teams within *our* tenant.

Good news – that means you can use features that aren’t supported through the interop gateway. Bad news – the person may not check our Teams tenant regularly to see if there are new messages.

A person added as a guest to our organization will see a drop-down tenant selector next to their avatar in Teams. They’ll be able to click the drop-down and switch contexts to our tenant.

They will be able to see our Teams … well, the ones of which they are a member anyway!

They’ll also see chat messages sent to their guest account.

You may notice that the person appears twice in your chat history – the guest account in our tenant and the external account in their tenant are separate entities.

How will the person know they’ve got messages waiting for them in our tenant? A message count indicator will appear on the tenant selector. If they’re a guest in multiple tenants, clicking the drop-down will show them how many new messages are in each tenant.

Usage Tip: This notification isn’t immediate (and sometimes the notification is significantly delayed), so time-sensitive communication should be sent to the ‘External’ listing instead of the ‘Guest’ one.

Warning: Conversations and documents in our tenant are under our purview. This means we can restore access if data becomes orphaned, our retention policies apply to the data, documents and conversations will be included in legal discovery activity, etc. Activity in partner tenants are under their purview. Be cognizant of communication and file content before storing information outside of our tenant.

Did you know … you decide what appears in your Teams activity feed?

Have you noticed that some new Teams messages show up in your activity feed and others do not? The Teams activity feed is meant to highlight Team messages that are important to you. How does Teams know what is important to you? It doesn’t … Teams needs you to tell it what is important to you.

Normally, Teams conversation activity doesn’t appear in your activity feed. When my test account posts a message into the “General” channel …

I see the channel is bolded, indicating new activity; but I do not have any indicators on my Teams or Activity tiles.

What is included in the Activity feed?

Messages to which you’ve replied:  When you reply in a thread, your reply tells Teams that the thread is important to you (just liking a post doesn’t count … you’ve got to actually reply. There are enhancement requests to include some provision for following a thread without replying and muting notifications on a thread to which you’ve replied).

The test account added a new reply after I’d posted my reply. In addition to seeing the channel name in bold, my Activity tile indicates there is one unread message.

Followed Channels: If you want to receive notifications for all threads posted to a channel, follow the channel. Click the ellipsis next to the channel name and select “Follow this channel”.

Now when the test account posts a new thread …

I have an indicator on my Activity tile.

Team At-Mentions: You’ll also see an activity item when the Team is at-mentioned in a post (that’s why at-mentioning the Team is a really effective way to bring attention to your post).

In addition to the activity indicator, I also see an “@” symbol on the Teams tile indicating that a Team has been at-mentioned. And a little number next to the channel that tells you how many unread Team or Channel mentions are in the channel.

Some Channel At-Mentions: What is the difference between at-mentioning a Team and at-mentioning a Channel? When you at-mention a Channel, only people who have favorited the channel will see activity alerts.

Usage Tip: If you break your Team up into channels that aren’t deeply interconnected, individuals can favorite and follow the channels where they are actively involved and check other channels when they’ve got some time. You can at-mention the channel for important messages without overwhelming the whole team with alerts.

While the channel is marked as bold to indicate unread messages, I don’t get any notification about the at-mention. How do you mark a channel as a favorite? Just click that star to the right of the channel name (favorite channels also appear in the initial channel list so you don’t have to expand “X more channels” to see them).

Now a message which at-mentions the channel …

alerts me. A lot 😊


Did you know … you can edit and delete Teams messages?

Typos happen – especially in quick, “instant messaging” type communication tools like Microsoft Teams. There is a spell checker to identify mistakes that aren’t words.

But spell check doesn’t catch everything.

Beyond mistyped characters, my thread would be nicer if I had included a subject! And even if my message was perfect when posted, processes change and information becomes incorrect. Because Teams conversations are persistent, out-of-date instructions are going to turn up in search results. Instead of creating a new thread with the updated instructions, I return to the old post and edit it. Changed posts do move to the bottom of the channel (and create an activity alert for individuals who follow the channel). In private chats, edited messages do not appear as new activity, so I’ll copy my updated message and post it into the chat again.

How do you edit a message? In either the chat or channel conversation, click on the ellipses in the upper right-hand corner of your message (these controls only appear when your mouse is over the message block).

Select “Edit”

Your message is open in the basic editor. To add a subject, click the “Format” button to open the expanded editor.

Edit your message – add a subject, correct typos or update content. When you are done, click the check-mark to save your changes. Or if you no longer wish to edit the message, click the “X” to cancel.

What about messages that no longer apply? Put in the wrong place? You can a message them to explain why it is no longer valid. Or you can delete it. To delete a message, click the ellipsis in the upper right-hand corner of your message and select “Delete”.

While there is no “are you sure?” prompt, you can undo the deletion. Note that the “This message has been deleted” banner remains in the thread. So until there’s better delineation between ‘reply’ and ‘start a new thread’, everyone is going to know you replied in the wrong spot 😊

What about someone else’s message? You can only edit messages you have posted. In private chats, only the person who sent the message can delete it. In channel discussion, Team owners can delete any message (including messages posted by a bot or connector).


Teams Debugging

The Teams desktop client is an Electron application – which means you can debug the Teams client just like any other Electron application. To set up debugging through Chrome, open Chrome to chrome://inspect Configure network targets. Click “Configure”

Add an unused port to be used for Teams debugging.

Run Teams with the remote debugging flag port set to the same port you added above. E.g.

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Teams\current\Teams.exe –remote-debugging-port=51555

Now you’ve got access to the Electron app in Chrome. Click on “Inspect” for the thread you want to watch

You can add break-points in the code to pause program execution.

You’ll see a “Paused in debugger” indicator when a breakpoint is reached. You can resume or step over using this indicator, or you can use the DevTools debugger – the DevTools debugger also allows you to proceed one step at a time through program execution (F9).

Through the debugger, I was able to identify the source of the weak little notification ding


Which means I can redirect this URL … really anything that matches the URL up through Teams_Notification because I expect the alpha-numeric at the end to change and I’m sure there’s a primary notification 😊 … and make the notification noticeable.

Looking through the package, I see eighteen different ‘ringtone’ type MP3 files, and only three lines of code that use them. Hopefully this is an indicator that MS has begun development of some user-selectable notification sounds in the desktop client.

nonMeetupRingAudio = new Audio(data.assetsPath + ‘audio/ring.mp3’);

meetupRingAudio = new Audio(data.assetsPath + ‘audio/meetup_ring.mp3’);

screenshareRingAudio = new Audio(data.assetsPath + ‘audio/screenshare_ring.mp3’);


Accessing MS Teams Log Files

There are two sets of log files that we can use to troubleshoot Microsoft Teams issues.

Debug Logs On Windows, these are accessed by holding CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + 1 … on OSX holding Option + Command + Shift + 1 — both the desktop and web client will download three files. In the web client, you’ve got to tell it to save each file individually. The desktop client automatically stashes the files in your downloads folder (sorry, OSX folks, not a clue where your files are!).

Bootstrap log: Teams desktop also has bootstrap logs at %appdata%\Microsoft\Teams\logs.txt This file is generally useful for launch failures, authentication failures, and issues where the app is restarting. Once Teams is started, only background authentication ‘stuff’ is logged here.

If you’re inclined to read them, the debug client log is JSON formatted text followed by lines with timestamp, message level, and the message. War (Warning), Err (Error), Inf (Informational) messages appear in the log. When my Internet connection goes flaky, I get “War” messages with timeouts. But I’ve also seen really strange errors about the back-end Skype call not being found (AFAIK, Skype and Teams share a back-end calling infrastructure. The Skype back-end was upgraded for the Teams launch, but it’s a shared resource).

I pull the log file into Excel and split it into columns with the timestamp, severity, and log data. You can use


to convert an ISO8601 timestamp into a value on which Excel can perform calculations. You can also just reformat it by replacing ‘T’ with a space and removing the ‘Z’ https://assets2.jiveon.com/core/2016.

For some activities, you can isolate the end-to-end transaction. This means you can also calculate how long the transaction took. At-mentions are great because they’ve got an obvious start (search text entered … length 0 means just the @ symbol was used. You’ll see different lengths depending on what the user actually types) and an obvious end (dropdown is shown for X search results). There’s also a single remote call (calling atMentionsService.SearchForUserPrifileInChannel) and response (scope.processSearchResults) where you can determine delay introduced outside the local computer.

When performing calculations in Excel with DateTime objects, the result is in unit days. To display the results in seconds, multiply this by 86400 (number of seconds in a day, which anyone who ever administered Bind zone files will be able to tell you off the top of their head … otherwise 24 * 60 * 60)

In the at-mention above, it took a little over half a second to complete and all of that time was the network call.


Did you know … there’s a Teams bot to create a quick Forms survey?

Microsoft Forms offers a nice mechanism for collecting survey results, and I often post Forms links to my Teams chats and meetings. But that means I’ve planned for the survey – it takes some time to build the survey, after all! For ad hoc surveys, I’ve been using a third-party Teams app, Polly. Unfortunately, Polly isn’t an approved place for storing company information … so while I’m happy to ask where people want to get lunch or if anyone needs a quick break, I don’t want to ask questions that contain company proprietary information.

Forms has a Teams bot that quickly creates a quick one-question survey. You’ll need to have Forms installed in your Teams space. Click on the “Store” icon, search for Forms, and select Microsoft’s Forms.

Select the name of the Team to which you want to add Forms and click “Install”.

Click “Setup” next to “Bot” to add the forms bot to your Teams space.

Now you can at-mention Forms and create a quick one-question survey. ** This works fine if you are using the Teams desktop client. In the Teams web client, adding the question removes the at-mention link (the @Forms text changes from purple to black). To create quick forms in the web client, I have to type the question/answer bit first, then hit ‘home’ to get to the front of the message and add @Forms **

Help will be displayed to remind you of the question/answer format.

Type your question and answers and send the message.

Forms will create a new post with your survey.

Survey results will be updated in real-time in the thread.

If you want to view detailed results (or export the results to Excel), visit https://forms.office.com The Forms bot creates a “Group form”, so you’ll need to select the “Group forms” tab. Click on the Teams space where you posted the form.

You’ll see the form – they’re readily identifiable because the form name starts with “<at>Forms</at>” followed by the question you posted. Select the form and you can view response details and open the response results in Excel.

One oddity – if you host a meeting in the Teams space, you can at-mention Forms to create a survey in the meeting chat. The response from the Bot – where people vote – does not appear in the meeting chat because the bot response is a new thread.

Team members will find the survey as a new thread in the channel.

This is a little confusing to me, so I just send the message to create the survey in the channel instead of using the meeting chat. Using the meeting chat would, however, associate the survey with the meeting because the message which prompted the form creation will appear in the meeting chat.