Many roads lead to your Teams meeting

The official English saying appears to be “there is more than one way to skin a cat” but as I love cats and do not support their being skinned, I have translated the good old Dutch saying that “many roads lead to Rome”.

What I want to show is that you can start your Teams meeting in many places, to make it easy for you to join your meeting.

Let’s see if I know them all, and let me know if I have forgotten one! Or more!

1. Teams calendar

This is my regular way to access. The meeting is displayed on your calendar and when you click on it, a popup will show you the details and the link to join.

Popup with meeting details

When the meeting is about to start, or in progress, the link will be shown on the calendar, saving you a click, so you can access immediately.

As the Weekly meeting is currently in progress, the Join link is already displayed.

2. Invitation in Outlook

In this case, I have created the meeting myself so I can only show the “sent” mail, but every invitation email contains two links to the meeting. When you accept the invitation, the email is removed from your Inbox, so this is not the most frequently used option, I guess.
Unless you make it a habit NOT to respond to invitations of course…but I hope you are not that kind of person 🙂

There’s a button top left, and the link on the bottom of the email.

3. Outlook calendar

As your Teams calendar syncs with your Outlook calendar , your meeting will be displayed here too. If you “live” in Outlook, you will probably use this most often. Again, when you click the meeting, you will get a popup with the meeting details, including the link.

Regular calendar view – the Join link will show in a popup
Again, as this meeting is in progress at the moment of screenshot, the link to Join is already available.

4. MyDay in Outlook/Microsoft365 landing page

If you click on MyDay, you will see your schedule for today and more, including your meeting. If you click on this message, you will get a link to the meeting. If your meeting is already running, you will see the Join link straight on the MyDay popup.

5. Outlook notification/reminder

Do you see the notification at the top right of Outlook 15 mins before start? Click on it and you will see the meeting link in the MyDay screen.

You will see this reminder in your Outlook email and calendar

6. The Microsoft365 landing page

When your meeting is about to start, you will see it in the Recommended documents on top of the page. It disappears shortly after meeting start time. Does anyone ever use the MyDay button on the top of this page? It’s there too!

OK, so the reminder is not a document, but it has frequently saved me a late entrance! 🙂

7. My Feed webpart on SharePoint

If you have a MyFeed webpart on SharePoint, the meeting will show up there, with a link to Join. The MyFeed shows your stuff, see my earlier post.

It is a “you” thing, so this reminder will also pop up in your My Feed webpart

8. Desktop notification

When someone else starts the meeting, you will see a purple banner on the bottom right of your screen, when enabled. You can Join from here, too, or send a message that you will be a tad later. Again, this has been a life-saver when I forgot I had a meeting! 🙂

As I am the only person in my tenant, I can not share the usual screenshot (that your colleague has started the meeting) but this one from an external guest is almost the same.

The banner will show you when someone else has started the meeting.

9. From OneNote (if you have sent the invitation to OneNote)

You can send an email or invitation from Outlook to OneNote, which gives you a very nice page with all info in a nice structured way, and the link to the meeting is included as well.

OK, it is in Dutch but you will get the gist.This page in OneNote is also an excellent starting page for your meeting notes.

Have I missed anything?

Please let me know in the comments! I know there’s probably a few extra places on mobile, but I do not use that very often now that I am mostly working from home.

Things I don’t like about Office/Microsoft365

You know I am a total Microsoft fangirl. I can drive people crazy by asking why they are using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms instead of Forms, why they are using expensive dictation software when they have built-in dication in OneNote and Word Online, and I have tons of other irritating questions 🙂

There are a few things however, that I do not like so much.

1. Lack of accurate timing on the Roadmap

We have a Roadmap-into-Planner setup, so every day I check what is new, what is relevant for IT and/or users, and if and how we will promote this.

While I can live with the sheer amount of change and the inconsistent content of the items (sometimes it is just a line, sometime it is a complete article, sometimes it has screenshots (yes, that is really helpful, more of those please!)) I do have a problem with the timings.

Sometimes we seem to have to wait forever. For instance, I have not yet seen the option to make every meeting a Teams meeting in the Outlook desktop at work, but I have seen it in Karuana’s demo’s and I have it in my home tenant. It should have been launched in March, but it is July and I still do not have it in our tenant. I, nor my team, have a clue when it will enter our tenant.

Right now the highlighted line is not in our work tenant for Outlook Desktop users.(Screenshot from my personal tenant). The functionality has been available for Outlook Web users for months. If anyone can tell me when I can expect this for my work tenant, or what we have to do to make it visible, please do!

Another example: my F3-licensed test account still does not have the text options in Forms (Bold, italics, underscore, lists) in Forms that I have had for months in my E3-work account. But nowhere it is mentioned if and when this will become available for F3-users.

On the other hand, sometimes my colleagues ask me questions about something that I have not even seen yet. And my E3-work account is on Targeted Release, so I should have had it before them!

So, please make that timing a little bit more accurate, so we know what to look for, and promote, when!

2. The hype around PowerApps

This is an onpopular opinion but I am not very impressed with Power Apps, with the exception of Power Automate, although it is getting more and more complex, after nicely starting out as “the Microsoft alternative to IFFFT”. (which is a very simple workflow tool).

In many cases I simply do not see why you would create a PowerApp when you can do it perfectly well on SharePoint. Yes, a Power App will generally look better, and may be easier to use on your phone, but is that worth the extra complexity, the extra licensing, the extra consultant costs?

Additionally, it is being marketed as a “low code/no code” product. Well, as someone who does know a bit of code and generally picks up things quickly, I must say that creating a PowerApp is quite a lot of work and definitely not “low code/no code”, especially not in my type of organization. Our Microsoft partner has installed a few PowerApps and they have been hell to set up, get to work, and maintain.

3. No delegation options in Teams

Yes, I am perfectly aware of the fact that every manager should be able to make their own appointments and view their own meeting documents, but in real life things may be different. You do not want to bother managers with organizing a meeting with people with full agendas. A secretary/personal assistant can do that. A secretary/p.a. can take a lot of work out of a manager’s hands so the manager can focus on the skills they were hired for. Call me oldfashioned, but I think the secretaryp.a. still plays a valid role in organizations.

While Outlook has a ton of options to share mailbox and calendar and what not between manager and secretary/p.a., Teams, especially private chat, is very much a personal tool. It does not allow delegation and it does not accomodate group mailboxes or group accounts. Yet, Teams is being promoted as “THE new place to do your work”. If we want Teams to be the only work tool you need, there should be delegation options for secretaries/p.a.’s, otherwise there is not much point for those people to move away from Outlook.

There’s a User Voice item out there: Delegate capability – Welcome to UserVoice!

4. Differences desktop/online

I told you before that the majority of our users has an F3-license and works exclusively with the web apps. (Except for Teams, where we have the desktop app installed for everyone).

While the web apps are very good and getting better quickly, they lack some functionalities of the desktop apps, and that can lead to questions and irritations. These often come from people who have worked at another organization where the desktop apps were the norm, and they sometimes have difficulty switching to the web apps.
We always try to come up with either the way to do it (some things are just in a different location, you need to check View > Reading View to see the final document) or with an alternative, such as the Watermark. We do not know every small package of functionality so we are often surprised by a question and then have to investigate the options. Sometimes we redirect people from Word or Excel to PowerPoint (e.g. when they use a lot of graphs or pictures), sometimes we replace a document with a Form or a SharePoint list, etc.

The ribbon in Word for the web. Fewer tabs, and in some tabs fewer options, especially for designs and layouts. That does not mean things can not be done, sometimes you can do it in a different way.
The ribbon in Word desktop. More options, especially for graphics and designs.

While this is often fun and challenging, it can be a nuisance when people really need the desktop app because they work with another software that only works with the desktop apps. Some people need to sync an Excel file from another system once a week, or once a month, and then they need the desktop since the web app does not do that. If we switch them to an E3-license for those 5 minutes a week, chances are that they will never learn to appreciate the web apps.

So, to Microsoft: the fewer differences there are between the two app versions, the better. And to Microsoft partners and developers of software and apps: please make your products compatible with the web apps, not with the desktop apps.

Are there any things you do not like about the 365 suite?

Please let me know!

Leaving the organization gracefully

We all know that your personal mailbox, agenda and personal documents will be deleted some time after you leave the organization.

But recently we have seen that more and more team content is stored (and automagically shared) on personal OneDrives, which means that when someone leaves, that shared content will be deleted and lost.
Owners may not be aware that they are the owner of the video, file or Whiteboard, and that these resources live on their OneDrive.
Colleagues of leaving employees may be in for several unpleasant surprises.

I tried to compile a list of things to look for, so if you are the leaver, you can check these items and decide if they needed to be handed over. You will save your colleagues, your manager and your Microsoft365 admins a lot of hassle!

Yes, the manager will have control of your OneDrive for some time after you have left, but

  • do they know enough about the details of your work to know what to keep and what to let go?
  • do you really want to burden them with this?
  • do you want to leave your remaining colleagues in the dark about team stuff?

If you know that a colleague is leaving, you may want to help him/her with checking NOW which content you need after they have gone.

Step 1: Teams Meetings

Are you the organizer of a regular Teams meeting? The meetings will keep running, but nobody will be able to change dates or times, add or delete invitees, or manage the meeting details. At this moment it is not possible to transfer the ownership, but I think that is in the Roadmap.
It is therefore important to either

  • Stop or cancel the meeting, and ask a colleague to re-schedule it. This will mean that meeting links and resources will change. This is the best suggestion for smaller meetings.
  • For meetings with many attendees, a collague can duplicate the event by opening the meeting, clicking on the … and then “Duplicate event”. The meeting will the be copied with the same invitees. The new owner can then remove the old organizer and make sure times and recurrence is OK. This will send a message to all people in the meeting, but in any case you do not have to add them all again.
    This will also change link and resources.
  • Check meeting chats for important files or attendee reports or recordings that needs to be safe-guarded in SharePoint.

Step 2: Regular files – copy or move to Teams/SharePoint or delete

  • Documents
  • Attachments (from Outlook)
  • Notebooks
  • Pictures
  • Office Lens
  • Transcribed files

Step 3: Special files

I have based this list on the various OneDrive folders as described in my earlier post “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Microsoft Teams Chat Files : everything you have shared in private chats

Do you realize that all those screenshots, funny videos and other stuff, that you have ever shared in a private chat (which means: not shared in a Teams channel) live on your OneDrive and will therefore be lost when you leave? It will not be big issue for that silly gif that made your colleague smile when they were feeling down, but there may be relevant documents or screenshots that your colleagues want to keep.

So, you can either check the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder in your OneDrive, or scroll through your private chats. Upload the files to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site or send them as attachment to your colleagues. (Usually not recommended, but they will need their own document)

Now you will understand why Matt Wade, in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams, says: “Work should not be completed in private chat”. (Page 14) 🙂

Microsoft Teams Data: Meeting notes from Teams meetings

This contains the Meeting Notes you have created in Teams meetings. I personally do not use this very often to take notes, as I think the functionality is rather limited, but it is helpful in emergencies. Additionally, it does not open easily from OneDrive, I had to select an app to open it (it is an .mht file).

Do you have Meeting Notes that you would want to keep? Copy the text into a Word or OneNote document in the relevant Teams/SharePoint site.

Recordings: Videos from Teams meetings

Another shared resource that is being stored in a personal location. Make sure you move the video(s) that need to be kept to Stream or Teams/SharePoint.

Whiteboards: Sketching sessions (can be from Teams meetings)

At this moment Whiteboards are still stored in Azure, but they will follow the Recording path and be stored in the OneDrive of the person who creates the Whiteboard. This is expected to happen in October 2021, according to the Microsoft Roadmap.

I expect you will be able to copy/move Whiteboards, and I will update this post when I know more.

Step 4: Applications

Forms – the Forms themselves

Please check out my earlier post on how to handle Forms when you leave.

Forms – files from “File Upload” questions will be in a folder called Apps

If the Form will still be running after you leave, please move ownership of the Form to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site as mentioned above.
If you still need these uploaded files, whether the Form is still running or not, please move them to the appropriate Teams/SharePoint site.

This question type will create a folder in your OneDrive to store the documents – please make sure they are preserved if they are still needed!

Workflows

Power Automate workflows are not stored in your OneDrive, but they are personal. Your Flow will keep running (if it is not something in your personal apps, of course) but if it needs an authentication, or needs an edit, it will need a new owner.

You can simply share the Flow with a colleague, so you co-own the Flow.

In your “My Flows” you can select the workflow and share it with your successor. Make sure they have permissions to the source info!

If you have not done that before you leave, your Administrator will be able to hand it over to your colleague. But hey, your Admin is usually busy enough and all those individual fixes take a lot of time! 🙂

How to manage orphan flows when the owner leaves the organization (microsoft.com)

Stream

Do you have any instruction videos that may be useful later, or do you have any old meeting recordings that should be kept?
In Stream, go to “My content” and then “Videos” and see what needs to be transferred. Open the video in question, click the … and select “Update video details”. See screenshot.

More info: Permissions and privacy in Microsoft Stream – Office Support

Here’s how to start changing ownership of a video. Not the most obvious wording 🙂

PowerApps

I do not have too much experience with PowerApps, so I have found a blog that explains how to transfer PowerApps: HOW TO: Change PowerApps Owner | Todd Baginski’s Blog

Lists

For lists in a SharePoint site, you do not necessarily have to change ownership, as generally all Owners will be owner of the List.

For personal lists, that live somewhere in your OneDrive, it may not be so easy. You will have to recreate the list in a SharePoint site. You can use the Excel file as a basis (see my earlier posts on the topic). I hope Microsoft will make moving a personal list to a SharePoint site easier in future!

SharePoint sites

Make sure you appoint another Owner if you are the only one (which is not a good idea, I always suggest to have at least 2 Owners for backup)

You may also want to check the permissions to content that is important for the team, and make sure it will still have an Owner after you have left. Appoint another Owner or, even better, make sure that the permissions of that content follows the permissions of the site.

Have I missed anything?

Or do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Please let me know!

Update 7 June 2021:

Good addition from Loryan Strant, I do not have too much experience with the apps mentioned (except for OneNote, of course) but be aware if you are using them!

10 things to know about storing Teams meeting recordings

Around this time the default location to store Teams meeting recordings will change from Microsoft Stream to

  1. SharePoint if this is a Channel meeting (In the SharePoint folder of the Channel, in a new folder called “Recordings”.)
  2. OneDrive of the person who records, for any other meeting (in a new folder called “Recordings”)
  3. 20 days download option for the person who records, if they have an F3 license

According to Microsoft this is because a video is a document and should therefore live with and managed like a document. A recording will benefit from regular document management options, security and permissions, and the ability for external sharing.

In theory, this makes sense. In practice, there are some things you may want to know. In my organization we have chosen to switch early so we could control the switch date and make sure to have proper communication and support available. We have a few months of experience by now.

1. Stream is still not accessible for externals. Will it ever be?

When I was working with Office365 video (it must have been around 2015), we were told that it’s follow-up Stream would be accessible for externals. Until now, I have not seen any evidence or announcement of that. So storing meeting recordings in Stream has always been unpleasant for webinars and meetings with externals. You had to download the video from Stream and send or share it from OneDrive or SharePoint.

2. Spreading videos over 4 different locations is confusing (Stream, OneDrive, SharePoint, download)

We have been using the new locations for a few months now and boy, does this confuse people! You need a lot of words to explain where videos are stored. Many people are not aware of their license, or of the meeting type, or of their power when they record the meeting. And then you have all your earlier recordings still living in Stream. 😦

3. Storing recordings on the OneDrive of the “button-pusher” is confusing

We have had a few questions from meeting organizers about the recordings, where someone other than the organizer recorded the meeting. When something needed to be done, e.g. sharing the video with external attendees afterwards, or a bit of editing, or removing the video, the organizer did not know where to go. When I explained the situation, it happened that the “button-pusher” was on holiday, had no time or was unwilling to cooperate.

As the organizer already has so many unique powers in a Teams meeting, would it not make sense if the recording was always stored in the OneDrive of the organizer? And perhaps with a 20-day download option in case the meeting is organized by a group mailbox? (Which does not have a license, hence no OneDrive)

4. Your OneDrive and/or SharePoint must be accessible for externals

That is, if you want to share recordings with external parties. As you know, external participants can not watch the recording of meetings by default, even if they have a Microsoft365 account.
In my organization the OneDrives have the option to share with externals, but not all our SharePoint sites allow external access. In some cases we can make external access available with little effort, but not for every site type. If your organization does not want that, you will be unable to share with externals, so you will have to send large files around. 😦
This is not a big difference with the earlier situation on Stream, but Microsoft assumes external access by default, making it sound easier than it sometimes is.

Do you know the sharing settings for your SharePoint and OneDrive applications? (This is from the Admin Center).

5. This will add another folder to your systems

The recordings from a regular meeting will create a new folder in the OneDrive of the person who records, called “Recordings”. A Channel meeting recording will create a new subfolder in your Channel documents, also called “Recordings”.
This is not a big deal but you may want to tell people about all those folders that they themselves have not created. Some time ago I wrote an overview of all system-created folders in your OneDrive.

Example of a “Recordings” folder in a Teams channel

6. Stream can play videos at different speed

If you have a video in Stream, you can play it at different speeds. Click on the gear wheel under the video, click “Playback speed” and select the speed.
You can not do this in OneDrive or SharePoint.

Playing a video at different speeds is a Stream feature.

7. Stream has (limited) video editing options

If you want to do something with your video for the long term, you will probably want to use the best part only. In Stream, you can trim the beginning and end off your video if needed. There are no other editing options, but this option is useful AND more than what OneDrive and SharePoint have to offer. So, if you want to remove the start and end bits of a recording, you will have to upload your meeting recording to Stream OR use another video editing tool.
Please, can we have some editing options in OneDrive and SharePoint too?

Trimming is another unique Stream feature

8. Stream has caption, subtitle and other video options

This is perhaps not very relevant for the meetings that you record for people who could not attend, or to make sure you have captured the notes correctly, but these functionalities certainly add value for a webinar or an instruction video.

The video details in Stream. You can access them by clicking the … below the video and selecting “Update video details”. See the earlier screenshot.

9. Adding a Form works better in SharePoint

In Stream you can add a Forms, as a poll or a survey. In is rather strange – there is a side panel where I would expect the Poll to show up, but it is actually shown on the location of the video. Also, you have to specify a time, which could be nice for a quiz, but not for a general question.

I do not quite get this functionality in Stream. There’s a ugly box next to the video and the Form itself is shown on the video.

In SharePoint, you can create a nice page with an embedded video and a Form on the side.

It is easy to create a nice-looking page on SharePoint with additional information and interactive elements to your video.

10. Currently there are two messages when you save a Channel meeting.

My own tenant is still in Stream mode (mostly because I don’t do PowerShell 🙂 ) and I am currently getting a message when I stop the recording.

On Teams desktop it says: “After the meeting, you can find this recording in the channel conversation or on Microsoft Stream.”

This is the message that you get when you stop recording in the Teams desktop app

On Teams for the web you get: “Recording is being saved. Recording has stopped. You can find the link to the recording in meeting chat history.”

This is the message when you stop recording in the Teams web app

Not a big deal, but something you may want to be aware of.

Conclusion:

Although the sharing and management of meeting recordings will be better when the recordings are stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, you miss out on specific video functionality. I would appreciate to have some basic video editing capabilities for OneDrive and SharePoint.

Has your organization made the switch to OneDrive and SharePoint? Do you have something else to add?

Recent updates of my posts

With all those rapid changes in the Microsoft 365 suite, some posts age quickly. I have recently updated a number of my most-read posts to keep up with the current situation.

Office Home

Did you know I keep screenshots of all the varieties of Office Homepage since 2016? It is great to see subtle and not so subtle changes. And since there is a new Homepage being rolled out right now, featuring some more filter options and with new Tabs for your files, I updated The New Microsoft365/Office365 Homepage.

Teams

Most changes occur within Teams at the moment, so I have updated the following articles:

The importance of being Organizer, with an Excel spreadsheet (download if you like) of what each role can do in a Teams meeting. I have updated this for breakout rooms and the option to turn off chat.

Take control of your Teams meeting, where I added the options to allow attendees to unmute and the option to control the chat. I also updated some screenshots.

Forms

I just found out that you can create a QR code from Microsoft Edge so I added that to Long live the QR Code or you can read this:

SharePoint

In my most recent post I noticed that the elusive “See all” info, that allows you to create a lovely SharePoint News Digest, does not always appear on your web part even if you have posted the required 5 items.
I wrote 10 things to know about the SharePoint News Digest in 2019 and I am shocked that it took me until 2021 to find the quirk to fill item #10! 😉

Delve

With the new Office homepage, the tab “Discover” has gone and with it the option for F3-licensed users, who have no Delve icon, to see suggested documents. So I also had to update An alternative way to dive into Delve.

Teams Meeting or Live Event?

As the Live Event is still relatively unknown in our organization, we get many questions from colleagues who are about to organize a “large event” and are unsure what to use. Most of our “large events” are well below the 350-people limit of the Teams Meeting, but I do not base my advice on the expected number of attendees only.

I generally try to find out whether they want a collaborative event or a more controlled event without much interaction.

That leads to interesting discussions where many organizers keep changing their mind. 🙂

Why go for a Teams Meeting?

On the one hand, the familiar handling and interface of the Teams Meeting is tempting, especially when it is an internal event. There are ever more options to add extra controls, such the recent “keep attendees muted” and upcoming limitations for chat. In that way, Teams Meetings are getting closer to Live Events!
On the other hand, if you expect around 80 colleagues, things may get very messy if everyone starts chatting or raising hands or talk simultaneously, or if someone tries to move a discussion into an unexpected direction.

Why go for a Live Event?

However, if they decide to do a Live Event (btw, at the moment we only do the simple type, with shared presentation and webcam), they will get control over questions and a consistent professional look-and-feel for the audience. The “downside” is that they will need to learn something new, do a test run and decide on a producer and a moderator, which is new and scary, even if we have an example script and we offer training.
If they have an audience in the same room as the presenter(s), it will even be more complicated due to the delay of the Live Event – about 30-60 seconds, which makes it impossible to listen to the presenter AND to the Live Event.

What are the differences?

Anyway, I have listed the various differences in a spreadsheet. You are welcome to use it for your own purposes, and please let me know if there is anything (else?) that has influenced the decision either way for your organization.

Feel free to download and re-use this and please let me know if you have any additions

I am curious if the availability of break-out rooms will have an influence! 😁

External presenters in a Teams Live Event

In my organization we often invite external experts to present for education purposes. Of course we already know that externals can present in a Teams meeting, although it really helps if they have a Microsoft365 account. See my earlier post.
But what about externals in a Teams Live Event? Yes, they can attend if the event is made public, but what about presenting?

I had already seen a comment on Twitter suggesting that presenters from outside the organization could not join, and recently I came upon a trick from Samantha Brown to overcome that, so I decided to find out how things work.

I set up an experiment:

  • I organized a public event and an organization-only event
  • I invited 4 external presenters:
    • with their own Microsoft 365 account and membership of a Team in the organization
    • no M365 account, but with membership of a Team in the organization
    • with Microsoft 365 account from another organization
    • with none of the above

I attempted to enter into the meeting, in each of the roles above.

So, what have I learned?

1. Presenters MUST use the Teams desktop app

We knew this already, but in case you have not read all Microsoft help: They must download the Teams desktop app. If they don’t, they will enter as attendee and can do nothing. So, if you have an external presenter joining the show, tell them to download the app to their PC – it is free but essential!

2. People with a Microsoft 365 account can present

Presenters with a Microsoft 365 account can enter both events and present. So again, if you are a lecturer and you are being invited regularly to speak at organizations that use Teams, you may want to invest in an M365 account – it is cheaper than Zoom and will make speaking life much easier for you. (And you will get a nice OneDrive and SharePoint and what not, with it!)

3. Presenters with a Microsoft 365 account best join from their Teams Calendar

They often end up as an attendee or get stuck in a weird sign-in loop if they join from the invitation email.

4. It does not matter if the meeting is public or internal only

If someone can present, they can do so in both event types. I assume they can also do it for a limited group, but I have not tested that.

5. External presenters may need to wait in the lobby, but only for the first entry

When a presenter enters the Event for the first time, they may need to wait in the lobby until someone from the organization lets them in. I found this to be the case for both M365 accounts, but not for the presenter who was only a Guest.
So if they drop out for a minute, or if they have used the Live Event for a practice session (without the producer pushing the Start button), they will enter immediately next time they log in.

6. People without Microsoft 365 account can present if they are a Guest in the organization

When they are a Guest, they do not need a Microsoft 365 account. As Sam mentions, adding them to a Team site makes them a Guest and then they are good to go. The organizer will see (Guest) behind their name when they invite them.
But there’s more: after you remove them from the Team site they can still be a presenter, because they are still on the Guest list and need to be removed from the admin center.
This is a bit of a security nightmare as it is up to an Administrator to remove them permanently, but as they do not know who has invited them, they do not know who to ask. And knowing my colleagues, nobody will ever think of submitting a ticket to remove someone from the systems, unless there is a calamity. So once a Guest, most likely always a Guest. 🙁

In this place in the Admin center you can remove Guest users.

7. People without a Microsoft 365 account that are no Guest can NOT enter the meeting as a presenter

They get an error message looking like this:

If your lecturer gets this message when they try to enter the Live Event as a presenter, they have no account and are no Guest.

Recommendation: Do a test meeting well in advance of the Event

If you are organizing or producing a Live Event, you may want to run a test meeting a few days before the Live Event, in order to check out if people have the Teams desktop app, if they have a M365 account or not, etc. This will give you time to adjust any issues before the Big Event!

Do you have any other tips or recommendations? Please let me know!

Send a Teams meeting invitation from a group mailbox

Teams is very much a personal tool. You see only your own calendar and if you organize a Teams meeting, the invitation is coming from you, and you can only attend as yourself.
But…sometimes you want to send the invitation from a mailbox that does not disclose your name.

There are (as far as I know) two ways to make that happen:

1. Schedule in Teams and forward meeting link

  • Schedule the meeting from your own Teams Calendar
  • Adjust meeting options if needed
  • Copy the meeting link
  • Create an invitation from the group mailbox
  • Paste the link into the invitation
  • Send to all participants
It is easy to find the meeting link: When you have created the meeting, rightclick “Click here to join the meeting” and copy.
  • 👍 Keeps your name out of the invitation
  • 👍 Teams meetings are accessible to all who have the link, so no need to worry about lack of access
  • 👍 You will be able to access the meeting as an organizer and be able to make adjustments during the meeting if needed, e.g. if you need a report of attendees or if it is important to make a “hard stop” to the meeting.
  • 👎 Some extra steps of copying and pasting the link

2. Schedule in Outlook from group mailbox

  • Schedule a meeting from Outlook
  • Add a Teams meeting
  • Send to all participants
  • IMPORTANT: Adjust meeting options NOW if needed
  • 👍 Keeps your name out of the invitation
  • 👍 Easy
  • 👎 The group mailbox is the organizer now, and that mailbox has no Teams account. This means that the meeting will have to be done without an organizer, so nobody will be able to adjust the meeting options during the meeting, end the meeting or download the attendee report.

What is best?

There are plenty of meetings where the organizer is not missed. We schedule our training webinars with the second option and that works perfectly well.

For larger or very important meetings you may want to read my post about the importance of the organizer first to see if you think there may be a need to do “organizer things” during the meeting. Perhaps you only need to adjust the meeting options beforehand.

Meeting options – they may need adjusting before the meeting.

I am often asked if you can delegate the organizer role and the answer is NO. In fact, Teams does not do delegation well, as Tony Redmond confirms in his recent useful post.

Have you come across this requirement and how are you dealing with this? Happy to learn new tricks!

Smooth operating

This week I attended an online symposium. As the organizer knew that most of the attending organizations do not like, or have even blocked Zoom, he used regular Teams meetings.
It is always a good event, with interesting speakers and cases, and this year’s edition was no exception. What struck me however was the smoothness of the experience. All presenters had organized their own session (so I entered in all kinds of meeting recipes, from one session where all 80 of us were presenters, to a session where I was a muted attendee) and I just hopped smoothly from one session to the other and apart from the occasional lobby, there was no barrier at all.
All session links were in the chat of the main meeting, and that chat was listed in my Team chats, so I could always easily check what the next session was or chat to the organizer.

Why did this work so well?

  • I have at least two Teams meetings a day at the moment, so I know the tool inside and out.
  • Using my Microsoft365 subscription meant I could do whatever I do at work – the experience was completely the same. In the Participants I could see two descriptors – “Outside your organization” (which means logged-in M365 users) and “Guest” (which means not logged in to M365).

What is a Guest?

A Guest in a Teams meeting is someone without a Microsoft365 account, or who has entered the meeting without logging in. They can attend via the web, mobile or use the app, but they always have limited options.

Meeting organized by my private account, invited myself and Test15 from my work, and two others without an account.

What are the limitations of the Guest role?

1. No notification of people waiting in the lobby

Guests do not get a notification that someone is waiting in the lobby, and they can not allow someone into the meeting, even if they are a presenter. External presenters with a M365 account can do that, even when they are attending the meeting on their phone.

2. Chat only available during the meeting

Guests have the Teams meeting screen, but not the Teams rails (if you are attending via the web app) or other Team windows (if you use the desktop app). Therefore they can only use the chat when they are in the meeting.
External participants with M365 see the meeting Chat in their Teams rails on the left and can keep on chatting.

3. No background effects in the app

Guests have the option in their menu to adjust background, but it shows just an empty frame.
External participants with M365 can adjust their backgrounds as usual.

Mystery Guest (Guest) is a presenter (as the Sharing block is not greyed out and she can ask control over the shared presentation) and she uses the app (as there is an option to change background effect) but the panel shows no pictures or other options.

4. No Focus or Large Gallery/Together Mode

You can see from above screenshot that there are also no options for Focus or the Large Gallery or Together Mode. And yes, the Modern Experience has been applied in the app.
External participants with M365 can use those options, as shown in this screenshot where Test15 is using the same app.

Test15 (with M365) uses the same desktop app as above and has all the modern options. An external presenter with M365 can even create a Poll!

5. No option to manage attendees

Guests can only pin people, but not spotlight or mute them, or change their roles.
External presenters with M365 can do that.

This is Mystery Guest’s screen, and she is a presenter but can only Pin Test15.

6. Limited participant’s info

Guests only see the names of the participants, and who is the organizer.
Presenters with a M365 account can see organizational contact information.

A Guest sees only this when they hover over any participant’s picture or initials
An external with M365 sees this when he hovers over the picture/initials of the organizer
And this is what you see when you hover over picture or initials of a colleague – even more info! (This is my work account – this was an external participant for this experiment)

Roles list updated!

Some time ago I wrote about the differences in roles, and I have updated the list of who can do what from that post. I added extra columns for the Presenter (Guest) and Attendee (Guest) as these have different options from the M365-attendee. Feel free to download and/or use for your own organization!

This is only the top of the list, but you already see some differences

Conclusions:

Do you have a Microsoft365 subscription and you are invited to a Teams meeting? Make sure you log in before joining the meeting!

An external participant who, like you, has a Microsoft365 subscription can do as much as a participant from your own organization, except recording and viewing a recording. This allows for a smooth meeting experience.
A Guest can only do the basics.

When you are organizing or presiding Teams meetings with externals regularly, you will have to take the following variables into account to have an idea about each participant’s meeting experience.

  • Role: Organizer, Presenter or Attendee
  • Means of attending: Desktop app, web or phone
  • M365 account: Yes or Guest?

Be a Smooth Operator 😁

Are you a regular presenter in Teams meetings outside your organization? (E.g. a therapist or a trainer) You may want to consider taking a subscription to Microsoft365 as it will allow you to do SO much more. I have a Business Basic subscription which is only $5.00 per month (ex tax) and you get a lot of other goodies, too!

Title inspired by “Smooth Operator” by Sade.

Some quirks of the F3 license

When people talk or write about Microsoft 365 Outlook, Word or Excel, they generally mean the desktop versions.

However, there are Microsoft365 subscriptions that provide only the web and mobile versions of things. With the ongoing improvements of the web apps these subscriptions are getting better and better.

Most of my therapist colleagues have the Microsoft365 F3 license, which is a good fit for people who mostly work with patients and use dedicated medical software as their main application. F3 has web and mobile apps only.

While the comparison with the Microsoft E3 license (which most secretaries and staff have) clearly display most of the limitations of the F3, (albeit in the small print) there’s a few unmentioned “surprises” so let me list all that we have found so far, while providing support to our F3 collagues.

1. No desktop apps

This is the most obvious limitation. I think Word and Outlook for the web are both pretty good and getting better all the time, but some advanced functions are only available in the desktop apps, e.g. creation of scientific literature citations, or creation of a book index in Word.
An overview of the differences:

2. Storage for Outlook and OneDrive: 2 GB

Yes, it is mentioned quite clearly (also in our own support materials) but we regularly get questions from people who have almost reached the limit. All we can do is provide them with help to clean up their Outlook and OneDrive.

This is also the reason why I was not happy with the recent change to store Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive.

3. You can not upload a video to Stream

Just to be clear: F3 people can consume videos from Stream but not create them. It is mentioned in the comparison. I do not really get this. Are F3 users not expected to share any videos? Not even of training materials or a team get-together? We have a few colleagues who like to do vlogs for their colleagues – no Stream for them. 😢

Fortunately, OneDrive and SharePoint now have good video players so I guess it will not be a big problem, apart from the storage space allocation.
It does make me wonder what Stream is good for, then.

With the E3 and other licenses, there’s an upload option top right. No such thing for the F3.

4. Recorded Teams meetings go nowhere

We made the change from storage in Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint early, because we knew that F3-users can not upload anything to Stream. If an F3 recorded a meeting, they got an error message.
So we thought: “Well, OneDrive may not be optimal, but at least they will be able to store their recording in a good place. So let’s make the change, make them aware and suggest to move any recordings to SharePoint at their earliest convenience.”

The other day I recorded something with my F3 test account, and I was totally surprised to see that the recording did not go anywhere. It is in the meeting chat, with a message that it can be downloaded for 20 days.
The good news is that the recording can be saved. The bad news is that this is not as expected, and that people will need to take action to store it.

You need to download a recorded meeting.

5. You can not create a Live Event

This is not a major issue, as organizing a large online event will generally be done by a few selected roles. An executive secretary, our Convention Bureau, communications etc.
An F3 colleague can produce and present, however, as described in this post.

This has nothing to do with the difference between web or desktop app – everyone in our organization has the Teams desktop app.

6. You do not have the Delve app

This is not mentioned anywhere in the comparison, so this was also a surprise when we found this. It is not too much of a limitation, as you can get there via your Office profile.

7. Agenda sharing issues with E3-colleagues

If an F3 colleague shares his or her agenda with an E3-licensed colleague, e.g. a group secretary, the secretary can only edit the agenda when using the Outlook web app.
This may have to do with the fact that there is no “desktop equivalent” in the F3-agenda. It is annoying though, as our secretaries generally prefer to work with Outlook desktop. We are trying to convince them that the Outlook web app is a joy to use, but so far most of them stick to desktop. 😢

Do you know any more quirks?

I have deliberately not mentioned a number in the title. Please let me know in the comments if you know something else, so we can create a shared resource!

This is a great opportunity to use one of the more than gorgeous letters of Simon Koay’s Superbet. F = Flash!