Teams quick tip: start a chat as a guest

Recently in conversation with fellow MVP Steven Collier, we had differing views on how chats can be initiated by guests based on our experiences. As it wasn’t clearly documented I sought clarification from the Teams team.

When a guest joins a team, they become a member of the Azure Active Directory and gain visibility of the directory to a certain extent.

How this plays out is that a guest can initiate a chat with any another person in the tenant, in a couple of different scenarios:

Name-based discovery only works for people who exist in the same teams as you

What this means is that if I am in a team with John Doe, I can start a chat with John simply by typing his name.

Similarly if another guest called Jane Smith (Guest) is in the team with me, I can also initiate a chat with Jane by typing her name.

However, if Damien Margaritis is not in a team with me – I cannot initiate a chat with him by typing his name:

Which leads us to….

Chatting with people outside of your teams

Similar to how federation works in Skype for Business; you can initiate a chat with someone in the tenant if you know their email address.

So in the previous example where I was not able to find Damien Margaritis by name, I can however find him by his email address of damien@morsmutual.com.

And now you know!

Teams quick tip: the case of the missing Teams meeting add-in

A few months ago, the ability to schedule a meeting in Teams directly was made available in Outlook, and it’s been a wonderful thing.

What you see in the calendar view in Outlook is options for both Skype Meeting and Teams meeting, as well as in the New menu dropdown when in the inbox view:

I had a short moment of panic when I could no longer see the ability to schedule a Teams meeting, as it had disappeared from Outlook:

I compared my desktop against my Surface Pro and found that they had slight variations in build numbers for both Outlook and Teams so I thought that perhaps a bug had been introduced in a newer build on my desktop. I started checking for missing add-in DLLs, registry keys, scouring the web for blog posts, etc.

Then, Office on my Surface went through some updates and Outlook restarted, and presto: the Teams button was missing too!

Long story short, by process of elimination I found that:

  • If Teams is signed in to your home tenant/account when Outlook opens: the Teams Meeting option is there
  • If Teams sign signed into an external tenant/account when Outlook opens: the Teams Meeting option is not there

I suspect for the average user while Teams is somewhat still new in many organisations this is not an issue as users will reside in their home tenant/account.

However in the scenario where a user is in an external network, shuts down their computer at the end of the day, and comes back in the next day: Teams will join back into the last tenant/account is was connected to, and therefore Outlook won’t show the Teams Meeting add-in. To get this functionality back the user will need to switch back to their home tenant/account, restart Outlook, and then the button will be back.

That being said, hopefully as more people move to using Teams as their primary communication and collaboration tool this will be less of an issue as users will schedule meetings directly from the Teams interface (connected of course to their home tenant/account).