Quick Teams Tip: syncing files offline

When working within Microsoft Teams it brings with it a Document Library and while within the Teams interface it looks self-contained, the library actually lives within Office 365 Groups.

If you post a file into the Teams conversation window that file is in fact uploaded to the library within the Group:

The only bugbear I have with this experience is that unlike a document library there is no way to easily sync this to your local computer using OneDrive for Business.

This can be annoying because if you are offline the Teams application give the error message of “It looks like somebody unplugged the Internet” and does not give you the ability to browse the files.

Synchronising the files from your Team is identical to synchronising your own OneDrive for Business or other SharePoint-based library which means at this point you need to do it from the browser interface – just not the Teams web interface.

Simply browse to the Office 365 Group that is connected to your Team (either via OWA, Planner, or however else you can get to it) and navigate to Files. From there you will see a the library like any other SharePoint or Group library. Hit the Sync button:

Lo and behold your files will now synchronise locally and can be accessed through File Explorer:

Any edits you make to these files will now show up in the Teams interface, and if anyone clicks on the file in the threaded conversation it will open the latest version.

Initial quirks with Microsoft Teams

In my first day with Microsoft Teams I’ve found a few quirks that I thought were important to share.

Skype for Business integration

Integration between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business is only available in Office 365. So if you are using Skype for Business Server – no integration for you. Come back, one year! (No, probably not that long. Seinfeld joke.)

Integration with Office 365 Groups

This can only be done at the time of Team creation – you cannot link to an existing Office 365 Group after the Team has been created.

Select your team, and away you go:

Accessing files from Office 365 Groups

You would think that Files would show the files that are stored inside the now-linked Office 365 Group, but no.

Because Groups and SharePoint Team Sites are now integrated you need to add a SharePoint site:

From there you can then select the Document Library within the Team Site, and the files will now show up under the SharePoint tab:

Can’t find existing Plans

This is the bit that frustrates me the most, and hopefully will be addressed before Microsoft Teams goes to General Availability (remember, it’s currently in Public Preview) – even if the Team is connected to a Group, it doesn’t seem to find the associated plan from Planner. Instead you are prompted to create a new plan:

More quirks as I find them. Hopefully some of these get ironed out. If you’re experiencing something different (with the Planner integration specifically) please let me know in the comments.