Read Only or special access on documents in Teams with Linked libraries – a workaround.

Imagine you want your guests in a Teams Group to only read your documents, not edit. Or you want specific permissions for your Team Group Members on your subfolders.

A combination of the default Teams groups library, an extra library (or even an extra Team Group with it’s own site) and the “add cloud storage”-option, make this possible!

The Basics

With “add cloud storage” we can add a subfolder to our Files section in a Team Group Channel linked to another SharePoint library.

This “another library” has its own permission setup which will be honored when opened and shown in the Channel Files section.

We will add the users that are part of the Team Members Group to our other library with direct library permission settings via the SharePoint site.

When opening the linked folder in Teams we will get the full second library with all it’s subfolders(if present).

When a Team member has no permissions at all on a certain item/subfolder, this item/subfolder will not even be visible to that user! Great, right!

The Steps

Step 1 is to decide if want the extra library on our Teams Group Site, use an existing SharePoint library or create a new library (or even a specific site plus library).

Step 2 making sure all your users exist in your tenant. For guest users it makes it easy if they are first invited to your Team Group.

Step 3 is adding the specific Team members including the guests to our chosen library as desired. Check if you want to stop the permission inheritance, so you can add the users solely to the library. Similar for your subfolders. Grant permissions to your needs.

I personally work always with the advanced permissions settings mode, as well on site, library, folder and item level for more

Note: Be careful with adding users to the default SharePoint groups because the groups stay the same in content wherever they are used on that site collection.

More on this and SharePoint permission management logic in my next post, stay tuned.

Step 4 is to use in your original Teams Group channel the “add cloud storage” feature. Take the “from SharePoint” option and find your library via the browse option or provide the url.

The Result

Here we are, we have a folder in our Teams channel acting like other normal subfolders, but with adapted permissions settings on its content.

Pros and Cons


– Dedicated permission management on documents in combination with working within Team Channels.

– working on libraries from other Teams from within your own channels.

– working from within Team Channels on classic SharePoint libraries


– Permission management on multiple locations.

– Permissions setup less transparent.

– At this moment only full libraries can be added as folders.

Other option

You can also add the extra library as TAB to your channel. Now you can show a specific subfolder level by adding the specific url.

Disadvantage is that there is a separate TAB outside the Files panel and you loose the nice integrated listing and organisation.

Hope that this workaround gave you some ideas on solving your dedicated permissions challenge.

Have fun!

Teams Member vs Guest vs External user

A summary to the concept of Team members vs Team Guests vs External users with focus on direct communication and the most important differences.

Microsoft created a wonderful communication app with Teams (imho) but specially in the area on who is who and who can do what there can be a lot of confusion due to the complexity of options and considerations.

With this post I will give a summary to the concept of Team members vs Team Guests vs External users with focus on direct communication and the most important differences. Full overviews are linked in the text and in the links section at the bottom of the post.

A full Teams user

A full Teams user is someone who is part of a licensed Office365 setup or a free Teams account and can:

  • Chat or Call (1:1 or Group) to any other user that is part of the same organisation;
  • Chat or Call 1:1 to any External user, either with full capabilities (both you and the user are on Teams Only mode) or with restricted capabilities (one of you is not on Teams Only mode);
  • Chat or Call (1:1 or Group) with Team Groups Guests registered within your organisation (users from outside your organisation who are added to any Team Group);
  • Setup Meetings and invite other users from the same organisation, External Users and Team Group Guests (Note: Meetings creation is excluded from the free Teams plan);
  • be a Team Group Member and have Channel Conversations and Meetings with the other Team Group Members and Team Group Guests;
  • be a Team Group owner and act as Team Member with extra Group management rights;

An External user

External users are people from outside your organisation from a licensed domain using Skype for Business or Teams and who you contact from within Teams by adding their e-mail address for a 1:1 Chat or Meeting and selecting the option “… search externally” when presented.

External users are marked with a “External”-label behind their e-mail address. This works also the other way around where you will also be marked as External at your external contacts Chat and Contact lists.

Example External Label


  1. External users receive Chats and Activity Notifications in their own organisations Teams panel. (No switch organisation opposite to being a Guest) !!!
  2. You can contact Guest users on their Guest user labelled e-mail address NEXT TO this same user External labelled contact address in case this also exist among your contacts list;
  3. Communication features between External contacts are restricted compared to users within your organisation or Guests.
  4. External access has to be allowed and configured for your and your contacts domain.
  5. Native Chat experience only between external users that are both on Teams Only mode!
  6. External users can share and get a desktop shared but can not get control from a shared desktop from another user.

A Guest

Guests are users from other organisations that are added as members to one or more Team Groups (aka Team Group Guest Members).

The same way you can be a guest in Team Groups belonging to other organisations then your own.

Guest members are basically visiting, in digital person so to say, your online organisation like they would in the physical world by visiting your office and can collaborate as such within your Team Groups they are member of. Therefor Guests need to switch to your organisation within the Teams app and can (with some restrictions, see point 4 below):

  • collaborate in Team Group Channels;
  • contact other users in your organisation via chats and calls;
  • attend meetings
  • NOT create meetings from within the org they are guest of. (Calendar feature is part of your orgs Office and can not be accessed (yet) from within an other org view)


  1. Guest users receive Chats and Activity Notifications in the OTHER organisations Teams panel. SWITCH organisation is needed within Teams to work as Guest !!!
  2. You can contact External users on their external user labelled e-mail address NEXT TO this same user Guest labelled contact address in case this also exist when this user is also any Team Group Guest;
  3. Guest members have some restrictions compared to full Team members;
  4. Some settings for Guest users can be managed per Team by Team owners and some org-wide settings can be managed by org-admins;
  5. As a Guest user you can leave an organization on your own free will (account need to be enabled on both the home and the guest tenant) but an organizations admin has to fully remove your profile from the specific guest tenant.

Further reading on the full explanation and info provided by Microsoft:

For All Team Users

For Admins

I hope this post made your journey on communicating and possible home work with #MicrosoftTeams during this time of Corona easier and more productive.

Feel free to contact me or leave any comment if you have remarks or suggestions.

Stay safe and see you online!


The new Edge Chromium Stable release has arrived!

Microsoft launched finally the first Stable Release of Edge Chromium.

For home and private use: download the new Edge Stable Release here.

For enterprises: download your desired Edge Release here.

As I pointed out in my previous post Microsoft Edge Chromium, this is the next step in optimal Office 365 online work.

For more information on the roll out and the download options, see the recent Microsoft Blog Post Upgrading to the new Microsoft Edge.

2020-01-29 17_55_14-Download New Microsoft Edge Browser _ Microsoft

(above, screenshot from the download page)


Happy Office 365 Browsing!

Microsoft Edge Chromium

Microsoft Edge Chromium based, the future for Office 365 and Enterprise surfing.

The new upcoming Edge (very soon as here and there reported), fully reworked and based on the Chromium platform, is the best combined of Edge and Chrome with Internet Explorer integration perfect for browsing the web, working on Office 365 and searching your cloud enterprise data via Bing Search integration for Office 365.

Check out the beta release via the Beta channel:

Edge Beta is now also ready for Enterprises. Admins should really check out:

A great feature in the new Edge is profiles, like in Chrome, that allow you to setup a collection of personas to quickly switch between different Microsoft Accounts. Very handy for Office 365 administration and Microsoft Teams, to give some examples.

The new Edge logo:



See also this great blogpost on the setup and usage of Edge Beta including examples on the usage of the profiles feature.

Happy Surfing on the Edge!

Understand Documents in Public Teams are really public!

There we are again after a serious blogging break. It has been a crazy period with so much nice new Office 365 developments and it is really time to start sharing a situation I encountered with you.

We have to realize that public Teams are really public even for non-members!

Following up on the very nice Storyals concept of explaining a Microsoft Team as a house with rooms, I would love you to understand that a PUBLIC TEAM is like a PUBLIC MEETING PLACE in the village. Everyone in your community HAS FREE ACCESS to the DOCUMENTS in this place and the CONTENT IS EVEN ADVERTISED within the community. And you even do not need to be known to visit here.

Let’s go back to Office 365 terms.

  • A user does not need to be an effective member of a Public Team to see the documents shared in this Team
  • Public Team Documents show up in applications like Delve and other locations where Office 365 Graphs engine loves to show you suggestions and “this might also be of interest to you”-documents.

To understand this further we have to look a the fundamentals of the file location of a Team and what happens when a Team is set to be public.

Files in Teams are stored in two locations:

  • Files shared in private chat are placed in a subfolder within OneDrive of each of the chat participants
  • Files shared via Team Channels, and found via the Files Tab, are stored in the default document library, under a subfolder for each channel, on the SharePoint Group site collection where the Office Group and the Team are relying on.

So looking at the SharePoint Document Library permissions this is what we see:


The Site Members group has, next to the “Ruled by Teams membership”-Team Members group, ALSO “Everyone except external users” added!

Meaning that whenever someone within the organization gets a link to a document, from Delve, suggestions feed or via other means, this user can access, READ AND EDIT, the document without even opening Teams or even having the corresponding Team added within Teams (and being a registered Team-member).

This all is not an issue in case you are aware of this and you make a clear choice to create or set a Team as Public.

My recommendation is to start always with Private Teams and ONLY go into PUBLIC mode if the data is really FOR ALL EYES TO SEE.

Inform your users about this and make them well aware of making the right choice to avoid data leakage and embarrassing situations.

Teams are great, just know what you are doing!

Read more on Microsoft’s instruction page: Default SharePoint groups, section on “everyone except external Users”

Be informed 🙂

Fun, fun and fun with Office 365

I recently came across a great video called “The Importance of Fun in the Workplace”, by Holly Cummins, and was totally pleased (I had fun) to realize this is what we need as a statement also for working with Office 365!

We need to have fun to work with tools in the cloud!

The idea of allowing yourself, your team and your organization does not stop with enjoying the company around you and the time at the coffee corner. As nicely pointed out in Holly her talk, having fun is also about what tools you use and how.

So what is important is that we allow ourselves and the people we interact with to experience working with Office 365 as a fun adventure.

My idea how to support yourself on having more fun…

Find out “what’s in it for me“.

I can not say this enough.

Do see a new application or the complete platform as an opportunity and find out what needs you have that can be improved with using some of the available apps and features. Be happy with these improvements, even if they are small and notice how this improves your daily work.

And if it does not, look for better apps and features. Let go of the idea “I always have been doing it like this, so I should keep doing it in this way”, especially when you are switching from file management on a file server and your local device to working with files in the cloud and on a local synced OneDrive. Embrace the freedom of auto-discovery and search with Delve, your SharePoint personal dashboard, the News features and the Search option where ever you are!

Microsoft Graph is doing a great job presenting you your work on a lot of locations.

Also the recent section in your desktop apps and the ability to pin your important files. Build your favorites dashboard in Delve (documents) or the SharePoint app (Sites).

So allow yourself the time to discover and look around and feel free to use what you need.

Start step by step.

There is no need to start working with all the apps and features at once. As is pointed out on several other blogs already, Office 365 is like a Swiss army knife. A lot of features to solve a lot of problems.

Focus first on where can you gain most out of using new tools.

Get some etiquette- aka rules of the game

Having a lot of apps and features can also mean the things get chaotic. So instead of panicking, we best start deploying some rules of the game on how we work best within our organization with certain apps.

A great example is a recently released post “Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams” by Matt Wade (AtBot / AvePoint). These etiquette rules of engagement will make working with Teams much more fun because they will avoid irritation moments by aligning everyone’s interaction where anyone gets what is expected.

Matt’s etiquette for Teams I would surely recommend as a starting point and template for other applications too. Adapt to your business needs if required for your fun!

Adapt, do not get desperate

If things are not going as you like, open your mouth and talk about it. Ask around for solutions and changes. Look around within Office 365 for better apps/solutions for your situation. The time you will invest will pay itself back by all the productivity improvements you encounter after your change.

Getting back your fun will improve your life and directly reflect the quality of your work in a positive way.

Be honest with yourself

A great friend, also a consultant, told me that he will only accept a job if he believes he will have fun doing it. And when it turns out the fun, for whatever reason, is being blocked by external factors, he steps out of the game.

Not everyone might be in the position to directly do it this way, anyhow we should strive to make our daily work, including working with Office 365 and all or some of it’s wonderful apps, a joyful – aka FUN – experience

Migration and Training

See for instance my posts Is it difficult to keep up with Office 365 continuous changes? , How to train internal users on Microsoft Teams and make them love it and Migration to Office365, to mention a few, and realize this is where the fun begins!

Fun should be part of the process and users should experience fun from the very beginning!


Have fun!


Is it difficult to keep up with Office 365 continuous changes?

In my opinion it depends a few factors and it does not need to be difficult:

  • Your mindsets towards modern apps and cloud based working
  • Your willingness to do short periodically checkups
  • Allow users to have me time to get updated and do knowledge update

I would like today to pickup on some blogposts going around noting that Microsoft is releasing new features and apps in a high tempo creating a conflict for consultants, users, managers and admins to keep up.

So yes, this is confusing if you did not adapt your mindset, whatever role you have.

Working with Office 365 / SharePoint in the cloud is not different than working with a smartphone. Apps come and go, while updates popup like mushrooms on a sunny day after a good rain. And we decide Everytime what we like and use.

In both cases you have the choice which apps to use and which not. Realize that looking at Word or Excel, a lot of users use only a small percentage of the features, bells and whistles these programs have been offering since the beginning while others found themselves more features that enhance their productivity and use them to a greater extend. Office 365 works the same way. Only on a bit bigger scale.

Start seeing Office 365 as a whole, and find the apps that are useful for you and ignore the rest or wait till you are ready for them based on your needs.

Keep yourself informed on a weekly basis is the key here. You do not need to spend hours on this, just check what’s coming soon and is new and think about if this can improve your work of the of others

And then give it a try!

Office 365 is focussed more and more on self management. Users, managers and admins can all independently determine what works and what does not. So users should also get the chance to have personal time to update their knowledge and skills.

Try to be less rigid as an organisation and use best practice pilot initiatives to support further adoption. As I said, see Office 365 as a complete platform and as with Word itself, some users use this and some use that.

As admins we have to make the full organisations understand this are not rigid programs anymore with a single working method. This are platform solutions with freedom of work.

This does not take away the idea to streamline the general setup across an organisation and as admins we can still manage a lot of central setting. But do not block to easily everything new. Instead find early adopters and make them part of the target release program.

So check the admin portal at least once a week and find yourself those early adopters for early feedback.

Encourage users to search for work improvements what will benefit all.

For consultants to say, hold back on making manuals and PowerPoint presentations!

Keep the info focussed on the ideas and logic behind Office 365 and use more live demo examples to show what it is about. You indeed do not want to spend half your time updating your screenshots and adapting your text.

Hopes this helps any of you finding your way in going along with the updates flows of this modern times.

How to train internal users on Microsoft Teams and make them love it

A question popped up in the Microsoft Teams user group recently around how to run an internal Microsoft Teams Workshop and also what to cover. Here’s a longer version of what I answered.


For all workshop setups,

  • I create a dedicated Training Team and add all participants beforehand.
  • I also send around the link to the Teams app and ask the participants to install the desktop app beforehand.
  • Next to that I hint that they can also install the smartphone app if they want too.
  • The manager gets the topics list of what will be covered (see the topics list below).

How to run the Workshop

So far I have run the workshops in 3 different setups:

  1. One on One remote training via a Teams private meeting with video call and screen sharing from my side
  2. Remote group training via Teams group meeting with video call and screen sharing from my side – this works well for a small group up to 5 people
  3. Remote group training via Webex conferencing meeting and screensharing with 1 pc beaming the session on a big screen at the receiving side, audio call in with Polycom table conferencing module and everyone individually with their own laptop/pc with the Teams app open. This is the better option for a group of 5 – 10 people with a training/meeting room available.

For option 1 and 2 the training meeting is setup in Teams, for option 3 the invitation is created via Webex (this could be any other conferencing tool that suits the needs of the participants situation / conferencing room).

Workshop Style

The Basic workshop scenario is that I go in a relaxed playing style with the users through the list of topics listed in the next section.

During the complete workshop I ask for help to do actions going randomly through the participants but trying to involve everyone equally and sometimes invite all to repeat the action I just showed.

For me it is crucial that you include enough time to allow the users during the workshop to interact and try the features for themselves and see what’s happening. This high level of interaction is (in my experience) the way the users have much more fun in the training and remember much more, which has the added benefit of boosting the adoption.

When users start playing around with emoji and gyphy or post other funny comments, integrate this ad-hoc into your story. Use it and manouver the story back on track.

Also use compliments when someone takes initiative out of the context and get everyone back on track. Encourage people to explore the options and click wherever they find the 3 dots “…”, that’s where more options and features are to be found.

Here’s what topics to cover during the Workshop

  • Position Teams within Office 365 => combined functionality into a digital war room with persistent chat and a lot of extra’s
  • Group chat layers: a Team > a Channel > a Conversation > a Reply
  • Team and Channel creation – show where
  • Group Chat example – demo + let everyone try
  • Focus New Conversation vs Reply – demo + let everyone try
  • @ mention option – demo + let everyone try
  • Activity usage – demo + let everyone try
    • Filter option – demo + let everyone try
    • set as unread option – demo + let everyone try
    • notifications functionality – show and explain
      • by closing program and have the users do actions and then reopen
      • by going to another team and have the users do actions in the demo team/channel
  • Like button – demo + let everyone try
    • use like instead of all the small replies like “ok” or “nice” etc.. > keep it clean / idea of some house rules for best practice – explain
  • To be the point and leave all the formalities/drama away (no: Hi Martin Hamers, may I ask you something …) > keep it clean – explain
  • Bookmark items – demo + let everyone try
  • Advanced edit screen – demo + let everyone try
    • Subject
    • Important
    • layouting
  • mention other options
    • when users start fooling around with giphy, emoji and stickers I include this/remark to this in a funny way and (try to) move on with the workshop
  • Send email to Teams demo – demo + let everyone try
  • Copy / Paste / Attachments – demo + let everyone try
  • Files in channel – demo + let everyone try
    • show also auto created email subfolder
  • Open in SharePoint, folder per channel setup – demo
  • Copy / move files around – demo + let everyone try
  • Save attachment file from Outlook to Team group and move to channel folder – demo
  • Tabs – demo + let everyone try
  • Get links to team, channel, tabs – demo + let everyone try
  • Search – demo + let everyone try
  • Meetings – demo
    • Invite individuals – no channel – demo
    • Meeting with channel selection (everyone gets an invite) – demo
  • Show Files option left menu – demo
  • Show Planner integration in TAB – demo
  • Explain where news, tips and tricks can be found, as well within the own organisation as well on the web.

That is it very roughly.

Depending on the articipants and timing there can be room for bots and connectors and setup for owners.


After the training:

  • the training TEAM stays so the participants can look back there and continue testing
  • the training is reviewed with the manager
  • I propose the manager to start using Teams with a pilot real life use case based on what is seen and learned that workshop. This is often a review with the complete participants team and they suggest themselves a proper use case.
  • first review of the pilot use case after a month.
  • based on the outcome of the pilot a demo / announcement on the success story to the larger organisation or a new use case.


Note: My article was first posted as a blog post on the Collab365 community portal earlier today


A starting point on where to place your documents in Office 365

With all the options of Apps in Office 365 it can be very confusing to decide what document to store where exactly. There is no strict rule on this, exactly because Office 365 is designed to be used as fits you best.

CloudFolderTo make your life as a user or administrator more easy you could start with the following concept and build onwards/adjust from there.

       OneDriveFull       |        TeamsFull       |        SharePointFull       |        YammerFull

I did not visually work it out (yet) but as a starting point I use the following “ruling”:


  • Personal documents with incidental sharing (HINT: point the Windows My Documents to the local OneDrive sync folders location)


  • Team collaboration “work in progress”/draft documents (The digital war room principle)

SharePoint Team sites

  • Document archive and publishing to a larger team/ department/group of people (SharePoint Team site)
  • “Public” documents (Intranet site) / News page related (published) documents
  • Documents with a minimal archiving period
  • Documents with specific version management
  • Documents with publishing approval

Yammer (in case Yammer is actively used as an inter company social platform)

  • Documents with social info / nonwork related data – not important who does or does not read or can access the document – no retention requirements

This is only a guide so you can start working with documents within some kind of boundary concept with the benefit of “all faces in the same direction” group work.

Review this working method/policy within your group and adapt based on your experience and needs.


Have filing fun!

Is there a future for Yammer?

I like to share my thoughts today with you following up on a Collaboris Post with the title “Will Microsoft Teams replace Yammer?“.


I believe that with the rise of Microsoft Teams, Yammer will have a hard time to keep alive due to the social alternatives out there like the Facebooks and WeChats of this world.

Yammer had two usages before Teams was there: Social Platform and Team collaboration. The last aspect is now being replaced by Teams leaving only the social platform to be taken seriously.

In my experience, people like to keep work and private life separated on the app level. I see a lot of social interaction from global company users outside Office 365, with Facebook, WeChat and WhatsApp for example.

And if we consider the outer circle aspect in an organization then the modern communication/news and hub pages are taking over a lot of the global communication functionality.

In case you want as an organization to have your own social platform like Yammer where your employees interact on social bases you need to find an incentive that offers more than the other players already do.

Still, the challenge for me will be more when to use Yammer and not modern communication/news pages.

Yammer as an app is lacking a lot of features I think. It balances at the moment too much in between Teams (the real Team collaboration app) and a social platform.

Only if Microsoft really uplifts Yammer with a modern experience and functionality like its competitors it has a real chance.

The other reason Yammer might survive for the moment could be that big organizations do not like to switch their complete Yammer setup to Teams and will keep using Yammer as Team collaboration tool. I do not think this will last long though, thanks to the speedy development of Teams and all its beautiful options.

Let’s keep collaborating 🙂