Enable Microsoft Whiteboard for Teams

Whiteboard in Teams is powered by Whiteboard for the web and this is a very useful feature for collaborating in group meetings. A shared canvas space allows meeting participants to collaborate. In Office 365, Whiteboard feature is enabled by default unless you disabled it manually (mostly customers disable it due to data residency concerns).

Microsoft Note: The ability to start a new whiteboard is currently limited to the Microsoft Teams clients on Windows 10, macOS, and for the web. The Teams apps for iOS and Android cannot initiate sharing a whiteboard, but they can collaborate once a whiteboard is shared.

Now let’s get this configured. Login to Office 365 Admin center using admin credentials and type ‘Whiteboard’ in the global search field. You will get the Whiteboard global settings option in a search result dropdown.

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Check the ‘Turn on’’ tick box to enable it globally in your Tenancy. Diagnostic data collection by Microsoft is disclosed via three options here.

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Connected experiences and sharing from Surface Hub are two optional settings depending on the organizational requirements. Finally hit ‘Save’ to complete it.

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Now the global setting is enabled, we need to ensure the Whiteboard capability is also enabled in the Meeting policies. If you have multiple policies, make sure this is enabled for all of them to affect it to the desired target audiences.

From the Teams admin center, navigate to Meetings –> Meeting policies

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Then click on the desired policy (in my case, the ‘Default’ as it affects to all users)

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Toggle the ‘Allow Whiteboard’ switch to ‘On’ state to enable it and hit ‘Save’

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Notes: This might take a couple of ours to reflect to all users (in my case it took 7+ hours).

Testing the feature.

  1. Now to try this out, you can create a test meeting with another user and ensure the Whiteboard is appearing once ‘Share’ option is clicked.

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  1. Also, if you login to office.com, you should be able to see the ‘Whiteboard’ App under the Apps list.

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Troubleshooting:

If you still don’t see the feature in Teams meetings, try to toggle ‘Off’ the Whiteboard feature from Teams meeting policy. Then turn in it on again and try it in a couple of hours.

Step by Step: fetching Microsoft Teams conversation history (chat history)

Scenario A: Targeting an specific Team

An uncommon but definitely one of those once in a while query from the HR or compliance/security leadership you will get is “Can we search for Microsoft Teams chat” in Office 365.

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The answer depends on the type of content/period that you need. Here are some of the use cases I worked on (probably not the exact case as yours but you might get some clarity here about where to look for)

Teams stores an individual’s chat history in a hidden file in the users mailbox which is not accessible via OWA or Outlook. Users or Administrators cannot access these hidden files. Skype for Business used to archive these in the users mailbox which they could delete but we didn’t worry about that because our email archive still had a record of those IMs.

You can see in the following screenshot that I have tried to add the Internal IT channel mailbox in to the Outlook and obviously “Conversation History” is empty because it’s a hidden folder. So, with that in mind, we will have to dig in through a different way.

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Scenario A: How to retrieve the conversation history of a particular Team/Channel?

First lets connect to Exchange online PowerShell to put up a foundation in to what we are looking for.

Connect-EXOPSSession

Login as a Global Admin

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All the chat history from Microsoft Teams is saved into a mailbox with the name of the Team. So I’m looking for a mailbox called “Internal IT”. Easiest way is to fire up trusty PowerShell and run:

Let’s run this line to retrieve all the group mailboxes we have in this tenant.

get-mailbox -groupmailbox

I see all the shared mailboxes in my tenant. As you can see I find one called “Internal IT” as shown below.

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Now this is the Channel I am interested in (Internal IT). This simply means that each channel has a dedicated database which brings the initial satisfaction ! We could surely get something out now.

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With that in mind, we now know what is the address of the Team channel I need to look in to. And, here comes the e-Discovery content search for the rescue. Yes we can fetch the Teams chat history from there !

Head on to Compliance Admin blade from office 365 Admin center

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Go to “e-Discovery”

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Start by creating a new case here. Hit “+ Create a case” to begin

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Give it a simple name and a description and save

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Click on the blue “Open” button to get inside the case

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It brings you to the search interface

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From Searches, add the following search parameters.

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You can customize your query to suite your needs and I have done it as below. Feel free to click that little “X” to close each parameter and add another to match your target result.

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Use the “Add Conditions” button to refine your search criteria

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I am not going to search based on a keyword so it’s going to be the participants parameter and the value is my target Team (Project Delivery)

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From the locations, choose the following and unselect everything else.

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You can further customize your search query to get a more refined search result but it’s totally up to you. My target is to get the entire chat history of “Project Delivery Team” Team chat.

Finally hit the search button and give it a few seconds/minutes (based on the content size of the tenant).

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And, here we are ! It now shows me all the IM’s under this Team.

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You can export the result in two ways, a report or the result

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Also, it allows you to choose what you want to export.

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Once done, click on the relevant export batch and download it.

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When you download, there’ll be a small tool to obtain the batch. Make sure you are on the Microsoft Edge browser for this final task.

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Warning: You must use Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer to download search results or reports. Please switch to one of these browsers to download the content.

The following error means you are not using Microsoft Edge for this task. Just switch your browser and you should be good to go !

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A temporary alternative for message forwarding in Teams: Share to Outlook

Microsoft Teams currently doesn’t have the Forward chat option which sometimes makes it a little harder when you have to share a chat with someone else in the organization. There are valid use cases where we need to refer to a particular conversation in Teams and forward chat option would definitely be a handy add-in there. However, the new feature called “Share to Outlook” can also be used as a temporary alternative in such scenarios (not in all cases obviously).

In Teams, you now can forward a message embedded to an email. Let’s say i want to forward the following message to few people in my organization.

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To do this, I can simply hover to your desired conversation and click on the three dots.

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And, click on “Share to Outlook” option from the dropdown list.

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The send email flyout will pop up. Simply add the recipients and customize the subject or body as required and send it out.

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This may not be a replacement for message forwarding but at least an temporary alternative for situations where you need it the most.

Allow Microsoft Teams owners to delete chats in channels

This sounds like it comes under moderation feature of Teams, but it’s not. If you are trying to configure Teams owners to allow deleting chats sent by other members, you are on the right place. Microsoft Teams has moderation features but this doesn’t falls under that setting.

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To configure moderation for Teams, you can refer to my previous article which will walk you through the moderation configuration.

Let’s have a look at this scenario. As you can see below, Neil is a member of the “Project Delivery” team and he sent a few messages in the Linda Scope channel. Let’s think about a situation where some users post inappropriately in a channel and the Team owner would like to take it out immediately (when there is no moderation enabled). At this point, its fair that an owner might need the control to manage this.

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By default, owners won’t be able to delete these messages from the channel. As the following screenshot elaborates, Manoj is the Team owner and he has no ability to delete the message.

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Here are the owners of this channel (obviously, Manoj is an owner here)

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To empower owners of this Team with delete permission, we can simply turn it on from the Message Policy. Login to Office 365 an administrator and head on to “Teams Admin Centre”

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Navigate to “Messaging Policies”

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By default, there is only one Messaging Policy which is “Global ORG Wide” policy. You can use this policy if you want every Teams owner should be granted (applies to all existing and upcoming Teams) with this privilege.

Note: If you are editing the Default Global policy, it might take a few hours to apply the changes (right now, 24-48 hours)

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Just leave it as it is and create a new custom policy if you are looking to grant this for certain owners only.

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Give it a meaningful name and a small description to recognize. And ensure the first switch (Owners can delete sent messages) is turned “ON

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Once done, you should be able to see both policies listed down.

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Now let’s navigate to “Users” blade and click on the target administrator who you want to grant this privilege and navigate to policies in that profile (remember, you need to repeat this for every owner individually)

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Click on the “Edit” link on the right pane and assign the custom policy under ” Messaging Policy” dropdown as shown below.

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Give it a few minutes and check the same scenario. Log in as a member and try to post a new message then try to delete that by logging from Owners account (for testing, it is ideal to have two browser profiles and both users logged in side by side so you could monitor the behavior in real time).

As you can see from the following screen shot, Manoj can now delete this Neil’s message as an owner. Which means, the policy has applied to Manoj Successfully.

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And if I needed, I still could Undo it so the message will restore

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If you are editing the Default Global policy, it might take a few hours to apply the changes (right now, 24-48 hours)

Silence when Microsoft Teams queue call put on hold

Recently I noticed at one of our major client’s Teams Voice setup that on hold music never played for queues when agents put callers on hold, instead it goes silent which makes callers wondering what’s going on with the call.

This is a vital feature specially for a call queue as it gives clarity for callers to understand the status of the call. Agents mostly put callers on hold to get things done offline to meet callers requirements so the music of course make the caller relaxed while agent helping them out behind the scene.

First thing I had to check is, if the feature is enabled from the Teams Admin Centre –> Call Queues –> Choose the affected queue –> Of course it has

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However, it seemed the file hasn’t recognized by Teams or probably the file is faulty which could have caused the silence during hold.  Till I locate the original file, I added a temporary classic music clip to verify if that picks by Teams. And it did ! Hold music played like charm when the agent put me on hold.

Microsoft Teams getting more features in early 2020 (cool stuff to be rolled-out)

Microsoft Teams has recently hit 20M users and now undoubtedly one of the highest used productivity apps in the market. Not only the enterprises but also government and education sectors rapidly adopting Teams for their daily communication and collaboration needs as this simple handy tool is very effective and efficient.

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Teams get even better this year with more new features planned to be rolled out. Let’s have a sneak peak at the highlighting ones.

1. Multi Window

A fantastic new feature which allows you to be more efficient specially during those meetings where you struggle to switch across. Multi-window experience is something critical for productivity apps such as Teams and its now scheduled to roll-out in early this year. Definitely the most awaited one for me personally as a heavy Teams user (in fact I never close Teams interface)

2. Private Channels

All teams are split up into channels, private channels allow you to have a private space within your team only visible to the people you gave permission to.

3. Message extensions

Another great addition to Teams. You can now easily start polls and surveys from the chat window and meetings, so you can have real-time feedback and answers from the audience just within Teams.

4. Pinned channels

With Pinned channels, you can pin your most-used or favorite channels and easily find them in the top left corner of the Teams interface.

5. Share to Teams – Outlook Integration

A Share to Teams button is now available on Outlook, you can also reply to Team conversations within Outlook.

6. Whiteboard Integrated

During a Teams meeting, with this new feature, you can open the Whiteboard and take notes as well as inviting people to the board after the meeting which would be a great addition for Teams rather than using other tools.

7. Live Captions

As participants are speaking in Teams meetings, their words will be captured in real time and appear underneath, so people can easily follow along by reading in a particular language.

8. Tasks Integrated

One of those many integrations coming in early 2020, Tasks will now be right within your Teams interface. You can access your Microsoft To Do, Outlook and Planner tasks all in one window from Teams and you can also choose the view that works for you among boards, lists, charts, and schedules.

Identifying the creator of an Microsoft Team (Who created this Team)

This really sounds like its available out of the box right there in the group’s metadata column, apparently its not. You can see who the current admin is, but not the original creator (although usually that is probably the same). In PowerShell there is a property for “Created On” but no “Created By“.

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In my case, I had to find out the creator of a specific Microsoft Team but Teams didn’t have the metadata of the Creator so the only way to find out seemed by tracing the Office 365 Audit Logs.

Office 365 Audit Logs can get you plenty of information which you can’t observe directly from the workload UI or PowerShell.

First and foremost, in order to extract the logging details, Audit Log capability must be running in your tenant.

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Use this command via PowerShell to enable it if you haven’t. And, after enabling you must wait for a while to allow the logs analytics component to record the logs (won’t be available immediately)

Connect-ExchangeOnline
Set-AdminAuditLogConfig -UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled $true

Detailed information of enabling/disabling Auditing in Office 365 is right here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/turn-audit-log-search-on-or-off?view=o365-worldwide

Searching for activities (Teams Creation in this case)

Head on to protection.office.com and navigate Search –> Audit Log Search

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Created Team” log activity is available under Microsoft Teams category in the Audit Log. You can simply type “Teams” to get the category and choose the event type underneath it.

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Define the time period, select the activity type and search –> And there is it ! I now have the details I was looking for.

Team0This simply allow us to see the creation details of any Team within this tenant.

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Moving Microsoft Teams Data Location

If you are a existing Office 365 customer who have been waiting Microsoft to allow you to move your Teams data location, It’s now time to do it.

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Office 365 now allows you to decide where your Teams data residency should be. We have noticed that most of our clients got their Data residency set to Australia as the data region.

Microsoft now offer existing O365 customers listed in the following table an option to request early migration of organization’s core customer data at rest to their new datacenter geo.

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Changing the geo location is completely taken care by Microsoft behind the scene. You as a customer, only have to opt-in to allow Microsoft to do this in the backend (despite your request, this will anyway happen eventually) and the change is seamless with no user interaction, interruption.

To see your current data location for each workload, go to Office 365 Admin center –> Settings –> Settings –> Organization Profile

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Navigate to Data Location to see where your data currently resides

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Switch to Data Residency and “check the tick box” below to opt-in. You will not see this option if:

  • Your tenant is not eligible for the Office 365 Move Program. Eligibility is determined by tenant signup country.
  • All of your core customer data at rest is already located in the new geo (see Data Location section of the page).

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And wait for a few months as advised in the notification. Microsoft will notify you stage-wise in the Office 365 Message center when the activity is being actioned or completed.

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Note: The information on this page only applies to customers who had existing Office 365 tenants before the new datacenters in their geo launched.

More details are here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Office365/Enterprise/request-your-data-move

Allow Teams owners to delete sent messages in Microsoft Teams

Part of a moderation feature enablement request, one of my clients was very keen to have deletion option for Microsoft Teams channel owners. This is a fair request as some channels would require control on end-user actions, specially in EDU sector scenarios.

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Even though this sounds like moderation feature, deletion of sent messages is a separate feature which is beyond the moderation options in Teams. If you are looking to enable moderation in Teams, have a quick look at my post here on how to that – Configuring Channel Moderation for Microsoft Teams

Enable the functionality (Globally enabled, No Team/channel level option unless you create a custom policy for group-wise rollout)

Login to your Office 365 tenant as an administrator and navigate to Teams Admin center

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From Teams Admin center, navigate to Messaging Policies

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Click on the default messaging policy (Global-wide). This change affects globally across the entire tenant. However, you can switch it OFF again whenever you think it is inappropriate.

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And, simply switch ON the “Owners can delete sent messages” option there.

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Owners should now be able to delete the sent messages by users which may be inappropriate as per organization/policy guidelines.

Configuring Channel Moderation for Microsoft Teams Channels

Microsoft Teams now allows you to have control over some end user actions for desired Channels. This post is based on my client’s scenario where he needed it to be enabled for some of the channels (obviously not all).

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Teams Channel moderation is configurable channel wise, you do not have to be an Administrator to get this done (A channel owner can configure this). Providing the ability to define who can create new posts, control weather team members can reply to existing channel messages and weather bots and connectors can submit channel messages are the main ideas behind this feature.

Once enabled, channel moderators are capable of the followings:

  • Start new posts in the channel. When moderation is turned on for a channel, only moderators can start new posts in that channel.
  • Add and remove team members as moderators to a channel. Keep in mind that by default, team owners are channel moderators and can’t be removed.
  • Control whether team members can reply to existing channel messages and whether bots and connectors can submit channel messages.

Configuring Channel Moderation

This is enabled channel wise. Go to any desired channel and click on that 3 dots (options) and Manage Channel

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Moderation is OFF by default, which means any user can start a post in this channel

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Use the dropdown to switch it ON

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Now the permissions, you can define the moderators here. Currently as you can see, Team owners inherit the moderation. Click on Manage button to customize this.

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Add the new moderators here. Could be groups or individual. I would recommend groups so that you can add or remove people easily and it makes maintenance agile.

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Take a Note:

  • Moderation feature slightly differs in General Channel
  • Moderator Capability is Not Audited in Office 365

General Channel:

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And now in the other channel setting –> Permissions, I can see the option to turn on moderation with multiple permission levels configurable.

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We can also target the audience directly within the message. Tap the rich text button and use the drop down list to set what you want.

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Choosing the first option allows anyone to respond to this post in this channel.

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If I choose the second option, only moderators can respond to this message. This is a very common scenario in corporate channels.

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This is indeed a nice welcome feature for some of the specific use cases. Almost any organization might have that formal channel which needs some level of moderation.

Microsoft reference article for this functionality is here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/manage-channel-moderation-in-teams