MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

Published on February 25, 2022 by Nicole Mara
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

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Here’s a guide to the channel feature you will probably be using the most—messaging in the Posts tab.

Channel Messages vs Teams Chats

The Microsoft Teams Chat is the one on the left sidebar of your Teams workspace. You can have one-on-one private chats or create group chats here, but the big drawback is that you’re pretty limited in what apps you can use, and the content of your group chat isn’t accessible to the whole team.

With channel messaging in Posts, however, you can add functions that make the workspace your own, and everything you share and collaborate on will be visible and accessible to the whole team whenever they need it. So you won’t have to endlessly forward messages and files from your private chats to other users.

Table. Teams Chats vs Channel Messages
ChatsChannel Messages
“Open forum” conversationsStructured conversations
Unthreaded, group chat formatThreaded, topic-based format
Reply in the general chat space onlyReply to an existing post or start a new thread

Each channel’s message space is a focused group chat that everyone in the channel (and everyone on the team!) can use to:

  • Create posts
  • Send announcements
  • Reply to messages
  • Schedule meetings
  • Share files and links
  • Connect bots and websites.

There are 2 ways to create messages in the Posts tabs of your channels:

  • Create a new post by hitting “New conversation” at the bottom of the Posts tab
  • Reply to an existing post by hitting “Reply” under the post.
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

When you reply directly to a post made in your channel’s messages, you create a thread—a continuous conversation on a focused topic. As an admin, you want to make sure this is how your team members are using the Posts tab. By replying to an existing post instead of creating a new one, you and your employees can easily keep track of the conversation and any files shared in the thread.

Message Formatting

The bottom toolbar of your post in progress has a lofty “Format” option that lets you customize your message and make it stand out in the group chat.

MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

The “Format” function lets you:

  • Use bolds and italics in your text
  • Choose a font
  • Create lists and paragraphs
  • Make your message an announcement.
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

If you want to make an announcement, you will get a banner and title for the post like the one above. Everyone in the channel will be notified when you post it (so we say save announcements for the really important group-wide notices).

And did you know that you can modify who can respond to a post right from the post itself? Hit “Everyone can reply” on the top toolbar of your compose box, and you can choose between:

  • Everyone can reply, or
  • You and moderators can reply
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks
Note: this restriction will only apply to that specific message.

Add Extensions to your Message Toolbar

The “Messaging extensions” menu in your compose box opens up a whole world of apps and tools that you can add to your message toolbar.

MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

Want to send YouTube videos to your channel members? Add YouTube as an extension in seconds, and you can search for and embed full videos without leaving the group chat to search for them in your browser.

MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

The app options are pretty extensive, and can really allow you to complete a ton of collaborative tasks right in the channel group chat. You can add tools that will:

  • help you run a survey or poll (e.g. Forms)
  • coordinate channel meetings (e.g. Channel Calendar)
  • search for and embed images from the web (e.g. Images)
Note: The extensions you add will only be visible and accessible in your message toolbar. If another user wants to embed videos or send a calendar, they will need to add that extension to their toolbar.

Apps developed by Microsoft will have a “Microsoft Corporation” label, are included in your Microsoft 365 subscription, and do not require any extra sign-in actions. Simply hit “Add” and it will appear in your toolbar!

If you and your team use third-party productivity apps and you want to use it with your channel mates, you will all have to sign in to that app. Your channel members will get a prompt from that app in their private inbox, and once they sign in they can interact with the extension in the channel group chat.

The great thing about Perfect Wiki is that you and your members don’t have to sign in before using it. All you have to do is add it as a tab to any channel of your choice (yep, private channels too) and you can start collaborating with your team instantly.

Pro tip: You can remove an extension from your toolbar by right clicking on it and selecting “Unpin”

Mention Members

To catch the attention of a specific person or a few people in a channel, type “@” and then their name as it’s displayed in Teams. They will get a notification regardless of whether they have that channel hidden or if they have notifications turned off.

Message to Multiple Channels at Once

If you have an announcement that you want to make to more than one channel, but not to EVERYONE on the team?

You can make a post to multiple channels at once. Here’s how:

  1. Click “New conversation”
  2. Hit the “Format” button on your compose box toolbar
  3. Hit “Post in multiple channels” at the top
  4. Go to “Select channels” and choose one or more channels.
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

All the channels that receive the post will be able to interact with it and respond.

FYI, you can also do this retroactively. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the “More options” ellipses on the message you sent
  2. Click “Edit”

And after that, follow the same steps we outlined above for doing this from the compose box.

When you make a post to multiple channels, the responses don’t transfer. So you can really only cross-post a message or announcement on its own, but the response thread that comes from it stays bound to whatever channel it’s happening in.

Channel Emails: Communicate with External Users

Sometimes you end up working with a client or external user that can’t (or won’t) communicate with you in Microsoft Teams, and mostly uses email. But if most of your workflow happens in channels, it doesn’t make sense to forward emails to your team members and have them switch around between workspaces.

You can bridge that digital gap by getting a channel’s email. All you have to do is:

  1. Go to a channel’s “More options” menu
  2. Select “Get email address”
  3. Copy the address and forward it to external users.
MS Teams Channel Messages - Tips & Tricks

Using a channel’s email is also handy when you yourself have a thread or message in your email that you want a channel group to see.

The channel members will be able to respond to the email in the Posts tab of the channel, but those responses won’t be sent out as emails back to the sender. So it’s really just a way to get emails to your channel group since that’s where all the work is happening.

We hope you learned something new from this post! Share it with a colleague or on your social media platform if you know someone who uses Microsoft Teams channels.

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As always, we hope you share this post with a colleague or with your audience—spread the knowledge to make the metaverse more accessible to all!


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