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Taming Teams: Changing the Channel: Page 2 of 2

Beyond the three primary attributes you can set, a tabs functionality allows many additional ways you could and should customize a channel for a particular purpose.

Tabs provides a way to group the different types of information within a channel. By default, every channel has a “Conversations” tab that captures the threaded discussions within the channel, a “Files” tab that consolidates any documents uploaded to the channel as well as any attachments added to conversation messages, and a “Wiki” tab that acts as a shared set of notes. The Wiki tab is removable while the Conversations and Files tab are not. (In many instances users appear to remove the Wiki tab as it seems seldomly used.)

You can add a channel tab for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or other documents. To do this:

  • Upload the document to the Files tab
  • Click the big plus sign + on the right of the tab bar
  • Choose the type of tab you would like to add, for example Excel
  • Select a file from the channels Files list.

This makes the document easily accessible in the channel to all team members, as illustrated below.

In this example, I choose to rename the default “Excel” tab as “Contributions.” Channel users can directly edit the tab document directly in Teams or by opening Excel.

In addition to standard Office document tabs, you can add tabs that link to a specific website, video, or PDF document; reference a shared OneNote notebook; connect to a SharePoint site or list; or act as a complete embedded application, displaying and/or allowing information to be updated from within a channel.

Embedded application tabs come directly from Microsoft. These tabs provide access to Microsoft Planner, which lets you track tasks, and third-parties apps such as Jira and Trello from Atlassian, SurveyMonkey, ZenDesk, and many others. Or, you can even develop a line of business-specific tabs. 

There are so many tab applications already available, with more being released each month, that the best way to become familiar with them is to explore and experiment. (I plan to review a number of Microsoft and third-party tab applications in a subsequent Taming Teams article.)

Because a channel is where work gets done, it’s important to configure each channel to best align with its purpose. Adding tabs is a powerful way to work more efficiently because tabs integrate the tools and services your team uses right into your chat or channel. And since tabs are always visible at the top of any conversation everyone can get to them easily.

Now that we’ve covered teams and channels we are ready to a have a real conversation. Next up… messages.

My team and I spend our time helping organizations succeed implementing communication and collaboration systems, most often within the Microsoft ecosystem, and I would like to help you succeed with your Skype for Business or Teams implementation. Microsoft Teams specifically enables new opportunities but also brings with it new obstacles and pitfalls. If you have specific questions please comment below, send me a tweet @kkieller, or message me on LinkedIn -- and join me at Enterprise Connect 2019, March 18 to 21 in Orlando, Fla., where I'll be moderating the "Transitioning to Teams: What's Your Next Move on Microsoft?" session as well as a tutorial on the transformative impacts of artificial intelligence on UC.

If you haven't yet registered for Enterprise Connect, use the code NJPOST and save $200! Register now!