Microsoft Teams is Not a Zoom Alternative; It’s Much More

I recently wrote a blog post for Centriq Training on how Microsoft Teams is more than just a Zoom alternative. In the post, I detail (with a table comparison) how Teams and Zoom are similar in meeting and chat functionality. But Teams goes far beyond communication and really excels in being the “one-stop shop” of enterprise communication and collaboration.

The post is broken down into:

  • Intro (What is Teams, what is Zoom, and why do people ask Teams vs Zoom?)
  • Microsoft Teams vs Zoom (for online meetings) with feature comparison
  • What’s unique about teams
    • Participant limit and meeting types
    • File integration
    • Pre-connected apps teams can use
  • Conclusion (go beyond just chat and meetings with a single app for all productivity, collaboration, and communication)

Read the entire post on Centriq’s blog here: Microsoft Teams is Not a Zoom Alternative; It’s Much More.

How to restore a file deleted from a Microsoft Teams channel

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Microsoft Teams is the place where groups of people come together to communicate and collaborate. A large part of that collaboration is document storage, sharing, and co-authoring. In Teams, files can be found on the Files tab of each channel within a team.

Did you know the Files tab is actually showing you the contents of a SharePoint folder associated with that channel?

Because Teams files are stored in SharePoint, any file deleted from a Teams channel goes to the associated SharePoint site’s Recycle Bin. We need to go to that Recycle Bin to restore the deleted file from there.

Click to enlarge | The dialog that appears when deleting a Teams file shows us it’ll go to the (SharePoint) site Recycle Bin.

How to restore a deleted Teams file

To find the correct SharePoint site for the team in question, we first open the Files tab for the channel from which you originally deleted the file. Then choose Open in SharePoint. If you don’t see it, you may need to use the ellipsis (…) then select it as seen in the following screenshot.

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Next choose Recycle Bin from the left-hand navigation menu.

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Finally, select the file you deleted then choose Restore from the ribbon menu.

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Idea: Add the Recycle Bin as a channel tab

If you’re part of a team that is frequently accessing the Recycle Bin, you can pin it as a tab in your channel(s). Start this by clicking the plus sign (+) to the right of your existing tabs.

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Choose Website for the app (SharePoint apps won’t work for this particular idea).

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Name the tab Recycle Bin, paste the URL to your site’s Recycle Bin, and click Save.

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Now you can drag the new Recycle Bin tab right next to your Files tab and have them side-by-side.

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How to get a Microsoft Teams meeting attendance report

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Microsoft Teams has three types of virtual meetings:

  • Meetings
  • Webinars
  • Live Events

Live events already had a nice attendance report (which I assume will be available for webinars as well), but traditional/regular meetings had yet to see a similar feature until now. You could always export attendance during the meeting, but it was a snapshot at that moment and you didn’t capture those who had left early or joined late depending on when you exported it. It also didn’t capture join/leave times.

Now meetings have attendance reports that you can get AFTER the meeting as well. Note that you must be the organizer, and your admin must have enabled this ability. See here for more info.

You can get these attendance reports in the meeting chat once the meeting ends (a report icon will appear) or simply follow these steps later to retroactively get the report from meeting details:

  1. Open the meeting/event in Teams to view Meeting Details
  2. Click the Attendance report icon to download the Excel file to your machine’s Downloads folder
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The resulting report will feature these details:

  • Total participants
  • Meeting start/end
  • Attendee name
  • Attendee join/leave times
  • Duration attended
  • Email
  • Role
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What is Teams Pro? A look at the latest M365 service plan

Microsoft announced a Teams Pro service plan on Feb 9, 2021. This service plan will be rolled out for all customers with applicable SKUs (Office 365 E5/E3/A5/A3, and Microsoft 365 Business Standard/Business Premium licenses) at no additional cost. You can read the message center announcement in your admin center.

What features are included in Teams Pro?

Teams Pro will include a set of features that will enable “meeting intelligence” and webinar capabilities. While nothing has currently been officially announced, I speculate the new custom registration pages will be included in the Teams Pro feature set.

Admins will be able to turn Teams Pro functionality/capabilities on or off for users similar to how they currently can toggle any app/service product license assignment on/off for users.

How does Teams Pro change my current Teams licensing and M365 cost?

This new addition will not change existing licenses, and will not come at an additional cost to those with Office 365 E5/E3/A5/A3, and Microsoft 365 Business Standard/Business Premium licenses.

When is Teams Pro available?

Teams Pro will be showing up mid-March 2021.

New MS-700 exam guide (Managing Microsoft Teams) now available with 165 practice questions

I had the honor of co-writing Packt’s new MS-700 exam guide with fellow MVP and MCT Peter Rising. We cover the latest exam objectives released in over 400 pages that include plenty of screenshots and a total of 165 exam practice questions.

Successfully passing the MS-700 exam earns you the Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate certification. This is an excellent way to prove skills and proficiency to employers (current and prospective) and also challenge yourself with keeping up-to-date on administering one of Microsoft 365’s core collaboration and communication apps.

We had an amazing team of technical reviewers and I want to thank Linus Cansby, Adam Deltinger, Amanda Sterner, and Mike Swantek for their invaluable time and input to help make this the best exam guide possible.

I also want to thank the many editors and staff at Packt who invited us to work on this project and helped us make it exceptional from beginning to end. It’s our success to celebrate together and I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Custom registration pages coming to Microsoft Teams meetings in March 2021

crop ethnic psychologist writing on clipboard during session

Update 5/19/2021: This is now available for Microsoft Teams webinars.

You may have noticed a message in your M365 admin message center recently that announced registration pages will soon be available for Microsoft Teams meetings, beginning in early March 2021.

This announcement shared that “Microsoft Teams meeting organizers will be soon be able to create a custom registration page for any meeting, although the feature is designed for webinars.”

When can I create custom registration pages for Teams meetings and webinars?

The feature will apply to both desktop and web versions of Teams and may be seen rolling out to your tenants as early as March and as late as April.

What Teams meeting types can have custom registration pages?

Webinars are the ideal candidate for this feature but any normal Teams meeting will work. Recurring meetings and channel meetings, however, will not have this ability.

Who can create custom registration pages in Teams?

Anyone in your tenant will be able to create custom registration pages for their meetings by default.

Who can submit/complete custom registrations for my Teams meeting?

Your organization’s users are able to submit by default, but you can change this everyone (public) to host public webinars. Your admin will need to grant you the ability to create public registration forms, and once granted you can use it repeatedly until access is revoked.

Admins, see the required PowerShell commands for modifying registration permissions in the announcement.

How do custom registration forms work in Teams?

You create a custom registration form during the normal meeting scheduling process. Anyone you invite to the webinar/meeting will automatically receive the link to your form for registration. Others can use your link from social media posts, emails, blogs, etc.

Meeting organizers will have access to a downloadable registration report to track registration activity. This can be found on the “details” tab for the meeting at any time.

Auto-approval of Microsoft Teams Shifts requests using Power Automate

Today I happily stumbled across a collection of Power Automate templates for auto-approval of different types of Microsoft Teams Shifts requests, such as time off requests, open shift requests, and swap requests.

Not familiar with Shifts? Check out my write-up.

The ability to auto-approve removes the current reliance on a Team owner to approve requests. In less formal Teams, this would be an excellent improvement to speed up the process and give autonomy to your team members.

While most of the templates’ triggers are set to use “Recurrence” (regularly reviewing requests and approving on the hour), you can also create your own flow using Shifts itself as a trigger instead.

Note: In high-activity Teams, using Recurrence as the trigger might cut down the number of runs/flows you use if that’s a consideration for you. Using Shifts as the trigger as seen below will run every time a request is made, but provides a faster response to your users.

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The templates for Power Automate auto-approval of Shifts requests range from simple flows to more complex flows. Check them out below:

  1. Auto Approve Offer Shift Requests
  2. Auto Approve Open Shift Requests
  3. Auto Approve Swap Shifts Requests and Send Email Notification
  4. Auto Convert Shift to Open Shift
  5. Share My Shifts as iCalendar Feed
Auto Approve Offer Shift Request
Image taken from Auto Approve Swap Shifts Requests and Send Email Notification template example. Click to enlarge.