Microsoft Teams gets private channels, email integration with Outlook

Microsoft Teams users can now converse with colleagues privately after the long-awaited introduction of private channels – one of a variety of updates announced by Microsoft at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla. this week. The company also highlighted enhanced integration with Outlook and a multi-window feature.

Private channels have been in high demand from Teams users, and are the most requested feature on the Microsoft User Voice feedback page for Teams. The feature had been proposed by Microsoft before the launch of Teams in 2017, with a preview announced earlier this year.  

The new feature allows Teams users to create channels that that are viewable and accessible only by specified coworkers, which can be useful for teams dealing with sensitive or confidential content. 

“Every group, every team, every business has some discussions where they need to maintain some level of confidentiality,” said Karan Nigam, group product marketing manager for Microsoft Teams. “For a lot of companies, it is the financial data. With private channels, the intent is that any team can restrict the membership of that particular channel so that not everyone has access to [it], …only a certain set of people do.”

Teams private channels Microsoft

AUp to 30 private channels are available to each team, and each channel can contain up to 350 members.

“Private channels are important for any collaboration offering, just as a private conference room is required for in-person meetings,” said Patrick Moorhead, founder and president of Moor Insights & Strategy. “I believe it will facilitate more open conversations and engender trust.”

Outlook integration with Teams

Microsoft also unveiled plans to integrate Teams more deeply into Outlook, with the addition of a button in the email client that can send information from an email into the work chat app. The opposite is also possible, allowing messages from Teams to be sent to Outlook. The interoperability is designed to allow users to more easily select the communication venue that best suits them, whether…