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Microsoft Teams Getting SharePoint File and Sharing Capabilities

The Microsoft Teams collaboration application for Office 365 subscribers is starting to get more file access and sharing capabilities derived from SharePoint Online, Microsoft announced on Wednesday.

Some of the grafting of SharePoint Online features onto Teams was described back in August. Those capabilities included things like a file check-in and check-out procedure, workflow improvements for document approvals, and a File Hover Cards feature that pops up and shows activities associated with files when you hover the mouse cursor over them. Microsoft also previously added SharePoint Online Pages, Conversations, News and Web Parts into Teams.

These new Office 365 features are getting stamped with Microsoft's newly emerged "better together" marketing concept, which this time blends SharePoint Online and Teams. The Teams focus likely will continue. Microsoft recently told its partners that Teams is "the new operating system" for customers.

The Teams and SharePoint Online theme likely will be part of the Microsoft Ignite event kicking off next week. For instance, Jeff Teper, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Office, SharePoint and OneDrive, stated in a Wednesday Twitter post:

Teper will give a couple of talks at Ignite. A list of SharePoint Ignite sessions can be found in this Microsoft announcement.

Teams Files Improvements
On the files side, the File tab in Microsoft Teams will have some capabilities already found in SharePoint Online. For instance, Teams is getting the ability to sync files to a PC or Mac device. Users also will see previews of files (it'll work for more than 320 file types). They can simply access their OneDrive files right within the Teams application.

Teams already is designed to use some SharePoint Online features. For instance, a communication "channel" in Teams gets a shared SharePoint Online library automatically, which stores shared files swapped during Teams conversations. The security settings that were set in SharePoint Online are used to protect those Teams files, the announcement explained.

"Behind the scenes, SharePoint provides content services and storage for all files in Microsoft 365, including files you work with in OneDrive, Teams, Yammer and Outlook," it added.

Office 365 tenancies using Teams and following the "targeted release" update model are now starting to see these SharePoint Online-derived Teams files improvements. Microsoft is planning a worldwide rollout of these files enhancements for Teams by the "end of November 2019," according to the announcement.

Some Teams enhancements are yet to come, though. They include the ability to add new columns, edit metadata and access so-called "file cards" (likely meaning the File Hover Cards).

Teams Sharing Improvements
Microsoft described some file sharing improvements that will be coming to Teams by way of SharePoint Online. These improvements aren't available yet. They are expected to arrive by year's end for Office 365 subscribers that get targeted releases. A worldwide rollout is expected to occur by "end of Q1 calendar-year 2020."

Some of the file sharing improvements to come are being built into the Teams Web and mobile clients. They include the ability to attach files from recent documents, or from Teams channels or from OneDrive storage. There will be a "Share a link" button, too, which will permit co-authoring on documents. Copying and pasting within Teams to share links also will get supported with the proper formatting. It'll also be possible to prod colleagues about shared files in Teams via a reminder feature.

Outlook Sharing Improvements
The announcement also mentioned some Outlook e-mail client file sharing improvements. These improvements already were "rolled out" via recent client updates, Microsoft explained.

For instance, the Outlook Web App got the ability to send a link to a file, rather than attaching a file. It also got the ability for users to copy and paste links in e-mails with proper formatting.

The Outlook Mobile client app can now access OneDrive files and folders. It can be used to attach files in e-mails. The Outlook Mobile app also has a "Recent File" feature for easy access to files. There's also the ability to share a link instead of attaching a file.

Where To Save Files
Microsoft recommends that Office 365 users save files to OneDrive if they just access the files. However, if the users are part of a team and want to share files, then they should use team storage.

Users can create a shared location using OneDrive. The library that gets created by them will be accessible to team members in "Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Outlook" applications.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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