3 recommended updates: New file sharing experience in Microsoft Teams

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Version 20.11.05

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the new file sharing experience in Microsoft Teams, a sensitivity label configuration update, and upcoming changes to topics and hashtags in Yammer.

ShareGate’s easy-to-use SaaS tools enable organizations to achieve more than ever before with Microsoft cloud technologies. In our ongoing series, Jasper Oosterveld brings you up to speed on the latest and greatest from the world of Microsoft 365.

I hope you enjoyed my last update—where I discussed the release of virtual breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, a change in storage location for Teams meeting recordings, and the new ‘My feed’ web part in SharePoint Online.

Let’s move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you’ll find my opinion on the new file sharing experience in Microsoft Teams, the ability to define external sharing settings as part of the sensitivity label configuration, and upcoming changes to topics and hashtags in Yammer.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at three Microsoft 365 updates I think you should know about now.

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New file sharing experience in Microsoft Teams

We all know—at least I hope we know!—where Microsoft Teams files are stored: in the document library of each team’s connected SharePoint team site. (If you need a refresher, check out this blog post on Microsoft Teams and SharePoint integration.)

Unfortunately, the file sharing experience has not been aligned with other Microsoft 365 apps (for example: OneDrive). Below, is an example of the existing situation:

image of current sharing link situation in Teams.

I can copy a link, but I’m asked to choose between Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. This part always confuses business users. There’s also no option to control link sharing permissions in-app. Plus, if I want to access OneDrive files directly, I need to leave Microsoft Teams.

Luckily, we are receiving an update!

Streamline sharing with Microsoft Teams. You can now create a shareable link for any file stored in Teams and directly set the appropriate permissions. Additionally, you can also set permissions for files stored in SharePoint or OneDrive while composing a private chat or starting a channel conversation.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 51230

With this update, when users share a file from within Microsoft Teams, they will have the option to create sharing links that provide access to:

  • Anyone
  • People within your organization
  • People with existing access
  • Specific people (including those in a 1:1 chat, group chat, or a channel)

Before users share a file in a chat or channel, they’ll be notified if the recipients don’t have permission to view the file. The user can change permissions before they share the file (if they have permission to do so).

Good to know:

  • Teams honors the sharing controls defined in SharePoint. For example, if external sharing is disabled in SharePoint, then it’s disabled in Teams as well. The default file link permission in Teams will be the same as what is set at the tenant level, unless it’s overridden at the site level.
  • Review how you’ve managed sharing settings in the SharePoint admin center to ensure they align with the requirements in your tenant.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft started rolling out this update in mid-October 2020 and expects rollout to be completed by the end of November 2020.


Sensitivity label configuration update: Define external sharing settings

This is my favorite update! Currently, sensitivity labels for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sites allow you to define the privacy, guest access, and type of access when sharing content with unmanaged devices.

image showing external sharing settings in SharePoint admin center.

And now, another option is being added to the mix!

With this update, you can set controls on external sharing while configuring a team or site protection policy. This new external sharing control is granular. For example you can set a very restrictive one for a Team or site labeled ‘confidential’—restricting sharing with people outside the organization or set a very relaxed one for a team or site labeled ‘general’—allowing anyone with a link to access without requiring sign-in.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 68700

So, in addition to using sensitivity labels to classify and protect individual documents and emails, you’ll be able to use them to set external sharing controls at the container-level (i.e., a team in Microsoft Teams). If a team is labeled ‘confidential’, you can set controls that restrict external sharing for that team without having to apply those restrictions across the board in your tenant.

Good to know:

Microsoft is rolling out this update in mid-December 2020 and expects rollout to be completed by mid-December 2020.


Upcoming changes to topics and hashtags in Yammer

Are you ready? It is… Yammer time!

This has been a great year for Yammer, with a whole new design and improved usability and focus within Microsoft 365. Next up: A sharper distinction between topics and hashtags in Yammer.

We are creating a sharper distinction between topics and hashtags in Yammer

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 73251

Microsoft is further differentiating these features so that topics power curation, management, and categorizing of knowledge while hashtags will continue to be used to support campaigns and user expression.

Good to know:

  • Topics will look visually distinct from hashtags. Hashtags will continue to look the same.
  • Posting a hashtag will no longer automatically add a topic to the thread.
  • Clicking a topic will open the topic page. Clicking a hashtag will initiate a search for all messages that include that hashtag.
  • Check out Microsoft’s official support documentation to learn more about how to use topics and hashtags in Yammer after this change is implemented.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft’s rollout schedule for this feature is as follows:

  • Mid-November 2020:
    • Roll out begins: Topics look visually distinct from hashtags
    • Roll out begins: Clicking a topic opens the topic page, clicking a hashtag initiates a search for all messages that include it
  • Late-November 2020:
    • Roll out begins: Posting a hashtag will not automatically add a topic

Microsoft 365: Something for every business need

As we enter November, we already have a lot of updates to get excited about and look forward to! Just look at the updates in this article—there are new updates that apply across a variety of different business scenarios.

Just look at the update for sensitivity labels. With this update, businesses can control the external sharing links per team as opposed to an overall setting that applies to all employees. This update provides more granular control and stimulates a shared responsibility between the IT team and the business.

The new file sharing experience in Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, is something that will benefit both users trying to get their work done with minimal friction and IT admins concerned with organizational data security.

That’s what I love about Microsoft 365. It contains solutions for all your business needs!

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