Chat, teams, channels, & apps in Microsoft Teams

Teams provides a great out-of-the-box collaboration experience for your organization, and most organizations find that the default settings work for them. This article helps you decide whether to change any of the default settings, based on your organization's profile and business requirements, then it walks you through each change. We've split the settings into two groups, starting with the core set of changes you're more likely to make. The second group includes the additional settings you may want to configure, based on your organization's needs.

To get started, watch our short Teams chat, teams, and channels video (4:30 minutes):

You can use Advisor for Teams to help you roll out Microsoft Teams. Advisor for Teams walks you through your Teams rollout. It assesses your Microsoft 365 environment and identifies the most common configurations that you may need to update or modify before you can successfully roll out Teams.


We recommend that you include our featured apps -- such as Planner -- in your initial Teams rollout. Add other Teams apps as you drive Teams adoption.


For details about Teams features on different platforms, see Teams features by platform.

Chat deployment prerequisites

Before you roll out Teams across your organization, take time to confirm that your environment is ready for Teams. Review Prepare your organization's network for Teams and make any required changes to your environment.

Ask yourself Action
Is my organization ready to roll out Teams? To answer this question, see:

Core deployment decisions

These are the chat, teams, and channels settings that most organizations want to change (if the default settings don't work for them).

Teams administrators

Teams provides a set of custom administrator roles that can be used to manage Teams for your organization. The roles provide various capabilities to administrators.

Ask yourself Action
Who will be assigned the Teams Communications Administrator role? To learn more about Teams administrator roles see Use Microsoft Teams admin roles to manage Teams.
Who will be assigned the Teams Communications Support Engineer role? To assign admin roles, see Assign administrator and non-administrator roles to users with Active Directory.
Who will be assigned the Teams Communications Support Specialist role?

Teams owners and members

In addition to administrator roles, Teams lets you assign owner and member user roles, and selectively give them moderator capabilities (if moderation has been set up) to control who can perform certain actions within a channel. Moderation allows you to control who can start new posts in a channel, add and remove team members as moderators, and control whether team members can reply to existing channel messages.

Ask yourself Action
Who should be assigned to each role? To compare the capabilities of each role, see Assign team owners, moderators, and members in Microsoft Teams.
How do I assign a user role? To assign or change a role, see Assign a user role.
Do I need to control who can post and reply in a channel? To configure moderation, see Set up and manage channel moderation in Microsoft Teams.

Messaging policies

Messaging policies control which chat and channel messaging features are available to users in Teams. For example, who can edit and delete sent messages, who can use chat, who can use memes in conversations, and more. By default, users are assigned the global messaging policy and all features are On. You can use the default global policy or create one or more custom messaging policies for people in your organization.

Ask yourself Action
Will I customize the global messaging policy? For information about using the Microsoft Teams admin center to change the global messaging policy or add a new policy, see Manage messaging policies in Teams.
Do I require multiple messaging policies? To create and assign a messaging policy in PowerShell, see PowerShell script sample - Create and assign a messaging policy.
How will I determine which groups of users get which messaging policy? To learn about the CsTeamsMessagingPolicy cmdlets, see Set-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy.

External access

External access (federation) lets your users communicate with people outside of your organization via chat. By turning this on and adding domains to the allowed list, your users can communicate with users in other domains and organizations. External access is turned on by default.

Ask yourself Action
  • Will I turn off external meetings and chat for my organization?
  • If enabled, will I limit which domains my organization can communicate with?

To turn external meeting and chat on or off, see Manage external meetings and chat.

Guest access

Guest access in Teams lets individuals outside your organization access teams and channels. You can use the guest access settings to control which features guests can or can't use. Guest access is turned on by default. To learn more, see Guest access in Teams.


For more on external access and guest access see here - Communicate with users from other organizations in Microsoft Teams

Ask yourself Action
Will I turn off guest access for my organization? To turn guest access on or off, see Turn on or off guest access in Teams.
If enabled, will I customize the features available to guests in my organization? To customize guest access feature availability, see Authorize guest access in Teams.

Private channels

Private channels allow a subset of team members to collaborate in a private space that other team members can't see or access. Anyone, including guests, can be added as a member of a private channel as long as they are already members of the team.

Ask yourself Action
Do I want to allow team owners and members to create private channels? To set private channels policy for your organization, see Manage channel policies in Microsoft Teams

Shared channels

Shared channels allow you to add people who are not members of a team to a channel. This includes people who are outside your organization. Shared channels provide advantages over guest access in that people outside your organization no not require a guest account in your directory.

Ask yourself Action
When do I use shared channels versus guest access? See Shared channels in Microsoft Teams.
  • Will I allow team owners to create shared channels?
  • Will I allow team owners to share channels with people outside the organization?
  • Will I allow users to participate in shared channels that are outside the organization?

To set shared channels policy for your organization, see Manage channel policies in Microsoft Teams.

Teams settings

Teams settings let you set up your teams for features such as email integration, cloud storage options, organization tab, meeting room device setup, and search scope. When you make changes to these settings, they apply to all the teams in your organization. To learn more, see Teams settings.

Ask yourself Action
Will I customize Teams settings for my organization? To learn about Teams settings and how to customize them, see Teams settings.

Teams clients

Teams supports a number of clients from web to desktop to mobile, and the default configuration lets users choose whichever clients they want. To learn more, see Get clients for Teams.

Ask yourself Action
Will I customize Teams client availability for my organization? Check out Hardware requirements for the Teams app.
Will I customize Teams client settings for my organization? Learn how to Install Teams using MSI.

Teams usage reporting

The Global Admin, Teams Service Admin, and Reports Readers roles can view Teams usage reports. To learn more, see the Microsoft 365 usage analytics.

Ask yourself Action

Who needs to see the Teams usage reports, and do they have the correct role to view them?

Teams default apps

Teams provides a number of first-party (Microsoft provided) and third-party apps to engage users, support productivity, and integrate commonly used business services into Teams. Get apps from the Teams Store. Apps are turned on by default in Teams.

To learn more about rolling out and managing apps in Teams, see our in-depth app management guidance.

Additional deployment decisions

You may want to change these settings, based on your organization's needs and configuration.

Teams licensing

Teams is provided as part of many Microsoft 365 licenses.

Ask yourself Action
Do my users have the licenses they need in order to use all the Teams features I want to roll out? To learn about licensing requirements, read Microsoft Teams service description.

Exchange and SharePoint interoperability

For the full Teams experience, every user should be enabled for Exchange, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365 group creation. The following articles outline information related to Exchange mailboxes hosted in various environments, how Exchange and Teams interact, and similar considerations for SharePoint and OneDrive.

Ask yourself Action
Will I be able to deploy the Teams features that I require with the current Exchange and SharePoint deployments? For more information about Exchange and SharePoint in Teams, see:

Teams limits and specifications

When planning an enterprise deployment of Teams, you should take into account any relevant limitations and specifications, such as the maximum number of members in a team, the maximum number of teams a user can create, and so on.

Ask yourself Action
What limits am I likely to hit with my Teams rollout? To learn more, read Limits and specifications for Teams.

URLs and ports

Organizations that maintain fine-grained control of their internet traffic should read URLs and IP address ranges for an up-to-date list of the URLs, IP addresses, ports, and protocols that must be correctly configured for Teams. Microsoft is continuously improving the Microsoft 365 services and adding new functionality, which means the required ports, URLs, and IP addresses may change over time. We recommend that you subscribe via RSS to receive notifications when this information is updated or changed. At a minimum, make sure you've opened the ports listed above in Chat deployment prerequisites.

Ask yourself Action
Do I require internet access rules to enable users to use Teams, or is it sufficient to open the minimum required ports? To learn more, see URLs and IP address ranges.

Governance (naming conventions, who can create teams)

Your organization might require that you implement controls on how teams are named and classified, who can create teams, and team expiration, retention, and archiving. This is called governance. You can use Microsoft Entra ID to configure each of these areas.

Ask yourself Action
Will I need to implement controls on who can create teams? Read Plan for governance in Teams.
Will I need to implement controls on how teams are named? Read Enforce a naming policy for Microsoft 365 Groups in Microsoft Entra ID.

Teams application policy (side-rail control)

A pinned app shows up in the side rail in Teams. By creating Teams application policies, you can preconfigure sets of pinned Teams apps to personalize Teams for select groups of users. By default, the Allow external apps in Microsoft Teams setting is turned on.

Ask yourself Action
Should I create preconfigured sets of pinned Teams applications? Read Admin settings for apps in Teams.
How will I decide which groups receive these app groupings? Read Teams apps permissions and considerations.

Archiving and compliance

Your organization might require that you implement controls on how teams are archived and the types of data that are held in certain types of teams. Read Overview of security and compliance in Teams to learn which Teams settings are turned on by default.

Ask yourself Action
Will I need to configure team retention? To set up retention policies, see Set up Teams retention policies.
Will I need to configure team archiving? To archive or restore a team, see Archive or restore a team.
Will I need to configure additional compliance settings? For more information about security and compliance, see Overview of security and compliance in Teams.

Conditional access

Teams relies heavily on Exchange and SharePoint for core productivity scenarios, including meetings, calendars, interop chats, and file sharing. Conditional access policies that are set for these cloud apps apply to Teams when a user signs in directly to Teams, on any client. Conditional access policies that are set for the Teams cloud app control aspects such as whether users can access Teams services from certain networks.

Ask yourself Action

Will I need to configure conditional access for Teams?

Education (EDU)

IT pros working in education can take advantage of Teams for Education, which comes with a number of capabilities that have been tailored to meet education-specific scenarios for students, faculty, and the wider business.

Ask yourself Action
Will I use EDU-specific Teams templates? To learn more about Teams for Education, see Microsoft Education governance FAQ for admins.
Will I deploy scoped search? To set up Teams for EDU, see Quickstart - Teams for Education admins.
Will I integrate Teams with the School Data Sync service to provision user accounts? Teams resources for Education admins

Government - GCC considerations

The use of Office 365 for Government - GCC (Government Community Cloud) is appropriate to meet the requirements of IT pros who are driving deployments of Office 365 in US federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government entities or other entities that handle data that's subject to government regulations and requirements.

Ask yourself Action
Will I need to deploy Teams in an Office 365 for Government – GCC environment? For deployment considerations, see Plan for Office 365 Government - GCC deployments.

Next steps