Teams can have standard, private, or shared channels

Every member of a team in Teams can access the standard channels. On the Internet, there are many channels that are available that are standard channels that can be accessed. There are a few situations in which you can use a private channel if you are looking to reach a smaller, more specific audience. There are channels that are shared in your organization so that your team or organization can collaborate with other teams or organizations within and outside of your organization to facilitate collaborations.

Note: With Microsoft Teams, you can create teams, private channels or shared channels, and each of these will automatically create a SharePoint site as part of the process of creating a team site. Go to the channel settings in Microsoft Teams for the corresponding channel you wish to edit, in order to edit the description or classification of the team site. 

Note: While the shared channels will be under public preview during the public preview phase, there will be some changes that need to be made before they are available to the general public, and these changes might need to be made at the earliest opportunity. It is important that you switch to teams public preview if you want to access this feature and others that will be coming soon.

I would like to discuss each of these types in more detail:

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Standard channels

  • Whenever anything is posted on them, it can be searched by anyone in the team, and is open to all team members.
  • Every member of a team has the ability to create a standard channel by default. This permission can be changed by the org owner, so that only a specific group of roles has access to creating channels and granting permissions.
  • In the case of public channels, it is not possible to convert them into private channels and the other way around.

Private channels

  • This is a group where discussions are held and the discussions in these groups are not open to all team members, so if you wish to view the discussions in these groups, you need to be invited to join them in order to see them.
  • A private channel can be created and members added by every team owner or member by default. They cannot be created by guests. If you are an admin, you can restrict the creation of private channels to certain roles and change this permission.
  • We do not currently support any of the following features: Wikis, apps, bots, as well as scheduled channel meetings. We may, in the future, decide to support these features.
  • Once you create a private channel, it will be automatically linked to the team that it belongs to, even though it can be moved to another team at any time; once a private channel is created, it is automatically linked to the team that it belongs to and cannot be moved to another team at any time.
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A channel (available under the Files tab) stores files that you share with other users in a channel. Here is more information about how SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business with Teams interact with each other, which you can find by clicking the link below.

Note: If you are using a private channel, only members of your team are allowed access to the files that other members of the team are allowed to access, and these files are stored separately in a separate SharePoint site from the rest of the team’s files.

Private channel meetings and calls

A team’s private channel meeting or Meet Now call can be joined by external guests, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you do so.

  • Depending on the nature of the meeting, they will only be able to join if they receive a link through a private channel inviting them to join, or if a member contacts them during the meeting inquiring whether they would like to join.
  • After a short period of time, before they will no longer be able to view chat, files, whiteboards, notes, or the participants list (all of whom are not included in the invitation sent by Outlook), they will be able to access them for a limited timeframe, but they will no longer be able to view them after that.

Shared channels

  • These tools can be used for collaborating within your organization or team, as well as with teams from outside of it.
  • There can only be one owner of a team at a time, and this owner can only add members to their shared channels, or share their shared channels with other teams.
  • Unless you are invited to join a shared channel, you will not be able to access it unless you are an owner or member of one, so you must first be invited.
  • Unlike a standard channel or a private channel, a configuration of a shared channel cannot be converted into either a standard channel or a private channel, and the opposite is also true.
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Note: It is necessary for the admin of a shared channel to enable B2B direct connection before adding people outside the organization to the channel in order to be able to add them. In order to set up this type of collaboration, you need to refer to the section Collaborate with external participants in a channel.

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Note: See What is a shared channel? for more information about what it is and how it works.

Create a channel

There is more information about how to create a channel when you need one available in the sections Create a standard or private channel and Create a shared channel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Give your channel a name and a description by entering the fields below. Select the Privacy option from the drop-down menu on the right side of the screen. Once you have chosen that option, you will be able to select Private – This discussion will only be visible to specific teammates. The private channel can be added to the team by selecting Create on the toolbar.
In terms of channels, there are two types available to teams: the standard channels (which are visible to anyone) and the private channels (which can only be accessed by selected team members).
In the app, you can find it on the left hand side. You can manage your team by selecting the Manage team option. In the Settings menu, select Guest permissions from the drop-down menu. If you would like to allow specific permissions, you can check or uncheck them.
There are some limitations associated with the private channels in Microsoft Teams
A team is limited to having a maximum of 30 private channels, which is one of the limitations that apply to this feature. The number of normal channels you can have is 200. In order to add an additional private channel once you have created more than 30 private channels, you will get the following message as soon as you attempt to add an additional private channel after you have created more than 30 private channels.

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