Introduction to document management in Microsoft Teams

Before going through Microsoft Team’s document management and what possibilities there are to integrate MetaShare with Teams, we would like to explain what happens when you create a team or a channel in Teams:

Creating a team

When creating a team, you have two options:

  1. Create a team from scratch. When this option is selected:
    1. A SharePoint team site will be created, with the same name as the team.
    2. In the SharePoint site, a standard document library is created, with a folder called “General” that corresponds to the team’s default “General” channel. The library is not configured with any specific document management settings or content types/metadata.
    3. An Office 365 group will be created, with the same name as the team.
  2. Create a team from an existing Office 365 group. When this option is selected:
    1. The Office 365 group’s SharePoint team site is used instead of creating a new one.
    2. In the SharePoint site’s document library, a folder called “General” that corresponds to the team’s default “General” channel is created.
    3. The already available Office 365 group is added to the SharePoint site’s members group.
    4. A new modern home page will be added to the SharePoint site.

Creating a channel

When creating a channel in a team, you have two options:

  1. Create a standard channel that inherits the permissions from the team. When this option is selected:
    1. A document folder with the same name as the channel will be created in the SharePoint site’s document library.
    2. A “Files” tab is automatically added to the channel.
  2. Create a private channel that only will be accessible to a specific group of people within the team. When this option is selected:
    1. A new SharePoint team site will be created, dedicated for the newly created channel and its members.
    2. A document folder with the same name as the channel will be created in the newly created SharePoint site’s document library.
    3. A “Files” tab is automatically added to the channel.

Managing documents in a channel

To begin with, a channel’s “Files” tab cannot be deleted. When documents are uploaded or created in a “Files” tab, they are stored in the channel’s folder in the SharePoint site’s document library. Any files that are attached to a channel’s conversation tab are also stored in the channel’s folder and accessible through the channel’s “Files” tab. The disadvantage of using the “Files” tab to manage your documents are:

  1. The “Files” tab will not prompt you to fill in any metadata during document uploads, not even if you would configure the team’s corresponding document library to use content types/metadata and some of these are mandatory. The documents will be lacking mandatory metadata.
  2. The “Files” tab does not have any search capabilities, the only way to structure the documents to be able to find them, is to organize them in document folders. A smarter method to structure documents is to use metadata.
  3. If a team or a channel is deleted the documents that have been stored in the “Files” tab will also be deleted.

Integrating MetaShare with Teams

There are currently two methods to integrate MetaShare with Microsoft Teams. Which method you choose depends on how you want to work with the documents within a team and what life cycle the team and its documents should have. The methods are:

Method 1: Connect a MetaShare workspace to a channel in Microsoft Teams

  • As there are some limitations with a team’s channel’s built in “File” tab, our recommendation is to add a MetaShare tab to a channel and to add the documents to this tab instead of the “Files” tab.
  • The main advantages of adding a MetaShare tab to a team’s channel are:
    1. Documents that are uploaded or created in the channel will be tagged with metadata.
    2. You can easier find documents in the tab by using a combination of search and filters.
    3. When a team or channel eventually is deleted, its documents will not be deleted, these will still live in the MetaShare workspace that you’ve connected to the team’s channel.
  • The disadvantage is that users will have two options to upload their documents, to the “Files” tab or the MetaShare tab. Our recommendation is to only use the “Files” tab for temporary documents and as soon as the documents are of more qualified nature, they should be stored in the MetaShare tab.
  • Read this page for instructions on how to create a MetaShare document tab in a channel.

Method 2: Create a team from an existing MetaShare workspace

  • The main advantages of creating a team from an existing MetaShare workspace are:
    1. Your users can use the channel’s built-in “Files” tab and do not need to remember to go to the channel’s MetaShare tab.
    2. Documents that are uploaded or created in the “Files” tab will be accessible in the channel’s corresponding folder in the workspace.
  • The disadvantages are:
    1. When uploading/creating documents from Teams, you will not be prompted to fill in any metadata. The documents will be lacking mandatory metadata. When accessing the files from MetaShare, you will however be prompted with document tasks for documents with missing properties and these can be managed appropriately.
    2. The “Files” tab currently does not show any metadata nor make it possible to search or filtering for documents but according to Microsoft, the tab will soon have a more appealing interface, showing views with metadata columns and also making it possible to filter and search for documents.
    3. When the team eventually is deleted your documents will also be deleted.
  • Read this page for instructions on how to create a team from an existing MetaShare workspace.

Note

  1. If you rename a team, the corresponding SharePoint site’s name is renamed. If you rename the SharePoint site, it will later be renamed back to the initial name.
  2. If you rename a team’s channel, the corresponding document folder’s name is not renamed, and you will not be able to rename the folder from SharePoint.
  3. If you delete a team, the corresponding SharePoint site will be deleted within a few minutes.
  4. If you delete a team’s channel, the corresponding document folder will not be deleted but now you can delete the folder from SharePoint. A deleted channel can however be restored and if you then add a document to the channel’s “File” tab, a folder will be recreated, with the initial name of the channel (if it later was renamed).