File visibility in Microsoft Teams

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Overview

Microsoft Teams at IU and Microsoft at IU Secure Storage (which uses Microsoft Teams at IU) store files in SharePoint Online. However, folders in SharePoint Online are only accessible from the Microsoft Teams application if they are associated with a channel. In some circumstances, it may be advantageous to access your files in SharePoint Online instead. When creating folder structure and setting permissions in Microsoft Teams, keep the following considerations in mind.

Shared libraries, standard channels, and folders

Each team has an associated shared library, accessible through the OneDrive/SharePoint Online website (see View Shared Libraries in Microsoft OneDrive at IU). Typically, each channel within a team will also have a folder with the same name in that shared library. Any files within those folders, and only the files within those folders, are accessible via the Microsoft Teams application. Because of this:

  • If a folder is created within a shared library via the OneDrive/SharePoint Online website that does not match the name of an existing channel, it will not show up in Microsoft Teams. However, it will still be accessible in SharePoint Online and can be managed there. It is possible to link an existing folder to a channel after the fact by creating a standard channel with exactly the same name as a folder that is in the root directory of the shared library associated with a team. However, this will only work for standard channels (more on private channels below).
  • If a folder within a shared library associated with a channel is renamed or moved, then it will no longer show up in Microsoft Teams under that channel. The application will automatically create a new, empty folder with the same name as the channel.
    • A renamed folder will exist separately within the root directory of the shared library.
    • If the folder is moved, whether it will show up in Microsoft Teams depends on the location to which it is moved. If it is moved inside another folder associated with a channel, then it will show up in Microsoft Teams under that channel; but, if it is in the root directory of a shared library or in a folder not associated with a channel, it will only be accessible via SharePoint Online.
    • When a folder associated with a channel is renamed or moved, Microsoft Teams will generate a new empty folder with the same name as the channel.
  • If a channel is renamed after creation, Microsoft Teams will not rename the folder associated with that channel; that is, the folder associated with that channel will still have the original channel name. Renaming or moving that folder will result in the behavior described above, except that the new empty folder generated will have the channel's original name.

Private channels

Private channels behave a bit differently from standard channels in regards to how information is stored in SharePoint Online. Each private channel will have its own separate shared library associated with it. This shared library will have a subfolder inside it with the same name as the channel.

  • Similar to standard channels, only files within the folder with the same name as the channel will appear in the Microsoft Teams application. If the folder is renamed or moved, a new empty folder with the same name as the channel will be generated.
  • Unlike standard channels, the only way to get data stored within a private channel's associated shared library to appear in Microsoft Teams is to place it inside the subfolder with the same name as the private channel. Creating a new channel with a name matching an existing folder will not work because a private channel has its own shared library separate from the team's primary shared library (in which all of the subfolders related to standard channels are stored).

Considerations

Whether files should be kept associated with channels or simply in independent subdirectories within a shared library depends on the use case:

  • When necessary permissioning can be managed entirely with team membership and private channel permissions, it can be beneficial to store all files within subfolders associated with channels. This way, you can use the Microsoft Teams application to access them.
  • When there is a folder structure with several levels and with varying permissions levels within subfolders of subfolders, it can be beneficial to leave the subfolders unassociated with a channel. The Microsoft Teams application does not support subfolder-level permissions, so keeping the entire folder structure accessible via SharePoint Online avoids confusion.

This is document bgrg in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2021-01-13 12:34:42.

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