External users in Microsoft Teams

Having issues?  Please see our page on troubleshooting guest/external access here

Options for External Users

An ‘external‘ in this context is someone who does not have a University of Brighton Office 365 account.

There are many different use cases for giving external contacts access to Microsoft Teams meetings. There are also many different methods of adding externals. Below is a summary, and further down the page are the instructions for each method.

Don’t invite current staff, students, or external examiners to Teams using external accounts – they should have UoB Office 365 accounts and can be invited to meetings using these UoB accounts.

You don’t usually need to add people to your Team for them to join a call/meeting. You can simply invite people to join a meeting. They will still be able to  participate in the video call, share their screen and present.

Adding external guests to your Team (Option 1)

You only need to do this if :

  • you will have regular contact with the external partner, e.g. for a project or exam board and
  • you want that person to have access to the Teams Chat area and see files shared via the Team. (See below for more information on what features are available to guests in Teams).

External guests that are Team members can perform most tasks that students/members can perform – e.g. host video calls,  use the chat and collaborate on files.

The external partner will be asked to sign up for a guest Microsoft Teams account (if they do not already have one), which may be inconvenient for them. Once an external is invited to join a Team, they will retain a University of Brighton Guest account even after they have left the Team.

We do not recommend adding guests to a Team for one-off meetings. Instead you can just add/invite them to a one-off video call.

Adding/inviting an external user to a one-off video call (Options 2, 3, 4, 5)

Inviting a contact to just join a one-off meeting may be simpler for you and for them. They will be able to participate in the video call and share a screen to give a presentation. They will not need to sign up for a Teams account to join the meeting. If they are using a mobile device they will have to download the Teams app, but if they are using a computer, they can simply join via a browser.

We recommend that you ask external contacts to test their access before the meeting. This is easier if you set up the meeting in advance.

There are different recommendations for setting up the call/meeting, depending on whether you are conducting the call within a Team, or using the Chat feature.

One-off meetings in the Chat area

For meetings in the Chat area, the Meeting Scheduler is recommended. All invitees will receive a calendar invitation to the meeting, which includes a link to Join the meeting. (see Option 2).

The person who schedules a meeting becomes the meeting organiser. This means they are the only person who can download the meeting participants list, or organise Breakout rooms. If these features are needed and you are not attending the meeting yourself, do not use the Meeting scheduler. You may be able to use the New Teams Meeting button in Outlook, if it is available to you. (See Option 3.)

One-off meetings in a Team

For meetings in a Team, remember that all Team members will be able to join the call. If you regularly conduct one-to-one interviews you can set up a new Team for this and repurpose the same Team for all your external calls, as people invited to a call are not given access to the Team, just access to the specific video call you invited them to.

When deciding how to invite externals, you should consider how the regular Team members usually join your meetings.

  • The Meeting Scheduler is quick and easy to use, but it may confuse, or change the expectations of regular Team members about how they should join future meetings. All existing Team members and the invited guests will receive a calendar invitation with a meeting link. (see Option 4)
  • You could instead, send a custom invitation to the external contacts (see Option 5).

Access to Meeting chat

  • If a meeting is held within a Team, only the Team members can see and participate in the chat
  • If a meeting is held within the Chat area (not in a Team), then all meeting participants can participate in the chat

Access to meeting recordings

  • Meeting recordings can not be accessed by external contacts, even if they are Team members.

How to Information

Select (click/tap) on the option items below for more information.

This is similar to adding a university user.

You manually add members to a Team using the Manage Team menu. You can do this on all devices.

  • Click the Teams menu (ellipsis ) (1)
  • Select Manage Team 

screenshot of clicking manage team

  • Select the members tab (3)
  • Click Add Members (4)

add member button

  • For external colleagues you can add them here by entering their full email address.
  • Click Add to add the member(s) to your Team. Note: external users can only be added as a 'Guest'

 

Mobile users: You can perform the same function in the mobile app:

  • Tap the Teams in the main menu at the bottom of your screen
  • Tap the 3 dots icon next to the team you wish to edit
  • Tap Manage Members
  • Tap the person icon (next to Team Members title)
  • You can now add users by email address

This page covers how an External user joins a Team as a guest

 

This method is useful when you just need an external contact to attend a single video call. For example:

  • The Call is not being held in an existing Team – (meetings can alternatively be held in the Chat area)
  • Call is within a Team, but the external user only needs to attend single meeting

There are different recommendations for setting up the meeting, depending

The Teams Calendar connects with your Exchange calendar so you should see the same appointments in this Calendar area as you see in Outlook.

  1. Open Teams and select the Calendar button 
  2. Select New meeting button

    screenshot of Meeting buttons in Teams Calendar shows Meet now and + New meeting

  3. Add meeting title, date and time and meeting details.
  4. Enter the names of attendees. If they are external, enter their full email address.
  5. You can use the Scheduling Assistant to find the most suitable date and time for your internal invitees. 
    screenshot of top of Schedule Meeting dialog box in Teams. Shows tabs for Details and Scheduling Assistant
  6. Leave the channel blank. (This is for meetings within a Team)
  7. In your invitation, recommend that external contacts test the meeting link before the meeting. Let them know they do not need a Teams account, but if they are using a mobile device they will need to download the Teams app before they join the meeting. If they reach the lobby, this indicates success!
  8. Send the invitation
  9. Before the meeting, you can use meeting Tracking to check responses to your invitation. Open the meeting Details from the Teams Calendar – Tracking info appears on the right.

The meeting will appear in your Calendars in Outlook and in Teams. At the meeting start time, click Join. Any externals will be asked to wait in the lobby until someone already in the meeting lets them in. 

As the meeting is not inside a Team, there are no restrictions on who can access the meeting Chat. All participants, including externals, can see and post in the meeting Chat. External participants will not be able to access the meeting recordings.

Meeting options

Once you have scheduled a meeting you can set the meeting options. You don’t need to do this if you are happy with the default options (shown below). Note that it takes some time for the new meeting to be set-up in the calendar – it will initially appear greyed-out. When it is ready, right-click and select Edit. The Meeting options screen opens in a web page – you might have to hunt for it. If you are the meeting organizer, you can also edit meeting options from the calendar invite.

screen shot of meeting options dialog, shows who can bypass the lobby, announcement options, who can present, unmute options

Meeting options – opens in a web page

The lobby

You can set options to decide who waits in the Lobby using meeting options (above), but note that invited guests will not be able to join the meeting until a team member admits them, even if you selection the option to allow everyone to bypass the lobby.

Important: The person who schedules a meeting becomes the meeting organiser. This means they are the only person who can download the meeting participants list, or organise Breakout rooms. If these features are needed and you are not attending the meeting yourself, do not use the Meeting scheduler. You may be able to use the New Teams Meeting button in Outlook, if it is available to you. (See Option 3.)

This option is useful for one-off calls with external partners. The external contact does not need a Microsoft account or Microsoft Teams installed to be able to join the call, but they will not have access to view any recordings of the meeting. Please note you cannot use Outlook to schedule meetings within a Team – any meetings scheduled are set up in the Chat area .

If your version of Outlook calendar has a New Teams Meeting button, use this to schedule the meeting, and invite everyone that needs to attend. For external contacts, you must use their full email address . This will send a meeting invitation, with a link to join the Microsoft Teams call.

screenshot of Meet button in a Team, shows options Meet now and Schedule a meeting

The Meet button within a Team

 

  1. Go to the Team
  2. From the drop-down Meet button , select Schedule a meeting
  3. Add meeting title, date and time and meeting details.
  4. If desired, you can choose a different channel to hold the meeting in. You can't schedule meetings in a Private channel.
  5. You don’t need to add the names of people in your Team. They will automatically receive an invitation.
  6. You can use the Scheduling Assistant to find the most suitable date and time for your invitees. 
    screenshot of top of Schedule Meeting dialog box in Teams. Shows tabs for Details and Scheduling Assistant
  7. Add your external contacts to the list of required attendees, using their full email addresses.
  8. Use the meeting details area to provide guidance for your external contacts. Recommend that they test the meeting link before the meeting; let them know that they do not need a Teams account, but if they are using a mobile device they will need to download the Teams app before they join the meeting. If they reach the lobby, this indicates success!
  9. Ask your recipients to just use the response options to let you know whether they are coming or not. If they want to give you any other information, they should send you a separate email – see info on bug below.
  10. Send the invitation
  11. Before the meeting, you can use meeting Tracking to check responses to your invitation. Open the meeting Details – Tracking info appears on the right.screenshot of Tracking details in a Teams meeting window
  12. The meeting will appear in your Calendars in Outlook and Teams. At, or shortly before, the meeting start time, click the Join button. Any externals will be asked to wait in the lobby until someone already in the meeting lets them in.

Important: The person who schedules a meeting becomes the meeting organiser. This means they are the only person who can download the meeting participants list, or organise Breakout rooms. If these features are needed and you are not attending the meeting yourself, do not use the Meeting scheduler. Use another method, or ask someone who is attending the meeting to schedule it.

Scheduler bug:

Please note that if you schedule a meeting within a Team, you will see the responses (Accept, tentative, Decline) in the meeting details, but  messages typed in reply to your invitation are not delivered to you. This is a known bug. When you are writing your invitation, ask your recipients to just use the response options to let you know whether they are coming or not. If they want to give you any other information, they should send you a separate email.

This bug only affects meetings scheduled in a Team. If you are scheduling a meeting that is not within a Team, messages sent in reply will be delivered to your Inbox.

To  invite a contact into a meeting in your Team, you can:

  1. Start the Call in your Team channel
  2. Select the More Actions menu – this is shown as three dots (ellipses) in the main Meeting toolbar
    screenshot of part of the Meeting  toolbar. The More Actions sub-menu (with three dots) is highlighted
  3. Select Meeting details
    Teams More Actions menu with Meeting Details option highlighted
  4. Select the Copy Join Info button
    Meeting details tab with Copy Join info button highlighted
    This will generate a formatted link which you can insert into an email message or a Calendar invite. If you need an unformatted link, you can right click on the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link and copy this link instead.
  5. Create an email message for your external partner(s) and paste the Join link you have copied into this email. 

The external user will simply click on the link which will cause one of the following to happen:

  • If they are using a mobile device they will be asked to install the Teams app
  • If they are using a computer with Teams installed, they may see a pop-up message asking them if they want to open MS Teams. If they don't have Teams installed, or if they don't want to use their normal Teams account, they should select the option to 'Continue on this browser'

They will be asked to enter their name, then they can join the video call (no need to sign up for Teams). Remember – this provides limited access – see table below. They will not be able to join future video calls, only the one you have invited them to. Each meeting invitation is unique. 

Your external contacts will have to wait in the lobby until someone in the meeting admits them.

 

This method does not allow you to test links in advance, as you have to start the call to generate the meeting link. You will need to make the external partner aware of the fact that they will need to check their email at the time of the call to be able to join the call. We would recommend testing this in advance with the external partner.

One way of testing in advance is to start a meeting at least the day before the meeting and generate the link (up to Step 4). Then create a Calendar invitation to invite your external contacts to this meeting. In your invitation ask them to test the meeting link. Let them know that if they reach the Lobby, they have been successful. The meeting will also appear in your Calendar.  You must remember to use the same link to start the meeting on the day. If you start a different meeting in Teams, your external contacts will be waiting in a lobby for the wrong meeting!

Summary of options available when an external user is added to a single video call.

When the meeting is held in a Team

Tools/functions available in call Available to externals who are NOT members of a UoB Team Available to externals who are Guest members of the Team
Webcam Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes
Share Screen Yes – ‘desktop’/’window’ only. No option to share PowerPoint file directly Yes – ‘desktop’/’window’ only. No option to share PowerPoint file directly
Hands up/raise hand Yes Yes
Start/Stop Recording No No
Access participants list* Yes Yes
Access the meeting chat No Yes
Upload files to chat No Yes
Access shared files No Yes
Access recordings No No

*Accessing the participants list means they can see names of who is in the meeting. They cannot access the team and see who is enrolled in the team, nor any contents within the Team itself.

When the meeting is held in the Chat area

Assumes meeting is arranged using Calendar options in Teams. Either Meet Now, or Schedule Meeting.

Tools/functions available in call Available to externals (no need to be a member of  a UoB Team) Available to  Guest externals (members of any UoB Team)
Webcam Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes
Share Screen Yes – ‘desktop’/’window’ only. No option to share PowerPoint file directly Yes – ‘desktop’/’window’ only. No option to share PowerPoint file directly
Hands up/raise hand Yes Yes
Start/Stop Recording No No
Access participants list* Yes Yes
Access the meeting chat during the meeting No Yes
Access the meeting chat after the meeting No Yes
Upload files to chat No No
Access shared files No View/download only
Access recordings No No

 

What can Guests do in Microsoft Teams?

The table below describes what external members can do if they are added as Guest members of your Team.

Firstly, you can refer to this useful overview of capabilities with respect to Owners, Members and Guests.

We have included some more specific information below that covers the main features staff might use with external  users. Note that External (Guest) users cannot create their own teams, nor can they make any editing to the structure/format of a Team.

Guest access? Notes
Team
Post in the teams chat Yes
Share/Access files in the teams chat or Files area Yes
Access sharepoint files (if Document Library added as a tab) No* Guests (external users) cannot access secure sharepoint libraries. They will see a message telling them as such
Video Call in a Team
Join/Start a video call Yes
Record a video call No* But other users can still initiate the recording
Share screen Yes* No option to share a powerpoint file, but can still share via desktop/window
Share files Yes Guests can also edit and collaborate on files
Mute all/make users attendees Yes
Chat
Initiate contact with university users via chat No
Can university users contact external users via Chat Yes* As long as both the university user and external user are in a Team, the university user can make contact with the external user
Video calling Yes
Share files Yes* In Chat, any files shared are read only for external users.

 

 

 

Skip to toolbar