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Microsoft Teams Private Channels Best Practices
  • Post type:
  • Knowledge
  • Posted by:
  • Sarah Chao
  • Published on:
  • Suitable for:
  • Staff; Teachers
  • Level of difficulty:
  • Intermediate
  • Office tool:
  • Teams
Last modified: 11/25/2019 11:35 AM by Sarah Chao

​​​​​Before you start

Finally, the much anticipated Private channel in Microsoft Teams is now available! Before you rush into creating any private​ channels in your team, we have highlighted 4 best practices based on the Microsoft documentation of the Private channels in Microsoft Teams that you should know and be familiar with!​

If you want to dig deeper to understand the structure of teams, scenarios of channels, impact of private channels to your existing team, etc., please take a look at Getting Ready for Private Channels in Microsoft Teams. It will help you understand when private channels in Teams is necessary and​ appropriate. ​

If you've added to a Private Channel, you will note a lock icon next to the channel name (ex. Leadership) in your Team.


1. Creation and Ownership of Private Channels  

  • Only a team owner should​ create private channels.
    Review your Member permissions in Settings and ensure that they cannot make channels. 
    Alternatively, If Team owners have ​allowed members to create and update channels, then make sure that "Allow members to create private channels" is unchecked in the Manage channel -> Settings -> Member permissions:

  • For each private channel, there should be at least two private ​channel owners and one of them must always be the Team owner who created the Private Channel.

  • When the owner of a private channel is leaving the channel or the team, he/she must designate a new channel owner to replace him/her unless there are already two or more owners in the channel.​

  • If the owner of a private channel has left the channel or the team without designating a new owner, the other channel owner must designate a new channel owner unless there are already more than two owners in the channel.

  • Learn more about the creation of private channels

2. Membership and Permission of Private Channels

  • Only an existing team member can be added to a private channel. 

  • A member of the private channel has read and write access to the folders and files in the channel. 

  • NEVER share a folder or document in the private channel with someone who is not the member of that ​channel.  

  • NEVER change the default access permission of a folder or file in the private channel using the SharePoint interface.  ​​

  • Learn more about the management​ of private channels.

3. Creation of Tabs in a Private Channel 

  • Only a channel owner should create tabs in the private channel. 
    ​Make sure the "Allow members to create, update, and remove tabs" is unchecked in the Manage channel -> Settings -> Member permissions: uncheck-tab-creation-for-members.png

  • To make a Notebook only visible to the private channel members, you must go to the private channel, add a OneNote tab and click "Create New Notebook". DO NOT select any existing Notebook. 

  • DO NOT create a tab using the Website tab that actually links to a web resource outside your private channel, especially if the web resource is an Office Online document  (Excel, Word or PowerPoint). Otherwise you are at risk of accidentally leaking confidential information to someone who has access to the document. 

  • Learn more about ​considerations and access around private channels​.

4. Apps Limitation in Private Channels 

  • The following apps are not available to private channels at this moment (Nov 2019)​: 

    • Stream​
    • ​Forms
    • ​Planner ​

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