Chat in Teams

This guide explains:

  • what a 'chat' is and how to use it
  • the types of chat available
  • when not to use chat
  • message history
  • guidance for creating or amending a chat
  • the use of files within chat
  • file history
  • guidance for adding files to chat
  • further chat guidance

What is chat and how you should use it

Chat is a communication tool that you can use to send text messages to other people who work at the council. You should only use chat when you want to have an informal discussion with someone, or a small group of people.

Types of chat

You can create 2 different types of chat:

  • private chat - you'd use this for casual conversation between you and 1 other person - similar to a chat you may have with someone in the office, kitchen or at The Point coffee machine.
  • group chat - you'd use this when you want to talk informally to a small group of people, such as to arrange a good time for a video meeting.

When not to use chat

You should not use chat:

  • for project work where you would need to look back at conversations and decisions being made
  • to store files as a final resting place. They should be saved in a service agreed location where the relevant people can access them, such as a shared network drive.

Please note: anything you say within a chat can be requested for anyone to view under the freedom of information act - please be careful about what you say while using the chat functionality.

Message history

As chat messages are subject to retention rules the same as any other council information - meaning messages can not be kept longer than they are required - the following actions have been put in place to happen automatically:

  • 0 to 30 days: You are able to view any messages you send, or someone sends to you, within the private or group chat.
  • Day 31: Your messages are automatically deleted.

Please note: these retention schedules for chat came into effect on 1 December 2021. Please make sure that any information you have shared and want to retain after this date has been moved elsewhere, such as a network drive so it is not deleted.

Guidance for creating or amending chats

Create a private chat

Create a new chat

  1. Select the chat icon from the toolbar menu on the left hand side. This will open up the chat window.
  2. Select the message icon.








  3. Add people to a chat

  4. Type the name of the person you want to chat with into the To box. You will notice that it makes suggestions as you type.
  5. Select the person you want to chat to.
Create a group chat

Create a new group chat

  1. Select the chat icon from the toolbar menu on the left hand side. This will open up the chat window.
  2. Select the message icon.








  3. Add people to a chat

  4. Type the names of the people you want to chat with into the To box. You will notice that it makes suggestions as you type.
  5. Select the people that you want to chat to.
Add someone to a group chat

Add people to an existing group chat

  1. Select the person icon.
  2. Select Add people.








  3. Add people to an existing group chat

  4. Search for the name of the person you would like to add.
  5. Select the person.










  6. Add people to an existing group chat

  7. Choose whether you want to share the chat history with the new member.
  8. Select Add.

The person you have added should now be in the chat and be able to send and receive messages.

Using files within chat

If you want to share a file with 1 or more colleagues, you can do this within a chat. If the file is an editable Microsoft file, such as Word or Excel, they can also work collaboratively with you on the document.

File history

As files are subject to retention rules the same as any other council information - meaning documents can not be kept longer than they are required - the following actions have been put in place to happen automatically:

  • 0 to 30 days: You are able to view any files you have shared, or someone has shared with you, within a private or group chat. A copy of any file you have shared is also saved in your personal OneDrive.
  • After 30 days: The file is deleted and you are no longer able to view a file within Teams.
  • After 7 years: a file you have shared will be removed from your personal OneDrive.

Find out more about using OneDrive

Please note: these retention schedules for files shared within chat will be in effect from Wednesday 1 December.

Guidance for adding files to chats

Add a file to the message area

Add a file to the message area

  1. Select the attachment icon.
  2. Select OneDrive or Upload from my computer.

You will then be able to navigate to the relevant folder and upload your files.

This will add the file in to the messages area so that you can add any supporting text to your post before sending the file.

Please note: files added this way also display in the files area.

Add a file to the files area

Add a file to the files area

  1. Select Files from the top of the chat.
  2. Select Share.
  3. Select OneDrive or Upload from my computer.

You will then be able to navigate to the relevant folder and upload your files.

Need further guidance?

If you have any questions or concerns about using chat, you can:

What's next

Now read how to create video and voice calls.

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