Microsoft Teams is finally rolling out a new update that brings support for adding external users in group chats. The feature was added to the Microsoft 365 roadmap earlier this month and Microsoft MVP Linus Cansby spotted that it’s already live in the desktop version of Teams.
Microsoft Teams already allows users to participate in 1:1 chats, meetings, and calls with external users. Thanks to this feature, the app now allows users to create group chats with external partners. External chats are supported on the Teams desktop, web, and mobile clients, though this feature is not generally available for everyone just yet.
— Linus Cansby (@LCansby) May 25, 2021
To get started, Office 365 Admins will need to enable the external access policy in their tenant. by heading to the Microsoft Teams admin center and navigating to the Org-wide settings >> External access section. Finally, turn on the “Users can communicate with other Skype for Business and Teams users” toggle and click the Save button.
Once enabled, end-users will be able to initiate a group chat with external partners by clicking the new Chat icon, entering the email address of the recipient, and then selecting the “Search externally” option to find them. They can repeat the same process to add up to 250 participants to a single group chat in Microsoft Teams.
It is important to note that Azure Active Directory (AAD) is required for external group chats and the admins in both organizations should enable the open federation policy to allow their users to communicate with each other. There is also an option to manage the allowed or blocked domains and users lists from the Teams Admin Center and you can find more details on this support page.