External users can now join Microsoft Teams group chats

Teams Group Chat
(Image credit: Microsoft)
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Microsoft is making it easier for users of its video conferencing software (opens in new tab) to connect with others outside of their organization by expanding group chat in Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) to external users.

In an update (opens in new tab) to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap (opens in new tab), the software giant explained that users will soon be able to “create group chats that include people external to their organization using Teams”. However, in order to do so, they will need to “have external access capabilities enabled”.

Any external organizations that Teams users want to add to a group chat must first have an Azure Active Directory (opens in new tab) identity and use Microsoft's open federation policy. Thankfully though, open federation is the default setting in Teams, so this will likely already be enabled for most users.

Teams group chats with external users

Microsoft Teams already allows users to find, participate in one-on-one chats, call and set up meetings with external users. Now though, they'll also be able to chat with them in a group setting from within the same application.

Once two organizations are federated with one another, users will be able to start a new chat with an external user the same way they do with their co-workers. To get started, click on the new Chat icon, enter a recipient's email address (opens in new tab) and then click on the Search externally option to find an external user. 

Large-scale group chats are also possible in Microsoft Teams as the service supports up to 250 participants in a single group chat.

The ability to add external users to group chats is scheduled to roll out in Mid-May and will be complete by the end of July on the Teams desktop and mobile apps as well as on the web.

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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.