Limiting channels to specific team members

Graeme Baker
New Contributor

Is there any way to control which channels within a team each team member has access to? Or is it a free for all if you're a member of that team?

50 Replies
All members of the team have access to all channels within that team at this time.
I've already up-voted allowing private channels. There are some conversations you dont want a whole team to see, but are relevant to that team!
I can see why you would have channels open to all in a team - but it would be good to have non team members allowed access to a specific channel say as a mini project that is being worked on, without having access to the rest of the teams channels (especially if that team is a closed group)

I agree! Otherwise, it will be necessary to create diferent groups to manage the acces.

I dont see it as much important for limiting access, but being able to have members for a channel, so that you can have topic relevent discussion, and call people to a meeting without everyone in the entire team being notified. We have a project with 250 people in it, and dont want to have to have a separate team for every "sub-team".

Totally agree!

Also it would be great if the permission is valid for files and the onenote-section of the channel. Also it would be great to configure that permission channel by channel. Meaning in one channel I might want to share parts/all of documents/folders with those who can access the channel. And in another channel I only want to share the channel and ONE OneNote-page.

You can sort of do that now. Many people don't realize that the favoriting mechanism for channels controls more than just their display underneath your Team. It also controls whether you get notifications when someone @ mentions the channel itself. If you have it favorited, you get a stronger form of notification (a toast and the red badges/icons I believe) where if you don't have it favorited the channel name just goes bold to show that activity has occurred.

I agree this would be quite useful!

This one sounds familiar. Having the same dilemma at the moment also... Creating so many "Teams" just to have contextual coversations and events. Team of 25 working on same product/cliente that work in sub-teams (e.g. 5 scrum teams), should I create 1 MS team or 5 MS teams. If I could use 5 channels, 1 for each sub-team and then have common/other channels for full 25 members would this be better/easier to manage/maintain/use?

I too have been looking at limiting membership to specific channels, one of the reasons I feel this is importnt is we have set up overarching directorate teams, and each team that falls under the directorate has its own channel for their daily chat, wips and team admin.


The intention was to also hold team meetings with a single click within teams however when we do this it dials the entire directorate, over 100 people instead of the 10 in our team :( 


Yes I know we can set this up in chat, but for some teams its important to have voice and text done in an open and transparent way, with an audit log to see when the calls were made.

We would really need that feature too. Would make it possible to structure a Team with Sub-Teams. 

Will it be possible to limit access to specific channels through SharePoint? I'am aware as soon as they a member of the team then they receive full access. So just wondering if there has been any updates to this.

So far that I know, you can achieve that for the documents stored under that channel by opening the documents channel in SharePoint, then going to [Site contents]. Once there, click on ... next to Documents and then [Settings]. On that Settings page, select the [Permissions for this document library] link. Be sure here to click on [Stop inheriting permissions].

Once that done, go back to [Documents] on the left menu. You will get one folder by channel. Select the one you want to change permissions en click on the outer right icon next to the filter. It will open the details panel. Here, you are able to [Manage access]. You are able here to stop sharing for Team visitors and Team members.

You are now able to share ad hoc any of your AD's member.


@René Cuchetwhile your approach will work, it has many limitations and I would be very reluctant to recommend this to any of my clients because it will end up causing a great deal of confusion. The team members will still be able to access any of the other resources associate with that channel. The wiki, other tabs, connectors, conversations, notebooks etc will all still work and the team could be confused that they can't use the files. 

@Dean Gross True. My meaning was only Documents wise and is only helpful in case of Team members synchronizing files on their computer. For sure that it can be confusing for Team members but is a good way to take care that some confidential documents are only shared with the right persons without making a apart Team for that.

I gave the example on a Channel level but in our case, I have implemented it on folders under a channel

Hi Memebers!


Are there any updates on this?

@Graeme Baker wrote:

Is there any way to control which channels within a team each team member has access to? Or is it a free for all if you're a member of that team?

Hi Memebers!


Are there any updates on this?

You can use PowerShell to have a look, which user are in which team. In combination with Azure AD/hybrid and some Workflows you can control it. 


An option to connect Azure AD users to Groups/Teams: no
You have only: in or out / not a function like: this members can be a part, but are not members yet.


If you want this -> teams.uservoice

Hi Balazs,

Microsoft mentioned in a couple of sessions at Ignite that they are currently working on permissioning of channels to make them "Private" from the rest of the group, and this would come "some time in 2018". It would have been low on the priority list last year behind voice, but now they have made progress on a lot of that backlog I would hope to hear more on the wider Teams roadmap early this year.


I absolutely agree and can't understand why Teams (a good product in concept) doesn't allow for channels to be restricted to particular members. Making a channel a favourite as a way of making sure people can focus on what pertains to them as members of a sub-team is a clunky solution.

Hi Nicola,


Understand the frustration, I think Teams was just adopted and used in much more complex/deeper ways than Microsoft originally envisioned, where they saw it being an open space where there would be no private content within a Team, but as you say practically that isn't how it is working in the real world! 


Rest assured they are working on it!


Much of the feedback and drive here would be more effective in the correct feedback forum. This item is the second most popular feature request on the Microsoft Teams User Voice Feedback site. As well as voicing your opinions and preferences here, please don't forget to pop over there, vote up the feature request, add your two pence (or cents); Support for Private Channels


Kind regards


The need of "sub team" could be in a client/customer relationship. I.e company A invites users from company B to a team. Company A is the "buying part" and needs to have some internal information within their team and only want to invite company B to some channels for collaboration.

Absolutely. For instance we are using Teams to coordinate with all of our dept. the migration to our new web platform, all dept are separated into corresponding "Department" channels. When we do an @mentionDept to engage a dept, everyone in the Team gets it.

In my case creating a team requires a request to enterprise IT and it does not make it a viable option to create multiple miniteams. So private channels would be so good. 

I agree this would be helpful for my team as well.  I hope  that in the future we will be able to do this.

Agreed. If my team is working on a project for a client, and we add that client as a guest to see some team files in one channel designated for them. We don't want the client to be able to see files in the other channels. We Also don't want to have to create separate teams just for the gust access, or manually apply guest access to each individual file.  Microsoft, if you want more people to adopt your technology, please add the features and usability that we actually need.

Agreed. I'm exactly in the same position. I'm reluctant to create a new team for each client relationship + guest user(s). In addition, I would like all clients to be able to see a "general/announcements" channel on top of theirs. It's my understanding of what slack is offering out of the box (channel level access) but it's a little bit inconvenient to have office 365 subscription and a separate app for communication. Any idea/workaround welcome.
I'm exactly in the same position. I'm reluctant to create a new team for each client relationship + guest user(s). In addition, I would like all clients to be able to see a "general/announcements" channel on top of theirs. It's my understanding of what slack is offering out of the box (channel level access) but it's a little bit inconvenient to have office 365 subscription and a separate app for communication. Any idea/workaround welcome.

the only idea I have is to show Microsoft what's up in the only language they speak. $$$

when friends ask me about my Office 365 subscription I tell them exactly where it falls short, what promises were made and not kept. A few sys Admins I spoke to immediately reversed course on procuring 365 after one of those conversations. Once MS realizes that Slack and others are eating their lunch because of their own shortsightedness, maybe they'll pay more attention to their customers' needs.

It's pretty wild that this still isn't done. 


Essentially limits the usefulness of teams and makes it only appropriate for the most superficial of things. Perhaps that's what they're going for but it would be good to be able to actually use it for real work. 

I guess it depends on what you mean by real work, but I've been using it for the past year on many teams in my consulting company and we find it very helpful

I've found a way to have some folders and files within a Team channel that we can limit guest from being able to see them.

I haven't yet figured out a similar work around for the chat feature, but this is quite useful for limiting file access.

Hope is on the horizon (I hope).  The response to this uservoice suggestion states they are actively working on it, as of August 2018.

We would like to set our document library up so that for example all the finance files are on the Finance Team and are accessible by Finance, Property and the CEO however we only want the Finance team to see the conversations and collaborations that happen in the team site.  Is there a way to restrict what people see in the team site whilst still having access to the document library?


This is not ideal! Create a second library with custom permissions instead

Is this feature implemented?

hi and thanks, we hope that microsoft can develop it too,  we need to put permissions to channels to specific users otherwise we would have to create more teams groups and i don't see it neccesary  !!


Esperamos que microsoft pueda desarrollarlo, necestiamos poner permisos a canales para usuarios especificos de lo contrario tendriamos que crear mas grupos y no lo veo necesario


Thank for your help

Even if they aren't private, is there a way to limit who gets notified? Because like you said, there are some conversations or channels within a group that only pertain to some members - and the whole team doesn't want to get notified. We shouldn't have to create such granular teams to avoid spamming people with unnecessary noise within their own team. As a use case: my "team" at work consists of a sales manager, a few sales reps, sales engineers, consultants, etc.  Some conversations I have about certain accounts are specifically relevant to the consultants and to myself (the account manager), the entire team isn't interested in that channel. Though, if we wanted to pull someone in or to notice the conversation, we could just '@' them. The channel would be open, so anyone can go in and see our conversation (like a manager) but they don't want to know everything... So if you could choose "primary team members" for a channel so they get notified to activity but the rest of the team just has passive access.

If you don’t follow the channel there will be no notifications!

Awesome! Thank you!

@Graeme Baker where can I vote for this feature as well?

@adam deltinger 

That's what they said last year too...  *sigh*

Yeah, at least we know it’s in private preview at MS and the roadmap says 2019, so we can just hope for the best
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