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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Creating a Simple No Code Custom Apps in Microsoft Teams


With the massive growth of Microsoft Teams since the start of the global COVID19 pandemic and Microsoft’s focus on pushing Teams as its primary collaboration interface. Organisations are now looking at how Teams can be used to optimise their End User experience by customising the solution to meet their corporate needs.


In this blog article we will look at how you can quickly create No Code apps for Microsoft Teams and deploy them to the App Catalog for your internal users/ organisation to deploy to the End Users Teams client.


Creating a simple App in Microsoft Teams with App Studio


One of the quickest and easiest way to create a simple custom Teams application is by using the “App Studio” app in the Microsoft Teams App Catalog. To install the “App Studio” app in Microsoft Teams follow the steps below.


Note: If you cannot find the “App Studio” app in Microsoft Teams this could be because your administrator has restricted which apps you are able to install within your organisation.

1. Open your Microsoft Teams client and navigate to the Apps Catalog.




2. In the Search field under the Apps title at the top of the left panel type: “App Studio” to find the App Studio application and click the App.




3. Click the “Add” button to install the App Studio application into your Microsoft Teams client.




4. You have now installed “App Studio” and are ready to start creating your first App.




Creating an App in App Studio for Microsoft Teams


If you have ever worked with Microsoft SharePoint or Teams development, you might be familiar with some of the terms within the App Studio menu’s such as the “Manifest Editor”. If not then no problem, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started.


In this example we are going to create a Teams App that provides access to your SharePoint Intranet directly inside your Microsoft Teams client.


1. On the Manifest editor tab click the “Create a new app” button.




2. Congratulations! You have now started building your first App in Teams. In the new window that opens fill in the following information.




App Names:

Short name: Intranet
Full name: Corporate Intranet



App ID: Click the “Generate” button to create a unique App ID.
Package Name: EG:
Version: 1.0.0



Short description: Enter a short description of your app. This will appear when you search for the App in the App Store.
Full description:


Developer Information:

Name: Your Company Name
Website: Your Company Website


Partner Information:

MPN ID: This is only needed if you are planning on submitting your Teams App to the public Microsoft App Store for teams.

App URL’s:

Privacy statement: A link to your legal Privacy statement webpage.
Terms of use: A link to your Teams app Terms of use webpage.



Full colour: Used in the App Store
Transparent Outline: Used in the Teams App Menu
Accent colour: EG: Used to define button outline colours in the App Store





Leave these properties at the default value.


The above details are the framework for creating your app and any future apps will likely be very similar but with different names, a unique app id, package name, logo etc.


Now onto the fun part…


Adding functionality to out Microsoft Teams custom App


In this example we are going to add some “Tabs” to our custom Microsoft Teams app, but it is at this point you can get very creative and start to define the app to meet your business requirements.


1. Click the Tabs menu item in the left hand pane under Capabilities and then click the Add button under the section Add a personal tab.




2. In the popup window that appears enter the following details for your Tab in your custom Microsoft Teams App.




Personal tab:

Name: Intranet (The name you want to appear on the tab)

Entity ID: IntranetTab001 (A unique ID for your tab)

Content URL: https://<tenantname><PageUrl> (The application URL you want to open in your tab. Please see below for further details.)


The Content URL for our SharePoint Intranet in this example is unfortunately not as simple as you might have first thought. First of all we need to pass the Microsoft SharePoint Teams login URL https://<tenantname> This will authenticate the Teams client in Sharepoint. Then we need to add a parameter that redrects us to the page we want. EG: ?SPFX=true&dest=/sites/intranet/SitePages/Home.aspx


The completed URL will look similar to the URL below with your tenant name and destination url.


This example uses SharePoint but in reality you can use almost any URL. For example a custom web application in Microsoft Azure or in some cases the URL of a line of business application in your organisation.


3. Click the Save button once you have filled in the above information.


Note: It is not necessary to fill in the “Website URL” but in this example you could if you want to add the URL of your intranet page.



NOTE: I have seen issues in App Studio when creating a personal tab that result in the “About” tab being created automatically which then causes errors when trying to install the custom app.

Error while reading manifest.json: "staticTabs[0].name" is required

"staticTabs[0].contentUrl" is required


At the time of writing it was not possible to edit the About tab via App Studio.

The easiest way to resolve this issue is to manually remove the “About” tab from the manifest file using a code editor. (EG: Notepad, Visual Studio Code, etc).

To be able to access the manifest.json file you will need to export the app and manually make these changes.

1. Click “Test and distribute” in the left-hand navigation pane under the Finish Section and then click “Download”.


2. A .zip file we downloaded to your Downloads folder on your PC. Unzip the folder and open the manifest.json file in a text editor.




3. In the text editor find the following code and delete it.



"entityId": "about",

"scopes": [





4. Save the manifest.json file and add it back to the .zip file you downloaded.


Note: It is important the new .zip folder has the same file structure as the .zip folder you downloaded. The manifest.json file should not be nested inside another folder. (See below for an example)




Defining Permissions and Security for a Custom Microsoft Teams App


It is important that you configure your Custom Microsoft Teams App with the correct permissions and security. In this section we go through how to secure the app using Microsoft’s App Studio.


1. Click on Domains and permissions in the left-hand pane to setup the Trusted domains and security permissions for your custom app.




2. Under the Valid domains section in the right hand pane you should see the url for your Microsoft SharePoint tenant. (The valid domain should have been added automatically based on the URL you specified in your personal tab.)




It is also possible to setup Single-Sign-On for your custom Microsoft Teams App. This can be very useful when deploying line of business applications to Teams providing an optimised End User Experience.


Using Azure Active Directory (AAD) it is possible to create App Registrations to enable SSO. For this example we are going to use the default AAD App Registration for SharePoint Online.


See Microsoft Docs for more details:

3. In the AAD APP ID Section enter the following unique ID used by SharePoint Online.



4. Under Single-Sign-On enter the URL of your SharePoint tenant. EG: https://<tenantName> (Remember to replace <tenantName> with your tenant name.)



Installing and Testing your Microsoft Teams App

You are now ready to install and test your first custom Microsoft Teams app. App Studio makes this process very simple.

1. Click Test and distribute under the Finish section in the left-hand pane of App Studio.




2. Click the Install button to deploy the Custom Microsoft Teams App you have just created.


3. In the popup window that appears click the Add button.




4. The new Intranet App we have created will now launch inside of Microsoft Teams.




The above is just a simple example of the possibilities that are available when developing No (Low) Code custom Apps for Microsoft Teams. I hope you found this inspirational. Please share any ideas you might have for your future custom Teams apps in the comments below.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Access Microsoft Teams documents in Windows File Explorer


Old habits die hard when implementing new technologies for end users. The new world of Modern Workplace and working with online files can be a big jump for some users in your organisation, so it is nice to know that there are ways of making things feel a little more familiar.


There are huge advantages for storing your files in Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Team, including improved accessibility, versioning, searchability, and the list goes on…




What if your users like working with documents from within Windows File Explorer as they have done for the last few decades? For as long as I can remember we have always used File Explorer to access our documents but recently there has been a major change in how we work.


In this blog we describe how you can have the best of both worlds by both accessing files online in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint but also having the ability to use Windows File Explorer for quick and familiar access to document libraries you use on a regular basis.


One of the nice features of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint is the ability to sync files to Windows File Explorer giving you the best of both worlds Modern Workplace flexibility and the classic Windows Explorer familiarity. Industry trends are seeing organisations dropping their old file servers and choosing to migrating file structures to SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams to save on costs and improve the End User experience.


How do I Sync my files to Window File Explorer from Microsoft Teams or SharePoint?

If there is a Microsoft Team or SharePoint site that you use on a regular basis it can make sense to “Sync” your files between your local PC and Microsoft Teams/SharePoint.

Note: Microsoft Teams is built on Microsoft SharePoint and therefore the same Sync feature is available within the Teams files tab.

If you have OneDrive for Business already configured on your PC this is a very simple process alternatively you will need to login to your OneDrive Account.


1. Click on the Sync button on the top menu bar as shown in the picture below.



2. Click Open Microsoft OneDrive to Sync the files to Windows File Explorer.




3. Open Windows File Explorer and you will see a new building icon in the left-hand pane.




These are the files you have just synced from Teams/SharePoint. As with Microsoft OneDrive any changes to files both online and on your PC will be synced ensuring you have the latest version.


If you have not setup Microsoft OneDrive for Business, you will need to login to your OneDrive account. Follow the steps in the wizard to login to your OneDrive.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Block non-compliant devices from syncing corporate data using OneDrive

For some organizations there is a concern when deploying OneDrive for Business that users will access corporate data from their personal device. I completely understand you!

To address those concerns, it is possible to restrict OneDrive so that it only synchronizes files to domain-joined computers. Normally in this case a policy named “Allow syncing only on PCs joined to specific domains” would be activated in the OneDrive admin module. Jobs DONE!


HOWEVER, you will limit your policy to only include Domain joined or hybrid joined devices.

If you somehow are changing from old school management to the new and more modern management and would like to sync your OneDrive data and use features like known folder backup of desktop, documents and pictures. This is prohibited if this policy has been applied. This is what you get:


Not really what you wanted?

How do we prohibit OneDrive sync from happening outside your organization on devices not managed?

Conditional Access comes to the rescue.

Go to your endpoint manager console

Devices –> Condition Access –> Add

Name: Block non-compliant device from OneDrive Sync


Always, when configuring CA, start small and when working as intended, add more users.



As OneDrive uses same engine as SharePoint, we will choose “Office 365 SharePoint Online” as selected app




As we do not want to block if users are traveling or at home, we will block defined on “Device state”. To access OneDrive your device will need to be either Hybrid domain joined or Compliant. This also means that we need to have Intune in place.






Save your CA and test that it works as intended. Now I have 2 virtual machines, one compliant and one non-compliant.


From a non-compliant windows device:



From a non-compliant mobile device (iOS) (text in Danish clip_image001)


However, you have the possibility here to gain access if you let Intune manage your device.

From a compliant Windows Device





Happy testing! Winking smile

Friday, June 5, 2020

Restrict the ability to Edit documents in Microsoft Teams.


Have you ever wondered how you restrict users from editing documents in Microsoft Teams?


Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic Microsoft Teams usage has grown by 70% to 44 million daily users. So, with such a popular tool there is no wonder that people have started to ask.


How do I restrict access to documents in my Microsoft Teams?

This article provides you with a step-by-step guide on how you can restrict access to your files within your Microsoft Team.



Microsoft has designed the Teams App as a collaboration tool for end users to communicate and collaborate on content as a team no matter where the user is located. Reducing the need for employees to travel to meetings and therefore increasing the effectivity of the company’s workforce. Standard Microsoft Teams functionality means when whenever a user adds a member to their Team, they are automatically given access to edit and contribute to content within the Microsoft Teams App.





It is possible as the Owner of the Team to restrict the ability of members within a group from editing documents. As you may well know, Microsoft Teams is built on several familiar Microsoft technologies one of which is SharePoint. Those of you who have worked with Microsoft SharePoint in the past you have more than likely come across the 3 standard security groups found in SharePoint, (Site Owners, Site Members and Site Visitors). These standard 3 security groups provide the ability to restrict edit access to documents within SharePoint. By leveraging SharePoint security, we can restrict access to documents within the Microsoft Teams App.




The following steps provide details on how you can restrict edit access to documents within you Teams Site. (These steps can be carried out via the Teams Web Interface or the client.) This can be applied to all the Microsoft Teams members or more granularly via a more manual process.


1. Open your Microsoft Teams client and click the Teams Tab on the left-hand menu.




2. Click the Files tab on the top menu bar




3. Click the Open in SharePoint button to open the General folders Document library within SharePoint.




4. Click the settings icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen and click Site permissions.




5. On the Permissions window you will find the 3 SharePoint Security Groups we mentioned earlier. If you wish to removed edit access to all of your users on Teams site, you will need to change the permissions for the Teams Group and add them to the Site Visitors group instead. Click Site members to expand the group.




6. Below the <TeamsName> Members group click Edit and select Read from the dropdown list.




7. The <TeamsName> Members group will now appear under the Site visitors SharePoint Group as shown below. All users that previously had member access to the documents on your Teams site now have Read only access to those documents.




8. In the Microsoft Teams App users will be able to see which documents they have Read only access to via an icon that appears next to the document/folders in Teams






It is also possible to restrict access to individual Microsoft Teams users however this requires some additional administration of permissions within the Microsoft SharePoint Document Library that Teams uses.


If you require assistance with Security and Governance surrounding Microsoft Office 365 please feel to Contact Us at