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Standard channels are available to all team members in Teams. Most channels are standard channels. If you need a smaller, specific audience for a particular subject, you can use a private channel. Shared channels are for collaborating with people inside and outside your team or organization. 

Note: When you create a new team or private or shared channel in Microsoft Teams, a team site in SharePoint gets automatically created. To edit the site description or classification for this team site, go to the corresponding channel’s settings in Microsoft Teams

Let’s take a look at each type:

Standard channels

  • They’re open for all team members and anything posted is searchable by others.

  • By default, all members of a team can create standard channels. Org owners can change this permission and limit channel creation and permissions to certain roles.

  • You can't convert a standard channel to a private channel and vice versa.

Private channels

  • These are for discussions that shouldn’t be open to all team members, so you must be invited to join one to view it within a team.

  • By default, any team owner or team member can create a private channel and add members. Guests can't create them. Your admin can change this permission and limit private channel creation to certain roles.

  • You can't convert a private channel to a standard channel; when a private channel is created, it's linked to the parent team and can't be moved to a different team

Files that you share in a channel (viewable on the Files tab) are stored in SharePoint. To learn more, see How SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business interact with Teams.

Note: Files shared in a private channel are only viewable by the members of the channel and are stored in a separate SharePoint from the rest of the team's files.

Private channel meetings and calls

External guests can join a team's private channel meeting or Meet now call, but there are a few things to know.

  • They're only able to participate if a member of the private channel sends them a link to join the meeting, or calls them during the meeting to meet now.

  • During the meeting or call, they'll have temporary access to chat, files, whiteboard, notes, and the participants list (those not in the Outlook invite), but not after.

Shared channels

  • They're for collaborating with people inside and outside your team or organization. 

  • Only team owners can create shared channels, and only shared channel owners can add members or share the channel with a team.

  • Only people who are owners or members of a shared channel can access it, so you must be invited to join one.

  • You can't convert a shared channel into a standard or private channel and vice versa.

Note: Admins must enable B2B direct connect before you can add people outside your org to a shared channel. To learn more, see Collaborate with external participants in a channel.

Note: For more details, see What is a shared channel?.

Want to learn more?

First things to know about channels

Create a standard, private, or shared channel

Related articles

Change a team's data security classification in Teams

Manage channel policies

Why use a shared channel versus other channel types?

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