With External Access for Teams, you can invite people outside of your org to a chat or receive an invite yourself from another org. This includes one-on-one chats or adding others to a new or existing group chat.

Note: All external invitees must use Teams. Also, certain external orgs may be blocked by your org, or your org may be blocked, returning a no results found error after an external invite. For more info, check with your admin.

External invitees can edit and delete sent messages, set delivery options, format text, use emoji, stickers, and GIFs in conversations, use @mentions, and show their status in a chat. However, they can’t share or attach files or use tags or apps.

A badge shown at the top of a chat indicates External Access participants as well as a label after their name in the chat.

External badge

Invite someone outside of your org to a one-on-one chat

  1. On the left side of Teams, select Chat  Blue chat icon and then New chat  Teams new chat iconto start a new chat.

    Invite someone outside of Teams

  2. Type the person’s email address [name@organization.com] that you want to invite to chat. Note that they also must use Teams.

    ► If the name matches, such as someone you’ve invited before, select their name.

    ► If there isn’t a name match, select Search [email address] externally to send them a chat invite. 

    No external match

  3. To start the chat, type a message in the text box at the bottom and then select Send  Send icon.

    Tip: If you want to format the message before you send it (optional), choose one of the formatting options at the bottom of the chat before sending.

Invite someone outside of your org to a group chat

If you’re starting a new group chat, follow the steps as described for a one-on-one chat, but add more than one person and either type a message or select the arrow to the right to add a Group name (optional) and then type a message. 

Add group name

Note: A group chat is limited to 250 people, although each person may be from a different organization that uses Teams.

If you’re adding someone to an existing group chat:

  1. Choose or be active in the existing group chat that you want to add the person to.

  2. Select View and add participants  Add participants icon below your profile picture at the upper right of Teams, and then choose  Add participants iconAdd people.

    Add people to a chat

  3. Before you type the person’s email address below Add, choose if and how you want to include any chat history. You may add more than one person at a time.

    Chat history

    ► If you see a name match under Add, choose their name, and then select Create. You’ll then see the person added to the group chat.

    ► If there isn’t an immediate name match (no results found), choose Search [email address of person] externally to send them a chat invite.

    Note: You may only add people to existing chats that already include external access participants. Otherwise, you’ll create a new group chat with the internal participants and the external person that you’re adding.

  4. To start or continue the chat, type a message in the text box at the bottom and then select Send Teams chat send button icon.

    Tip: If you want to format the message before you send it (optional), choose one of the formatting options at the bottom of the chat before sending.

More things to know

  • You can have a group chat with up to 249 other organizations.

  • In most cases, people invited through External Access may interact with each other and see each other’s profiles.

  • External Access is turned on by default, but it can be turned off or restricted by an org’s admin, such as blocking certain addresses or domains.

  • You can’t prevent other external Teams users from inviting you to chat unless your admin changes this setting.

Related links

Start a one-on-one or group chat
Overview of group chats
Leave or remove someone from a group chat
Chat in a Teams meeting



 

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