Microsoft Teams: Use an Existing SharePoint Library


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Have you had a need to connect an existing SharePoint file repository to a team in Microsoft Teams? Perhaps you have a legacy SharePoint document library that has been in use for years, and stores many files valuable to the organization. I'd like to explore with you how to connect that existing document library to a channel in a team, so you can continue to use that investment without having to migrate data to the document library in Teams.

First, background on files in Teams:

When a new channel is created within an existing team, a document library is created within the Office 365 Group the team is associated with. This document library is "pinned" to the channel as a tab called Files. This allows you to interact with the files in the document library directly within Teams without having to leave the application. Here's a couple of examples of what this looks like:

 

 

If you are curious about the relationship between document libraries and teams/channels, here's a nice diagram that helps to describe that relationship:

What if I want to use an existing document library?

If you have an existing document library from another SharePoint team site, it's possible to connect that library to the channel in Microsoft Teams. To do this, within the channel click the + icon at the top of the channel to add a new tab to the channel:


On the Add a tab dialog box, click SharePoint:


Next, in the SharePoint dialog box, you will be presented with two options: Relevant sites and Use a SharePoint link. Click Use a SharePoint Link:


In the Library Url field, type the URL of the document library. For my demonstration I will use https://m365x367101.sharepoint.com/sites/onlinemarketing/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx once entered click Go: and the site will appear. Then click Next.

On the Pick a document library dialog box, select the document library you wish to connect to. For my demonstration I will use Documents then click Next.

On the Name your tab, give your tab a name ( I will use Online Marketing Documents) then click Save. (Note, the Post to the channel about this tab is checked. I like to do this as it alerts other team members in the conversation feed that this tab was created.


The Online Marketing Documents tab has now been created, and my existing files from the document library is shown. I can now interact with those files, and based on my preference , click the Open in SharePoint button to launch the SharePoint team site where that existing library lives.

What if I don't want to add a new tab?

If you do not wish to create a new tab from within the Files tab click Add cloud storage and then select SharePoint and follow the same on-screen instructions. This will create a new folder in the files tab that links to the SharePoint document library. This might be useful to make Teams simple to adopt and reduce complexity for end-users.

 

Click Add cloud storage

Click SharePoint


Following the same wizard as above when I created a tab, I will enter the Url of my document library.

Select Documents then click Next

Click Add folder

The document library will be added as a folder, (note the SharePoint icon on the folder).

Conclusion: This is a very easy way to bring existing SharePoint functionality such as a document library into Microsoft Teams so that your users can collaborate effectively in the team hub.

Comments (4)

  1. A good walk through Matt. Teams seems to be a game changer, but the migration question (from an existing SharePoint library to Teams) is not a little one. Solutions above look sound. Curious if you have looked at doing this in planner as well.

  2. Fubert says:

    anyone encountered issues when trying to upload files to a sharepoint doclib added in teams as a folder (add cloud storage –> link –> …) ? when we try to upload a document, it produces a little error notification in teams (bottom right corner). then the file is there but the size column says 0.00 and you can’t open or delete it. also, if you then go to sharepoint, the file is there but you can’t do anything with it, no chance to delete it. sharepoint permissions should be okay (teamsite owner), also uploading in sharepoint works as expected.

  3. Devinder Gill says:

    Seems to work well. However, if you wanted to remove the link, it gives you an option only to “delete”. This could scare some people thinking the Sharepoint library could be deleted rather than the link. Should this be renamed to be “unlink”?

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