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What is a channel in Microsoft Teams [Full Explanation]

Messaging apps were originally used for casual, non-work related conversations. There were a few apps that were meant to be used in offices but they worked, more or less, in the same way as other informal messaging apps did. Some may have had an extra feature or two e.g., email integration or a calendar but little else.

Online messaging tools have become quite popular now and almost all the tools that you see used casually are also used at work. Today’s messaging tools have improved a great deal though not just in terms of features but also how they organize conversations.

What is a channel in Microsoft Teams?

A common feature that you’ll find in many messaging apps is called ‘Channels’. You will find them in Discord, Slack, and also in Microsoft Teams.

A channel in Microsoft Teams is a way to center a conversation around a topic. At its core, it’s a method for grouping people but what groups them together can be a topic or a project, or organization structure e.g., a department, or anything else.

Microsoft Teams channels

Every Microsoft Teams team that is created has;

  • One channel called General added to it by default.
  • All members of a team are automatically added to the General team.
  • More channels can be added at any time.
  • Each team is limited to 200 channels.
  • Chat messages, audio calls, video calls, and files can be sent over channels.
  • Are available on both desktop/web and mobile apps.

What is a channel in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams channel features

Apart from being able to make calls, send messages, and share files, a channel has lots of other features.

  • There is a dedicated Files tab that will show you all the files that have been shared over the channel. 
  • Additional tabs can be added to a channel for apps that you use in Microsoft Teams e.g., OneNote, Forms, Jira etc.
  • The audience of a channel can be limited to a select group of team members.
  • A channel can be private or public.
  • You can respond to emails directly from a channel (the feature must be set up and is available for Enterprise licenses).
  • A channel integrates with SharePoint and has its own dedicated space/folder.

Create Channel in Microsoft Teams

If you want to create a channel in Microsoft Teams, you must either be an admin or owner.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams.
  2. Click the more options button next to a team and select Add channel.
  3. Give the channel a name and description.
  4. Select if it’s a private channel or a public channel.
  5. Click Add.


Channels in Microsoft Teams are the same that you’ll find in Discord or Slack but they integrate lots of apps that make them stand out. All of Microsoft Teams’ collaboration features are available in a channel.

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