Microsoft Teams: Guest Access at Duke

Available February 1, 2022

At Duke, Microsoft Teams owners now can choose whether to add guests (non-Duke participants) as members to their team.

Guest members can:

  • Participate in Team chats
  • Participate in private chats with other team members (not Duke at large)
  • Access a channel Files tab and add/edit files
  • Access the channel SharePoint site
  • Participate in voice and video calls
  • See full chat history of channels they are a member of

Guest members cannot:

  • Create new Teams
  • Contact Duke faculty/staff/students who aren’t members of their team
  • Add tabs/bots/connectors to a channel
  • Invite other guests to the channel
  • Create meetings or access schedules
  • Become a Team owner

Guest members will have (Guest) appended to their name in their chat history and when viewing the Team's membership. In addition, there is a small icon to the left of the Meet button

Teams Guest Icon

See Add guests to a team in Teams for both instructions on adding a guest and more details on identifying a team with guests.

Only team owners can add guest members. When an owner invites a guest, they will receive an email from 'Microsoft Teams' informing them that they've been invited to a team. There is a button they will use to accept the invitation. The guest experience from that point will depend on if they already have a Microsoft account already. If not, they will be prompted to create one.


If an invitee gets an 'Invitation redemption failed' error, ask them if they have another email address(alias) at their institution and try inviting them using that email address instead. For instance, here at Duke everyone has and email addresses, it's probable your guest has similar situation.

If you get "We didn't find any matches" when attempting to invite a guest, you aren't a Team owner. Only Team owners can invite guests.

Best Practices

It is important to note that any guest added to a team channel will have full visibility of that channel’s chat and file history.

Some Teams may contain sensitive info or private conversations that you don’t intend for guests outside of Duke to see.  Do not add guests to these Teams.  They will see your entire chat history and files.  Instead, create a new Team with similar membership, and name it so it’s clear there are guests invited.  Consider renaming your existing team too.

For example: Start with “Office Team”, rename it to “Office Team (Duke only)” and create a new “Office Team (with guests)”.  Manage membership to fit your intentions.

Best Practice: You can’t keep Guests from seeing your chat history and you can’t keep them out of the General channel, but you can create a private channel within a Team.  You can then exclude guests from the private channel.

Relevant Microsoft Documentation:

Article number: KB0035213

Valid to: March 28, 2025