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Teams Top Tips – Navigating in Teams using Wiki magic

Navigation within Teams is a problem. Most hyperlinks from a Teams tab to another part of Teams don’t work. This Tips article helps solve the problem

I spend a lot of time in Microsoft Teams. I really find it a powerful tool to not only communicate with colleagues, partners and clients, but also a brilliant tool for pulling together tools, information and web assets (pages, SharePoint libraries etc) into tasks and workstreams. I tend to create a channel for each activity and add the things I need as tabs in that channel. It’s like having a context specific app launcher and favourites list for everything I do, with all the content and tools available without having to jump out to a browser or other application. Excellent for remaining focused on the task at hand (there is neuroscience that explains why that’s important [1]).

Teams gaps, part 1

Unlike other tools, Teams is excellent at allowing the same content to appear to exist in many places. That travel booking tool I use, it’s accessible in my sales meetings Area and also in my conferences and exhibitions Area (‘Areas’ are what Microsoft inadvisably calls ‘teams’, in Teams. Calling them Areas is just so much better). However, sometimes I just need to jump over to a completely different Area to continue a task.

For example, I’m in an account channel in our Sales Area and want to quickly get to the Sales Order Document for our recent project win; sensibly that report is in the Finance Area. The sales account channel already has 5 or 6 tabs; adding Finance stuff  and any more would be confusing. A link to the SOD tab in the Finance Area would be perfect, which I  could create as a page in SharePoint. Even better, I could add my Sales OneNote to a tab; it’s quicker, easier and more dynamic than creating a page, even in the lovely Modern SharePoint experience.

The trouble is that Teams has a flaw. It absolutely refuses to let you click a link to jump to a different part of Teams, whether from a web page or OneNote or anything else you add to a tab. It just doesn’t have an internal mechanism for doing that. I have even spoken to the Microsoft engineers about it, added it to User Voice and done the Twitter thing, to no avail. Interestingly, though, it does work from a link in a chat…

Teams gaps, part 2

And another thing… the Teams Wiki! What’s it even there for? You can add a OneNote workbook with about 2 clicks and it’s so much better. At least 2 orders of magnitude more useful. If you don’t believe me, try adding an image in the Wiki and make it a link. Or use any [[wiki syntax]]. Or anything useful at all really. My recommendation has always been to delete the Wiki tab on sight (at least you can do that, unlike the Posts and Files tab – but that’s another story). Anything you can do in the Wiki you can do much better in OneNote…

The Art of War

And now, an apparent departure from the story.

As a liberal rationalist, I’m really not in favour of war. So it’s odd that the 5th-century (Common Era) Ping-fa [2] should be one of my go-to references. You can read more yourself via the links, but the key point I’m eventually getting to is that, in it, Sun Tsu talks about turning problems on their head and using them to create advantage. I may not care for people killing each other, but I do care for businesses thriving by problems being solved, and a bit of ancient Chinese wisdom can help.

So, back to the plot. Having deleted all my Wiki tabs and made no progress with Microsoft about being able to navigate via a link within Teams, a chance conversation produced a ‘Eureka!’ moment. “If”, I wondered, “links within chat in Teams do what I want, will they also function from the Wiki?”

And just like that, the problem was solved. It turns out that you can add a URL in the Wiki to link to another Area, to a Channel or even a deep link to a tab, whereupon Teams obligingly takes you straight there.

Making it happen

Since you have kindly and resolutely read through my ramblings, here is a short series of pictures showing the steps and end results.

Step 1 Add the Wiki

It’s easy to re-add the Wiki tab to channels, if you previously deleted them. Click the “Add a tab” plus symbol, choose the light green Wiki icon; when the confirmation pops up, name the tab ‘Navigation’.

Image showing how to add the Wiki tab
Figure 1 Insert the Wiki, then rename it

Step 2 Grab your links to places in Teams

Get the link to an Area:

Image showing how to get an Area link
Figure 2 Link to a Teams Area

To a channel:

Image showing how to get a Channel Area link
Figure 3 Link to an Area Channel

Or to a specific tab:

Image showing how to get a tab link
Figure 4 Deep link to a tab

Copy the link it offers

Image showing how to copy a link
Figure 5 Copy the link

Step 3 Build your navigation page using the Wiki tab

Just type in a descriptive heading for your links in the Wiki, then add your link. There is a proper link button to add the complex hyperlink behind some appropriate text. Note that you can’t make an image a link.

Image showing a Wiki-based navigation
Figure 6 Wiki based navigation tab, with links to other Teams Areas, channels and tabs

You can create additional ‘pages’ in the Wiki for other things if you really want to, but I’m happy enough that I solved the Navigation issue.

And that’s it for this episode. Watch this space for other Top Teams Tips.

[1]  Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Further explorations, Gabriel A. Radvansky ,Sabine A. Krawietz &Andrea K. Tamplin, Pages 1632-1645 | Received 24 May 2010, Accepted 25 Feb 2011, Published online: 10 May 2011

[2] The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

By Simon Hudson

Simon Hudson is an entrepreneur, health sector specialist and founder of Cloud2 Ltd. and Kinata Ltd. and, most recently, Novia Works Ltd. He has an abiding, evangelical interest in information, knowledge management and has a lot to say on best practice use of Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and cloud technologies, the health sector, sustainability and more. He has had articles and editorials published in a variety of knowledge management, clinical benchmarking and health journals. He is a co-facilitator of the M365 North User Group Leeds and is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Hull.

Simon is passionate about rather too many things, including science, music (he writes and plays guitar & mandola), skiing, classic cars, technology and, by no means least, his family.


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