Microsoft Teams groups Emails

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Using Groups in Microsoft Teams is great but there are some problems when trying to receive external emails to a group.

I have been using the new “Technical Preview” of Microsoft Teams for a few months now and, off the bat, I have to say I like it. I always like the idea of connecting together applications into one tool to manage. If you are working with others, this can provide fantastic segregation by only giving people access to what they need.

One thing I like but also am a little WTF, is the apps included with teams have an undeniable resemblance to several other apps in the cloud space. I am referring to Microsoft Planner being a copy of Trello and Teams itself being a clone of Slack. Slack even wrote a posted letter to Microsoft congratulating them on their new product, you can find that here.
Microsoft Teams Web
As it is said “imitation is the highest form a flattery”, but it is not a complete clone in that if you don’t work in the Office 365 space, you will not find this tool useful. This is why I like it so, I loved using slack and Trello but having those tools heavily integrated into my company O365 system is fantastic.

There is always a catch

Unfortunately, this is Microsoft so there are always issues. As I said this is a Technical Preview which is just a polished way of saying BETA, handing it off to customers to find bugs so they don’t have to spend any time testing. I say that as looks like so many minor things have just been forgotten. I may go into some others but the main on for this post is the ability to send emails to your Microsoft Teams created groups from an external email account.

Creating a group in O365 is not overly new and you can do it easily enough from inside your OWA email or from the Admin panel. Once created you can access groups configuration from both areas and set the setting “Let people outside the organisation email the group”.

This is a fantastic setup as I can now use this email address for all external items configured for the client I am working with. Any plugins or tools purchased for the client, I can use this email and then forward copies back to the client. I can also use it to receive communications and files when developing all being sent to a central location, accessible by other staff who have access to this clients group.

The problem I found is when the group is configured in Microsoft Teams, this setting does not work as it should :(. After some messing around with support and some PowerShell scripting I found the issue. There is a configuration parameter not being cleared at present called “AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers” which needs to be set to null for external emails to be allowed. Here is the extent of the PowerShell required to correct this problem.

Here is your solution

Copy the below code into a PowerShell ISE run as Administrator. You can then run the required lines by selecting and pressing F8 key.

# Allow execution of remote policy
Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

# set the credentials for the user who has access to the Office 365 Admin centre
# advise you test this first then use the correct Username (email address) and password
$UserCredential = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session

# List all the groups created
# this will quite large if you have a lot of groups
# will help you find the correct Group Name for the
# -identity parameter in the next call
Get-UnifiedGroup | fl

# get the information for your Group
# Identity will match DisplayName from the last call
Get-UnifiedGroup -Identity "DisplayName" | Format-List

# Now you can set the correct parameter to null for the group
# this allow external accounts to send email to this group
Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity "Sunshine Organics" -AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers $null


Here is what the field will look like for the Group that is currently incorrectly configured:

MrWilde Microsoft Teams Groups incorrect-settings

The -AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers has a value which will contain the group name and ID string. The name has been blurred here for privacy.

It should look like this.

MrWilde Microsoft Teams Groups correct-settings

Now you can see the parameter is NULL or blank and should be able to receive emails from outside the organisation to the group.

Let me know if you have any questions about configuring this. Hope this helps anyone using the new Microsoft Teams Technical Preview.

About Mr Wilde

Technology has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Started with Dick Smith kits when I was 10, I was making FM wireless bugs in high school. After several years working, Electronics Technician, Sound and Lighting Technical Director and then IT Sysadmin, I am going with the flow and leaving the hardware behind, mostly. I am now developing solutions for the cloud, focus on WordPress, SharePoint and Mobile devices. Learning more and more every day.

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