Chat, Channels and Private Channels in Teams

From Help Wiki

Microsoft Teams has multiple ways of managing conversations and information. This article will compare chat, channels and private channels. Everyone has access to chat. When a person is added to a team they will have access to channels and private channels.


Chat is useful for short-lived communications between specific people. Read our Group Chat article for details on group chat.

  • You can chat with anyone with an Evergreen account
  • You can with people that you are not on a team with
  • Group chats can be named and organized
  • Files uploaded to a chat are stored in the OneDrive of the uploader
  • There are fewer options to add apps to the chat


When a team is created additional behind the scenes tools are created. A Microsoft 365 group is made for the team. Also, a SharePoint site is created for file storage. While working in Teams you often won't need to be aware of things like groups and Sharepoint, you can do most of the work in Teams. There are some Microsoft 365 services like Planner and group forms that require a group. These services will work in channels but not chat or private channels.

  • Each team can have multiple channels.
  • Each person could belong to multiple teams.
  • All members of a team can see all channels on a team
  • Users can hide channels that they do not need to check regularly
  • Each channel has a Posts tab for conversations
    • Only members of a team can see the posts
  • File uploaded to a channel are added to the channels SharePoint storage
    • By default all members of the team will have read and write access
    • Each channel has a folder in the Documents folder of the SharePoint site
  • There are more options to add additional app tabs to a channel.

Private Channels

A Team can also have private channels that are limited to specific users of a team. People that are used to using private channels in Slack might want to think of using group chats instead of a private channel in teams. For more details, Microsoft has an article on Private Channels.

  • Each team can only have 30 private channels
  • Each private channel has its own SharePoint site
  • Some apps can be added to tabs
  • Private channels do not have a Microsoft 365 group like a Team does
    • You can not add tabs for Planner and Forms to a private channel