Microsoft Teams Wikis and Meeting Notes: breakdown

What are Teams Wiki and Meeting Notes. What you need to know about them and why you should be using OneNote instead of them. Yes, that’s right. Even through this blog post gives you an overview about how Wikis look don’t use them. OneNote is good. OneNote is your friend. Be a happy Teams user and use OneNote.

When you create a new team your General channel get three tabs: Posts, Files and Wiki. If you look at a Wiki tab you can see a canvas that is divided to pages and sections on the left side (navigation) and the right side includes page title and sections to provide content. Three dot menus give you the link to the page or section and ability to move page/section up or down and to delete it. On the application you can also add new sections or pages.

It is quite painless to start creating content and it is fast.

Each section can have their own conversation thread on channel which makes it easy to share ideas, knowledge and feedback about a specific topic.

Yes, the UI is great. Let’s try out something else like adding a word blogpost in one section and trying to search for it.

First thing to note: wiki content is not searchable. If you want to have a some kind of searchability in Wiki remember to start a conversation about the section and include those words in the Teams chat. But that is just like searching for any other Teams content.

Where are my Wikis stored?

You can find your Wikis as mht files in your team’s SharePoint site in a document library named ”Teams Wiki Data”. It contains a folder for each channel that has wikis. In the folder you can find those files that contain your wiki pages (one file for each page) and images as separate files.

I can open version history of each page using SharePoint feature.

How about version history and deleted page recovery?

Let’s add something to delete and then remove it.. And revert back to version 5.

Wait what… even the restore worked I am still not seeing the deleted parts.

First reason why OneNote should be used instead: Wiki’s version history does not work! If you have important data in your Wiki pages make note that if somebody erases or modifies them the data is lost.

Ok, let’s delete the page from Wiki now.

I think Team’s warning tells you enough:

The page disappears from the document library folder as well. Usually when items are deleted in SharePoint they end up in the Recycle bin. But Wiki pages are an exception and our Wiki page content is lost forever. OneNote has it’s own 60 day recycle bin for deleted pages in case you didn’t knew.

Let’s continue and remove the Wiki tab.

We get a nice warning about permanent deletion this time as well:

Nothing is added to the Recycle Bin. And Wiki library file has been deleted. This is again stands against Teams and SharePoint ways of working: Nothing in Recycle Bin and usually when a tab is removed in Teams the content remains. But not Wiki. Earlier tab removal left hte mht into the library.

If you start adding a new Wiki tab you can only create a new Wiki and you don’t have an option to choose from existing or removed ones.

Based on these: Wikis are not production ready. There is no data recovery or version history. Despite the easy UI the potential risk to loose all data is quite high. And you can’t use search to find Wiki content and Wikis don’t work on mobile Teams. OneNote is far better since it provides recovery of deleted pages, page history, search and supports offline + there is a mobile app available.

Channel Meeting: Meeting Notes

You can begin to input information to Meeting Notes in Channel meetings. Wait what.. This looks like a Wiki:

Yes, since that’s what Meeting Notes are. Wiki pages. Take a look at the Wiki folder

Private Meeting Meeting Notes

And if I start a Meet Now meeting and create Meeting Notes there you can see Wiki folder appearing on my OneDrive under Microsoft Teams Data:

Don’t use Meeting Notes nor Wikis for now. Meeting Notes are just Wikis under a different name. Always use OneNote for meeting notes to have more recovery and usage options like restore pages, page versions, offline and mobile use.

One day Wiki and Meeting Notes will be either production ready or disappear from Teams. But there is no information about roadmap nor hints about that yet. I hope there would be a config setting that could be used to turn off Wikis and Meeting notes in a tenant.

When to use Wikis or Meeting Notes

There are some scenarios when you might want to use Wikis or Meeting Notes

  • information in them is not important. Perhaps it is only a copy of some information (let’s say project codes and information) that is brought to Team for easy access. This kind of information can be recreated from another systems.
  • You need to put some notes down quickly and channel message or meeting chat is just not the right way
  • You take some meetings notes and afterwards manually move them to OneNote. However, this means double work…

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