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…

12 thoughts on “Microsoft Teams Wikis and Meeting Notes: breakdown

  1. The way the MS has integrated meeting notes into Teams is really interesting as it is nearly effortless to use but as you mention it is missing some key features to be production ready!

    At the least it should be
    – searchable,
    – allow users to create tasks or action items, and
    – have some kind of version tracking.

    It is very disappointing that the meeting notes option is not production-ready. The way this feature has been integrated into Teams makes it so easy to use! We will have to do so much more training to get user to avoid the option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If (and that is a big if) meeting notes are copied right after the meeting to OneNote or other place for notes those missing features are not that bad. But we know most of the people don’t do that. And if you had a OneNote for meeting notes.. why not use it in the meeting from the start?
      User training is indeed needed to guide them to do the right way and make use of OneNote as easy as possible.

      Like

  2. Pretty sure that not much in Teams is “production ready”. The whole feel is of something rushed out the door, but not really dressed.

    In a way it reminds me of Visio. Part of the larger MS Office “Suite”, but not really. Spell check, search, half-baked wiki, audio issues, …

    Like

    1. I do think that Teams is very “production ready” in most parts. Documents are stored in SharePoint (compliance, retention, versioning, etc) and recent improvements in compliance, retention and data protection have been a good improvement overall. Teams has been born in the cloud and it is incrementally improving all the time – way faster than any product there is – to meet the needs of organizations and users. Some features are rushed but I see that as a great example how the product group can answer the needs – even when those features are not perfect they still help in the situation as step 1.

      With the latest MS Ignite announcements and updates (most of them rolling into use in 3-4 months) Teams will be taking big steps forward – and also making several quickly released features better.

      Like

  3. Why does standard wiki [[link]] not exist in this wiki implementation, it’s fundamental to wiki fast page creation. Having monsterous url links are impossible to work with!

    Like

    1. I can agree. However I don’t advocate current wiki in Teams due to its other issues. But that is a really good point.

      I prefer to use OneNote as wiki, or even SharePoint pages, rather than this implementation.

      Like

  4. Restoring wiki data:
    note that even if the restore wiki page does not work, there is a way to access the lost data and restore manually:
    When in the history of the mht, if you click on the version you need, the content is opened in a Word document. You can cut and paste it back to the wiki.
    You may encounter format issues, but if you are in trouble with lost data, that may do the job…

    Like

    1. That is a good tip: using the version history and opening a mht via that in Word for copy-paste. And that is also the way to take a backup of your Wiki content as well. But I have to say that this relies heavily on team owner remembering to do that and there isn’t much ways to automate it (perhaps copying the mht with Power Automate might work).

      However in case you haven’t taken a backup and wiki tab is removed you don’t have you data available anymore – nor access to version history.
      My advice stands: don’t use wiki for anything important (ie it doesn’t bother you or anyone else if you loose all the info any second).

      Like

  5. TOPIC: Microsoft Teams – Meeting Notes Access

    Hi Vesa,

    Do you happen to know if there is a solution to the Microsoft Teams issue where only people who are invited to a meeting before notes are created will have access to them?

    I added my boss to a Teams meeting we had last week and he CAN’T see the meeting notes. Eeeek!!

    I know there is now an option to “request” access to the notes, but unfortunately that’s not an option for us.

    Any feedback and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    – Stacy

    Like

    1. Hi Stacy!

      Looking at Meeting Notes support page ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/take-meeting-notes-in-teams-3eadf032-0ef8-4d60-9e21-0691d317d103?WT.mc_id=M365-MVP-5003326 ) it states

      1. Only people in the same org as the meeting organizer will be able to start or access meeting notes.
      2. Meeting notes are available in meetings with up to 100 people.
      3. Only people who are invited to a meeting before notes are created will have access to them initially. Others can request access, and the owner of the notes will be notified via email.

      I assume the first two points are not the issue here, but the issue is that your boss wasn’t invited to the meeting before meeting notes where created.
      So unfortunately the only option is to “request access”. And unfortunately I don’t know is it going to be fixed.

      Scenarios like this are one big reason why I ALWAYS recommend to use OneNote instead of meeting notes (or wiki). That way access to the notebook can be controlled later much easier. Of course this requires that the notebook is shared/set up before the meeting and the link to the book is provided in the agenda (preferred way) or at latest in the meeting chat.

      In your case perhaps the best way would be create and share a OneNote notebook with your team & boss and copy-paste the notes from Meeting notes into OneNote book.

      Like

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