Microsoft Teams deep links in email signatures

Are you using Microsoft Teams? Advertised as “the hub for teamwork in Office 365”, in most cases it allows employees to communicate and collaborate with high efficiency. And there is more than one way to direct your co-workers to this channel, to make communication even more seamless. The secret is to use deep links.

Microsoft Teams deep links in email signatures

Deep links can make both your email signatures and Teams even more useful. You don’t know what deep links are? I’ll be happy to explain.

Deep links are most commonly used by developers who want to integrate Teams with other applications. It does not mean, however, that it takes a power user to use deep links in practice. In this article, I will show how to use deep links in email signatures to:

Finally, as an extra treat, I will present how to distribute those features to all employees without them lifting a finger.

Who does not love emails? In the business world, it is the bread and butter of communication. However, in some cases, it is more efficient to discuss some matters in a group chat. Microsoft Teams allows creating such chats and deep linking makes it possible to do this directly from an email. First, let’s look at the deep link’s format:

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/chat/0/0?users=<mailbox 1>,<mailbox 2>&message=<message content>


Such a link, when clicked or pasted into a browser, will open a Teams chat window with the comma-separated users, identified by their UPNs. Additionally, the <message content> will appear in the chatting window, ready to be sent.

As you may know, URLs are not happy with all characters. While it is perfectly fine to type in a message with spaces (they will be converted to their URL value %20), question marks and all other punctuation marks need to be inserted manually by using their codes. W3schools offers a good reference point for that.

So, for example, the following link will open a chat window with T. Edison and F. Sinatra, with the message “Hi guys! How are the preparations for the event going?”

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/chat/0/0?users=t.edison@example.com,f.sinatra@example.com&message=Hi guys%21How are the preparations for the event going%3F

Another kind of Teams’ deep link that might come in handy in email signatures is a scheduling link. Clicking such a link will bring up a scheduling dialog with the person who clicks as the organizer and the attendees specified in the link. The format is as follows:

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meeting/new?subject=<subject>&startTime=<date>&endTime=<date>&content=<content>&attendees=<list of comma-separated user UPNs>


I would not recommend using the time-related attributes in email signatures. I explain why in the Limitations section of the article.

A sample link below will open a scheduling dialog with the meeting subject “afternoon tea” and “Created from an email signature” as the content. John D. and Brian S. are selected as the attendants of the meeting. The Scheduling assistant lets you choose a good time for the meeting.

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meeting/new?subject=afternoon tea&content=Created from an email signature&attendees=john.d@example.com,brian.s@example.com

Schedule a meeting in teams using deep links

Limitations

The sad part is that the links will work only for those who have the Teams client installed (the browser version does not seem to work as well) and who are part of your organization.

When it comes to the scheduling dialog, the startTime and endTime attributes look like they might come in handy, but rather not for static links in email signatures. Here is why:

First, according to a Microsoft Docs article on deep links, you need to enter the date in the “long ISO 8601 format”. Add to it that URLs do not support all special signs, and the right formatting becomes a very troublesome task.

Secondly, think about using a specific date and time in such a link. In most cases, you would need to update the link on a regular basis. And what if the time you specify is already taken? It is much more reasonable not to use those optional attributes and let your co-workers use the Scheduling assistant to pick the right time.

Still, despite those problems, deep links in email signatures might come in handy. Fortunately, there is a way to make them appear in email signatures automatically, without any action on the user’s end.

Add personalized links to everyone’s signatures

Now, if you wanted every user in your organization to use those links, you will encounter some obstacles:

  • Creating deep links with the right attributes for each user.
  • Distributing those links to Outlook, OWA, and whatever other email client your users might be having, or guiding users to do so.
  • Making sure those links will be sent only inside the organization, since they do not work for external recipients.

Bring all those things together and it turns out that adding those links into users’ signatures is an extremely time-consuming or even nearly impossible task. Fortunately, you can avoid all these hurdles by using CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 is an email signature management tool which ensures all your email communication is signed with professional email signatures. Here is how to use it to automatically deploy email signatures with personalized deep links:

  1. Create a new email signature rule, only for internal emails.
  2. Pick one of the designs from the signature template library. Since it is an internal email signature, it is a good idea to create a short and simple template.
  3. Now, in the email signature editor, add some text to which you would like to add a deep link, highlight it, and click the Link button on the ribbon.
    Insert hyperlink in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365
  4. Now, specify a deep link in the general form (without specific references).
    Paste the hyperlink into your email signature design
  5. Access the HTML source code view from the ribbon.
    Access HTML source code view
  6. In the HTML code view, find the <mailbox> part and replace it with the {E-mail} placeholder, then specify the <message content>. You can apply those changes to other links (for example, a scheduling link), as well. When you are done, click Apply & Close to close the source code view and apply changes to your template.
    Edit HTML code of the signature

When you save the rule, every employee associated with this rule will have a deep link (that starts a chat or schedules a meeting with this person) in their email signature.

It took me 5 minutes to add this rule. 5 minutes and all employees have unified email signatures with their contact details, photos and personalized deep links to a Teams chat and a meeting dialog:

Sample email signature with Teams deep links

That is only a slight fraction of what the software can do. Learn more about its features

Useful links:

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