Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes – What are they and why?

I recently replied to a tweet from Tom Arbuthnot talking about the insistence on making Wikis default in Microsoft Teams, and the go to technology for meeting notes within Teams meetings. I’m a massive fan of OneNote, and think it is by far the best tool for things like meeting notes, even in the more limited Windows App version rather than the older Office version which is being deprecated. And although this is pretty subjective and my own opinion it got me to thinking, why are they used so heavily in Microsoft Teams and where are they actually stored?

Meeting Notes

As you may well have seen by now, there is now a “Meeting Notes” button within Microsoft Teams meetings which allows you to create and collaborate on meeting notes from within the Teams meeting itself. This is very handy, but does it do everything we want it to? Not really. Although it is great that it is stored within the meeting itself, and accessible to everyone, it is difficult to remove that content from the meeting itself and distribute outside of Teams (I know Microsoft don’t want people working this way, but certainly until the world comes around to “Modern Meetings” this is just going to have to happen), and pretty key for me, it lacks the ability for true co-authoring of the meeting notes as whilst someone works on a section it is locked for all other users.

What’s with the Wiki?

After some digging – and when I say digging, I mean full on archaeological excavation – I found the meeting notes wikis are actually stored in two locations, first within the Microsoft Teams Data folder in the root of OneDrive in a .mht file and as hidden list items also stored in OneDrive. These lists aren’t visible in the site contents within OneDrive, and are only accessible if you go to the Site Settings page and look at your recently accessed resources, or know the GUID of the meeting you were in (this is included in the meeting invite link).

The first thing of note here is where the wiki is created – in the case of a one-to-one meeting, or a meeting held outside of a channel, this is stored in the OneDrive of the person who started taking the meeting notes not the owner/creator of the meeting. Although this seems counter-intuitive at first, it actually makes sense that if Person B starts making notes in Person A’s meeting, they don’t have permission to create and edit files in Person A’s OneDrive, so this would have to be created in their own instead, but as an administrator looking for notes made during a meeting this needs to be kept in mind.

For a meeting created within a Team there is a separate hidden document library within the Team called Teams Wiki Data and this is where that same .mht file is created, as well as the same hidden list. As far as I can see, other than where they are stored these artefacts that make up the list are consistent whether from a Team meeting or standalone meeting.

What’s with the list?

The list is made up of 37 fields you can see below. When broken down, the entries into the list work out like this:

Wiki = Wiki – Standard entry across all entries for all meetings.

Page = Meeting Title – taken from the title of the meeting sent out.

Section = The section title given by the user when making meeting notes. The section is the only entry that has

WikiContent and that is the HTML content the users write in their meeting notes. You can see the entries for me side by side with the meeting notes below:

OK, but why?

One of Microsoft’s big efforts over the last 2-3 years within Office 365 has been to improve the security and compliance capabilities within the products, partly in response to the introduction of GDPR, but also to reduce the barriers to entry for companies and sectors where there are greater compliance and regulatory standards that need to be met, which may previously have stopped them from migrating to the cloud. One of the key technologies here is Retention Policies. Thinking about how a retention policy might apply to OneNote, it’s hard to see how a retention would be applied to a notebook which has notes added at different times, and what/where do you remove it? It could just be one applicable word within a massive long page of content, so this approach actually makes quite a lot of sense!

Hopefully this starts to make sense of how and why Microsoft Teams meeting notes are stored within a Wiki, and where this data is if you ever need it.

If anyone has any questions on this, or wants more detail in a certain area please either use the comments section below, Tweet me @MikeParker365 or via email blog@mikeparker365.co.uk.


15 thoughts on “Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes – What are they and why?

  1. Thanks for the reverse engineering how this all fits together. Eeven with your considerations, a big WHY remains. Improving known OneNote to better support retention on pages/sections would have been a much wiser choice than re-invent the wheel (why wiki, why) in my view.

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  2. Thanks for the great article. I see the problem I can’t search in teams meeting notes, as I always need to search for the meeting itself first. But after months I cannot remember exactly in what meeting we decided what. This is why I’d prefer OneNote.

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  3. Hello Mike,
    I hope you are doing well.

    I just wanted to make sure of something related to Meeting Notes in MS Teams since you already did a research on it for a while. I noticed that there is a little bit delay during the period after note submission until it appears to the meeting attendees, is that right? For example, if I write a note “hi, this is for testing” and submit it, it will take some time maybe about 1 min or more to refresh with the meeting attendees and then appear to them? I just wanted to make sure of this as I am thinking that this might be a problem related to our company security firewalls or something like that!

    Thanks,
    Hassan

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    1. Hi Hassan,
      I would imagine this is just a small delay in your client syncing the changes to SharePoint, and then the other users syncing on their end, although typically I see slightly better performance than this, so it might be worth looking at what could be causing the latency, and you’re right, this could be firewalls/proxies or something else sitting in the way of the traffic.

      You could try testing remotely (something I’m guessing a lot of people are doing at the moment anyway!) and see if the performance is the same. If it is, then most likely your internal network infrastructure will be to blame.

      Thanks for the comment!
      Mike

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      1. Hi Mike, Good insights and thanks. My question is: As Stefan posted above, after a month or two I won’t remember what meeting I was in to search for my notes. Is it possible to link the meeting/Meeting notes to a team or channel? It would be SUPER helpful if I could add a Tab “Meeting Notes” or something so I could easily reference ALL of the meetings I’ve had related to that one Channel/Team. I’m using them interchangeably as this is how I’m using Channels.

        Thanks

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  4. Hello Mike,
    I hope you are doing well.

    I just wanted to make sure of something related to Meeting Notes in MS Teams since you already did a research on it for a while. I noticed that there is a little bit delay during the period after note submission until it appears to the meeting attendees, is that right? For example, if I write a note “hi, this is for testing” and submit it, it will take some time maybe about 1 min or more to refresh with the meeting attendees and then appear to them? I just wanted to make sure of this as I am thinking that this might be a problem related to our company security firewalls or something like that!

    Thanks,
    Hassan

    Like

    1. Hi Hassan,
      This is expected. You will be making notes and then syncing to SharePoint, you then need that change to sync down and there will be latency on either side so I wouldn’t expect it to be completely instant.
      Cheers,
      Mike

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  5. This was great to find, thank you.
    One question, where is the hidden list in the SharePoint site you show for a Teams meeting? I have the Teams Wiki Data document library containing an mht file for each meeting I record notes in, but can’t see the list

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    1. Hi Andy,
      If you go to the site contents where you find the MHT you will see the lists “behind the scenes”. If you get the link from the Site Contents and enter it into the browser it should take you there.
      Mike

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  6. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for a really useful article. I have been searching everywhere to find out more about Meeting Notes. When I first came across the feature, I assumed that I could type up the minutes of the meeting during the discussions and then that they would be accessible somewhere or could be exported somewhere, so that I could store them or refer to them. But reading your article, I think that is probably wishful thinking?

    I wonder why someone thinks it useful to have notes of a meeting that cannot easily be located at a future date, and which cannot be shared with people who weren’t invited to the meeting? Thank goodness, I’m a dinosaur whose shorthand and typing skills have stood the test of time!

    Best regards,

    Jane

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  7. Wondering why Microsoft engineered it this way… Its easier to just not use the “Meeting Notes” feature and jsut start a Word Doc and call it “Meeting Notes <date" so it can at least be printed and shared easier. MHT file? really? are they planning to bring Frontpage back as well?

    Like

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