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Spotlight feature: Direct Messages


Direct Messages arrived in Discussions to make your daily one-on-one chats much easier to manage. But, to take full advantage of this new feature, there are some things you need to know before you dive in. Most importantly, how to convert any existing one-on-one Discussions into Direct Messages.

A key feature of Direct Messages is that, unlike Discussions, you can only have one ongoing Direct Message per recipient. So, the first thing you’ll want to do is convert your existing one-on-one Discussions—chats between just you and one other individual—into Direct Messages (also note that in order to do this, you'll need to be a Moderator of the Discussion as well).

Here’s how:

  1. Open any of your current one-on-one Discussions.
  2. Click the Gear icon in the top right corner.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select “Convert to Direct Message”.

And that’s it!

So, why is it so important to do this right out of the gate?

Well, it’s so you don’t inadvertently create a new Direct Message with a colleague before you convert over your existing conversation. Because once you have a Direct Message with someone you can’t create any additional Direct Messages with that person, and you can’t delete the one you already created.

This is a situation you want to avoid. Otherwise, you and your colleague will end up having a new Direct Message that’s a clean slate while all your chat history is still tied to your existing one-on-one Discussion (which defeats the whole purpose of Direct Messages).

Right, about that – what exactly are the benefits of Direct Messages?

There are plenty! Among them, Direct Messages:

  • have their own dedicated Category in the Discussions view (making them easier to find)
  • are listed only by your recipient’s name (making individual chats easier to locate)
  • have that maximum of one Direct Message per recipient (making them easier to manage).

Additionally, your ongoing Direct Message with someone can be accessed via that person’s Profile or by hovering over their image in People or Teams, so you don’t need to return to Discussions every time you want to jump into your one-on-one with someone.

On top of all that, you can still create multiple one-on-one Discussions with someone even if you have an ongoing Direct Message. This can be useful if you have a side topic or special project that you wish to discuss, but keep separate from the day-to-day content of your Direct Message.

So, when can we start using Direct Messages?

Right away! Now that you know what to expect, you can dive right in and make the most of it!