Have you ever wanted to changed the apps shown in the left rail in the Microsoft Teams client? Or change the order how they appear? Read on!

I have noticed recently that not many people know that you can change the apps in the left rail in Microsoft Teams. I asked around within my company and at some clients. Microsoft announced the ability to create app setup policies back in March 2019.

App setup policies

With app setup policies, you as an admin can ‘pin’ apps and determine the order of the apps. This way you are able to create different app setup policies for different kind of user groups within your organisation and assign a policy to the correct users. By default there are 2 app setup policies created within your tenant:

  • Global (Org-wide default)
  • FirstLineWorker

By default every user has got the Global (Org-wide default) policy applied. The FirstLineWorker policy contains the Shifts app and can be made available for your first line workers. The app setup policy will make the apps available on the desktop client and web app. The apps won’t appear as configured in the app setup policy on the mobile app yet.

Why should I use App setup policies?

So why should you care about App setup policies? If you just use Teams with the default Apps, perhaps you won’t care. But what if you have a group of users who use some of the custom Apps you can use in Teams? Or if you have an organisation App you want your users to be able to use easily? With App setup policies you are able to determine which apps should be visible and in what order and you could apply this policy to users. So imagine you have made a line of business app available through Teams and you want a specific group of users to see this app in the left rail in Teams. Lets see how we can make this possible.

Create a custom App setup policy

Go to the Teams Admin Center and follow the steps below:

  • In the left rail, click on the ‘Teams Apps’ option and then ‘Setup policies’:
  • On the App setup policies page, click the Add button
  • On the Add policy page enter a title and description for your policy. Add the Apps you would like to appear and move the apps up and down using the buttons in the command bar. Finally click the Save button
  • Your custom App setup policy is now added. Now it’s time to add users to the policy.
  • On the App setup policies page, select your new policy and click the ‘Manage users’ button
  • In the side panel, type in a user name, click the Add button next to the user. Do this for every user, you would like to add. At the end, click the Apply button, to apply the policy to the selected users.
  • Another way to add the policy to multiple users is to use the Users page within the Teams Admin Center. In the left rail, click on ‘Users’
  • In the users list select the users you would like to apply the policy on. You could use the search and filter options to find your users. Make sure not to select more then 20 users a time. Click ‘Edit settings’ for the selected users.
  • In the Edit settings panel your could bulk apply multiple policies, but you could also only select the App setup policy you would like to apply. Select your custom policy in the App setup policy pull down menu and click Apply.

Is there an easier way?

Adding a policy to a group of users described in the above steps could give you a hard time when you need to assign the policy to a big group of people. At this moment in time the only way to do so, is to use a PowerShell script as described here. At Ignite back in November 2019, the Microsoft Teams team announced some features around assigning policies to a group (Office 365 or security group) and to combine several policies in ‘Policy packages’, but we have to wait before these will come general available.


With App setup policies you are able to manage the Apps available in the left rail in Microsoft Teams and assign it to groups of people within your organisation. At this moment, the assignment of the policies to users can only be done on a user basis. The only option for now it to Use PowerShell to make it more manageable. Do you like the option to manage the Apps in the left rail in Teams? Please leave a comment to give your opinion.